The debate over the recent movie The Passion of The Christ is ridiculous. There are those who complain it is too violent. Others say it paints the Jews in a bad light. Such things simply point out man’s gross ignorance of the Bible.
The suffering and death of the Lord was violent. He was not only spat upon, but slapped, struck with a reed, after having a crown of thorns put on His head, and scourged (Mk. 14:65; 15:16-20; Jn. 19:1). The scourging was horrific. The victim’s back was laid bare and struck with a whip containing sharp objects. The Romans were experts in this form of torture and knew when to stop most of the time. However, there were times the person to be crucified died from the scourging itself.
Of course, after a scourging, Jesus was crucified (Jn. 19:16-18). This, in and of itself, was terribly violent — unlike the quick clean death of an electric chair or intravenous poison. The crucifixion of Christ involved putting nails through His hands and feet (Jn. 20:24-27). He hung on the cross for six hours before He gave up His spirit (Mk. 15:25, 33-37; Lk. 23:44-46). This was a relatively short period of time and, thus, Pilate wanted to be sure He was truly dead (Mk. 15:44; Jn. 19:31-34). Still, the Son of God hung on a tree, by nails, for six hours after being tortured. What suffering and agony for you and me! It was violent, and to state otherwise is utter foolishness.
The other thing being said is that the movie unjustly portrays the Jews as bloodthirsty. Well, that is exactly what the Bible says. The Jews are the ones who arrested Him with the intent to kill Him (Matt. 26:47-68; cp. Jn. 11:46-53; 18:12-14). The Jews are the ones who took Jesus to Pilate and demanded His crucifixion (Jn. 18:28-32; 19:6, 7, 15). The Jews even said, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). To say that the Jews were not bloodthirsty is the height of idiocy.
If modern Christ-denying Jews do not like the blame for killing the Messiah placed upon the Jews, too bad. They did kill him with the help of the Romans. If they do not want to bear personal guilt, then all they need to do is believe, repent, confess Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, and be baptized to have their sins washed away — just as some of their forefathers did on Pentecost (Acts 2:36-41). Their guilt can be blotted out, but not before they believe and obey the gospel (Acts 3:17-19; Mk. 16:15-16).
Yes, Gentiles must obey the gospel as well (Rom. 1:16). However, people are not howling about the mistreatment of the Gentiles in reference to the Lord’s death. Ignorance of the Bible abounds. Hence, we must diligently preach the word, in season and out (2 Tim. 4:2).
Steven F. Deaton