The Passion

(the picture at right is drawn by Luc Freymanc and is from his site at www.freymanc.com. He owns the exclusive copyright to this work of art. Please visit his website and consider a donation.)

"He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

I watched "The Passion of the Christ" for the third time last night to coincide with Good Friday. It has become a family tradition for us to watch the film on the day we remember Jesus' crucifixtion and to prepare our hearts more fully to remember His resurrection.

I make it a point never to watch the movie any more than once a year. I don't want it ever to lose its impact, you know? For instance, "Saving Private Ryan" is one of my favorite movies -- my grandfather was a hero of World War II, and I'm something of a buff on the history of the mid 20th Century -- and I've seen it dozens of times. Have you seen it? You will probably remember, then, the visceral reaction you had at the movie's opening scene, yes? The storming of Utah beach? Whew. Powerful.

Problem is, I've seen it so many times, it's sort of dulled my sense of that experience, and each time my reaction is a little less emotional. It's a shame, beause it lessens, in a way, the sacrifice so many of our soldiers made to ensure the cause of freedom.

Speaking of sacrifice, theirs, however noble, can in no way compare to that of Jesus.

I always sob every time I see "The Passion." Literally sob. And you know what? It's always at a different time of the movie each time I see it. This time, it was during the scene in which the Roman soldiers nail His feet to the cross.

Oh, the pain that must have coursed through His body at that moment. Can you imagine? Your feet, stacked one on top the other, being impaled together and, then, nailed to a cross in part to support your weight?

And, to think He did it for me ... and for you, too.

My wife wants me to come to bed. It's nearly midnight, and tomorrow we celebrate our Lord's resurrection. I'm getting up before dawn to watch the sun come up. We have a cross in our front yard, and I'm getting up in the morning and, unbeknownst to my family, replacing it with some flowers I bought. I can't wait to see her reaction when my wife goes out to get the paper and finds, not a cross, but a representation of life. It's fitting. He is alive.

Back to that movie analogy for a second. There is another reason "Saving Private Ryan" doesn't hold for me the same power it once did. It's because no matter how much I read about the war, or think about my grandfather or research about his unit, I can't connect completely with that war because it wasn't a part of my experience. I know it only through textbooks, stories, anecdotes.

Jesus? I know Him personally. He lives within me. And that means no matter how many Easters come and go, His sacrifice for my sins will never lose its impact. Indeed, it only strengthens through the years.

Thank you, Jesus.

Want to know Him? Click the link on the right called "How Do I Become a Christian?" Any questions? E-mail me, please!