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The Movie, "The Passion"
Another Gospel (Galatians 1:8-9)
The bottom line to salvation is receiving a love for the truth (Mark 12:30; John 14:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:10). Mel Gibson, and those who promote this movie, exemplify they do not love the truth and preach another gospel (Galatians 1:8-9).
Assuredly, there are events in this movie that truly did happen according to the Bible (e.g. a scourging of Christ and a crucifixion), but "The Passion" is supposed to be an accurate representation of the story of Christ from the Biblical accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. On the official "The Passion Of The Christ" web site they write,
Gibson co-wrote a screenplay with Benedict Fitzgerald Wise Blood that drew faithfully from the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the script's main sources. Still, Gibson knew he was going into largely unexplored artistic territory - into the realm where art, storytelling and personal devotion meet. "When you tackle a story that is so widely known and has so many different preconceptions, the only thing you can do is remain as true as possible to the story and your own way of expressing it creatively, " says Gibson. "This is what I tried to do." (www.thepassionthemovie.com/theproduction/text.html, hard copy on file)
Gibson did not do well at remaining "true" to the story. Mel Gibson takes great license in adding to the truth of the word of God (Proverbs 30:5-6).
I. In The Garden
In the opening scene, "Jesus" is seen distressed, and then he comes to his disciples, they wake up, and say to him, "What has happened to you," "Are you in danger," and one asks another, "What is wrong with him?" There is a significant amount of dialogue that is in no way even implied in the true accounts (e.g. Jesus saying he did not want the rest of the disciples to see him "like this"). In fact, this license of dialogue actually goes against the true account.
According to Matthew 26:38 and Mark 14:34 Jesus tells his disciples that he is "exceedingly sorrowful, even to death" before he goes off to pray. So they already knew he was distressed. Gibson gives the impression they are clueless ("What is wrong with him?" etc.). Gibson also strays from the truth after this by having the disciples watch Jesus in agony, and then walk over to him. The truth is, they were asleep while He was in His great sorrow. They were not watching him. They did not come to Jesus, but Jesus came to them, and found them asleep (Matthew 26:43; Mark 14:40; Luke 22:45).
Moreover, in this garden scene there is a black hooded person (presumably Satan) talking to Jesus saying things such as, "Do you really believe," and "One man can not take on the sins of the whole world" (things of that nature). This goes way beyond what is written (Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6). In the true account, an angel comes and strengthens Jesus (Luke 22:43), and Satan is not in view.
Also, along with this hooded person is a snake. The snake touches Jesus' hand and Jesus eventually stomps on the snake, and appears to make eye contact with this "Satan" person, apparently indicating that he has overcome the devil. No doubt, it is a reference to Genesis 3:15, but the way it is depicted in this film is fantasy.
II. The Betrayal
In Gibson's film, a small band of soldiers come to get Christ. In the word of God, "a great multitude with swords and clubs, came" (Matthew 26:47; Mark 14:43).
Moreover, Gibson makes Judas out to be an unwilling participant by having Judas turning away to flee from the scene before he actually betrays Jesus with a kiss. The temple guard has to grab Judas and force him to betray Christ. Thus, under pressure Judas unwillingly kisses Jesus.
This is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. Judas was anything but an unwilling participant. Luke 22:47 reveals Judas leads the crowd to Christ and Mark adds,
As soon as He had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, "Rabbi, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. (Mark 14:45; see also Matthew 26:49)
There is absolutely no hesitation whatsoever. It says of Judas that "immediately he went up to Him" and "kissed Him."
Besides the errors of a small band of soldiers and an unwilling Judas, Gibson makes the arrest of Christ into a brawl between the soldiers and the disciples, which simply is not true. Instead of getting into a brawl with the soldiers, the disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" (Luke 22:49). Jesus' answer is, "Permit even this." In other words, don't fight. The only exception to this was Peter, who "suddenly" (Matthew 26:50-51) struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Gibson has this happen after some brawling. Scripture has it happen at the same moment the disciples ask, "shall we strike with the sword?" (Luke 22:49-51).
III. On The Way To The High Priest
And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. (Matthew 26:57; see also Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54)
It also adds that they took Christ to Annas first (John 18:12-13), but otherwise, Scripture is silent for any further detail on what happened on the way to Caiaphas the high priest. Mel Gibson fills in the gap.
In the film, the soldiers beat Christ so much so that at one point he falls off a small bridge and the chains around his body cause him to be caught off the side of the bridge hanging upside down in midair, perhaps 3 feet from the ground. And, lo and behold, who is there at the bottom of the bridge but Judas. Jesus and Judas meet eyes. Jesus gets pulled back up onto the bridge by the soldiers, and some evil looking demon like creature comes out from who knows where and quickly screams out at Judas. It's like a scene from a horror movie.
IV. Before The High Priest
In the film, by the time Christ is brought to the high priest, he has already been beaten. One eye is swollen shut, and he looks well used. The Biblical account records it's first blow upon Christ, after being questioned by Annas (John 18:22), in which, Jesus says,
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me? (John 18:23)
Gibson records this strike and these words after many blows by the guards (on the way to the high priest). Scripture records it as the first recorded strike against Christ (see John 18:22-24; for subsequent blows before Caiaphas, see Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:63-64).
In the film, while Jesus is before the high priest, there is a fair amount of discourse before the priest that is not found in Scripture. Also, two priests have a problem with what is transpiring, and get kicked out of the assembly. This is not in the Bible. Also, Jesus sheds a tear when Caiaphas tears his robe, also not found in the Word. Peter, on his way out of the area, admits to Mary he denied the Lord, calling Mary "mother," also not in holy writ. And at one point, Mary goes outside and beseeches a Roman guard for some mercy and justice for what is going on. The Roman guard seems concerned. Gibson seems unconcerned about adding to the text (Proverbs 30:5-6).
With Judas, Gibson goes way out of bounds (Proverbs 4:20-27). After the betrayal, Judas is seen sitting down outside at night, and he encounters some children. They speak with him briefly and then quickly begin to say he is cursed, and their faces contort supernaturally in a freaky way (like in a horror movie).
The next morning (apparently, it is now light out) Judas is being chased and battered by a group of children up upon a mountain. Judas finally falls down sitting up with his hands covering his head protecting himself from the children beating upon him. Then, suddenly, supernaturally, the children vanish, and he finds himself sitting next to a small donkey with flies and maggots on it and a rope on its head. In the next scene of Judas, he is seen hanging in a tree, with the rope no longer on the donkey, but rather around his neck.
The only part about this whole scene that is Biblical is, Judas did indeed hang himself (Matthew 27:3-5). The rest is pure fiction.
VI. During The Night
More fiction is found in the scene where Mary comes into the area where the high priest had Jesus, after everyone is gone, and she brings her face to the floor and appears to kiss the floor. Jesus is in a dungeon directly beneath where she kisses. As she kisses the floor, he looks up in response.
Also, this same night, Pilate's wife talks to Pilate, before he even sees Jesus, and tells him not to condemn him. This is directly against the timing and manner of the Biblical record. Speaking of Pilate, Matthew 27:19 says,
While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him."
The film has her telling him this kind of thing both the night before, and then in the interim between the first and second times Jesus stands before Pilate. Scripture says she did so, "While he was sitting on the judgment seat," that is, in the midst of judging Christ.
VII. The Scourging
In the film, Jesus says something to the effect, "My heart is ready," just before he gets scourged. This is an unbiblical addition to the words of Christ. Mary says something like, "My Son, when, where, how, will you choose to be delivered from this." This is extra-biblical. At one point, Pilate's wife comes to Mary and gives her some white towels (perhaps more like handkerchiefs). Mary takes these towels and wipes up Jesus' blood off the floor from where he was scourged. None of this, of course, is Biblical (Proverbs 30:5-6). Also, the "Satan" person is in the background, and at one point walks close by the commanding officer with an ugly looking baby with an adult like face.
VIII. Carrying The Cross
In the film, when Jesus first grabs the cross to carry it he says, "I am your servant," again adding to the words of Christ. The "Satan" person is in the background. There is a somewhat extensive scene of Mary attempting to get to Jesus while he is carrying the cross, and finally, when she has an opportunity, she flashes back to when Jesus was a boy, fell, and she helped him. With this flashback apparently in mind, Mary runs to get to Jesus, it appears, in the same kind of motherly way she did when he was a boy. In this scene Jesus says to her, "I make all things new," which is indeed a statement of Christ, but long after his resurrection, and in an entirely different context (Revelation 21:5). Therefore, this whole episode with Mary is more of a made-up story, not the truth.
Furthermore, they whip Christ repeatedly while he is carrying the cross. The Bible doesn't record them whipping him once. Simon, the one who carried the cross of Christ (Matthew 27:32), is seen making quite a scene at one point, telling the guards he will not continue to carry the cross if they don't stop (apparently, being so mean to Jesus). At this same time, an unidentified girl slips in unnoticed by the guards and offers Christ a drink, and wipes his blood filled face with her white shawl. All of this is more of the imaginations of men (or a man), not the truth.
For the real account, we have,
And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. (Mark 15:20-21)
More detail can be found in Luke where it says,
And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. (Luke 23:27-32)
As can be seen, there is no mention of any beating upon Christ while he carries the cross, no big scene made by Simon, no Mary attempting to help Jesus, no woman offering him a drink or wiping his face, no words of Jesus, "I am your servant," or "I make all things new," and no creepy mystical devil person in the background.
IX. At The Cross
In the film, when they crucify Christ, more tall tales prevail. When they crucify his second hand, because the hole for the stake is too far over, the soldier dislocates Christ's shoulder (or arm) in order to get it far enough to nail his hand to the cross. In his suffering Jesus says, "My Father, my Father, my God." Jesus also prays for the high priestly crowd saying, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do," and the criminal on the cross responds, "He prayed for you" (or something to that effect). A raven lands on the unrepentant criminal's cross and picks out his eye. Later, after everyone leaves except a few people, this same criminal cries out, "There's no one left Jesus." Mary kisses Jesus' bloody feet and says, "Flesh of my flesh, heart of my heart, let me die with you." When Jesus dies, a single drop of water falls to the ground, and the whole floor of the temple splits in two. The "Satan" person is pictured in a weird area of bones (?) and cries out. All of this is not according to the true gospel of Jesus Christ found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
What Mel Gibson attempted to display with this movie is the gospel of Jesus Christ - that is, His death, His suffering, and briefly His resurrection. With so much unbiblical stuff added to the story, it clearly qualifies for "another gospel" (Galatians 1:8-9). Gibson has brought a serious curse of God upon his life. Moreover, those who promote this movie bring this same curse. For God has said,
Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)