“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27, ESV)
I own a never-before-used copy of The Passion of the Christ DVD. It was given to me by a dear friend of mine (who happens to be not a Christian) as a present. It was a thoroughly appreciated gift – probably among the best I’ve received in my life. Yet it remains unopened.
I have not had the courage to watch The Passion of the Christ in its entirety again since the time I saw it in theatres back in 2004. I loved the film, especially for its monumental achievement in realistically depicting all of the gore and the glory of Jesus’ final hours. I am forever indebted to Mr. Gibson – however much of a controversial, troubled figure he may be – for his work that helps me wrap my mind around just what the price He paid for me looks like in reality.
I believe the reason why I could not bring myself to re-watch the film was partially due to my fear of becoming desensitized to the true horrors of The Passion. It also may have been due to the fear of puffy, red eyes and stuffed, runny nose that is inevitably associated with the viewing of this film.
Since I could not do it myself, the choice was made for me; we watched the film last night in my small group Bible study. The snot and the tears were definitely there, but also present was a sweet time of brokenness with the realization that I’ve been on hyperfast overdrive for too long to almost let this Easter season pass me by without a much needed time of reflection.
“If the devil can’t get you to be bad, he’ll get you to be busy.” Cheesey Christianese, I know. But it is true. There was the retreat (which I desperately need to really reflect on before my forgetfulness catches up with me), then a week of being out of commision with flu/cold/allergies. This week has been inundated with trying to play catch-up, two midterm exams, three million things to do at work, topped off with trying to make sure I will be able to graduate in two months. And there was a sudden, unexpected news of a tragedy that I have yet to fully comprehend or process. I had no time to pencil in Jesus.
Last night was a good break from it all. An oasis for my unrestful soul.
I noticed something that I did not before in the film. With so few dialogues in this two-hour film, I don’t know how I missed it the first time around. Simon the Cyrene, the man who was ordered to help Jesus bear the cross up the hill says:
“Remember that I am an innocent man, forced to carry the cross of a condemned man!”Ironic that precisely the opposite is true. Those words should have been that of Jesus. Yet He was never forced.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
How glad I am to have a friend like Him despite the fact that I too often forget to pencil Him into my daily agenda.