The Passion of the Christ


  by: Bill Bratt         Email:

  CNN reported from Rome, Italy: "Pope John II has seen the controversial Mel Gibson movie, "The Passion of Christ," and he liked it, Vatican sources said." reported the following: "Renowned evangelist Billy Graham has screened Mel Gibson's new film "The Passion of the Christ" and says the movie moved him "to tears."

"I have often wondered what it must have been like to be a bystander during those last hours before Jesus' death," Graham said in a statement released from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "After watching 'The Passion of the Christ,' I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus' death and resurrection Ė which Christians believe are the most important events in human history.

"The film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we have all sinned," Graham continued. "It is our sins that caused His death, not any particular group. No one who views this film's compelling imagery will ever be the same."

The Chicago Sun-Times Film critic Roger Ebert made the following comments: "The movie is 126 minutes long, and I would guess that at least 100 of those minutes, maybe more, are concerned specifically and graphically with the details of the torture and death of Jesus. This is the most violent film I have ever seen." ... "I prefer to evaluate a film on the basis of what it intends to do, not on what I think it should have done. It is clear that Mel Gibson wanted to make graphic and inescapable the price that Jesus paid (as Christians believe) when he died for our sins. Anyone raised as a Catholic will be familiar with the stops along the way; the screenplay is inspired not so much by the Gospels as by the 14 Stations of the Cross. As an altar boy, serving during the Stations on Friday nights in Lent, I was encouraged to meditate on Christ's suffering, and I remember the chants as the priest led the way from one station to another."

This controversial movie has gotten all kinds of "good and bad" reviews. The one thing that sticks in my mind when watching a "religious" movie is how accurate is it in regards to the Holy Scriptures. Jesus said: "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. {24} "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24). Truth is very important to God and Jesus Christ. This movie is dynamic but it has "truth" mixed with error. When movie writers, producers and directors do a Bible story, they take a lot of liberty in adding to the events recorded in the Bible. The danger in this is that the "truth of God" can be distorted. Many people who see Biblical movies do not read their Bibles and are illiterate to what the "truth" is and many will accept what they see in the movie as being correct when in fact it is mixed with error.

The following are some glaring errors of the Passion movie: When Christ was on His way to Pilate the Pharisees threw Him off of a bridge. Children turned wicked and threw stones at Judas Iscariot. The Temple collapsed as a result of the earthquake that accompanied Jesusí death.

My wife and I went to see this controversial movie and found it very powerful and moving. I would say there is a possibility that you also have seen this film.

There is an old saying: "If you have seen the movie, now read the book."

The book in this case is the Bible, especially the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Letís lay some ground work as we begin this subject. The definition of the word: "passion" that we are looking for in Websterís Dictionary defines the word as: "the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death."

Notice in this definition, the term "the Last Supper," which is referring to the apostle Paulís comment of calling the Passover by the term "the Lordís Supper": "Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper" (1 Corinthians 11:20 ). The term "the Lordís Supper" is only found once in the Holy Scriptures in the above quoted verse. The term "the Last Supper" is not found in the Bible.

In Strongís Concordance #5547 the Greek word for Christ is: "Christos", and is defined as: "khris-tos'; from G5548; anointed, i.e. the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus:--Christ."

It is interesting to note that the word "Christ" is used 555 times in 522 verses of the King James Version of the New Testament and the word "Messiah" only occurs four times in the Bible, twice in the Old Testament (Daniel 9:24-26) and twice in the New Testament (John 1:40-41 and 4:25.) Letís look at the passage in John 1: "One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him (Jesus), was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. {41} He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ)" (John 1:40-41).

The Apostle John wanted to make sure that we understood that Jesus is the Messiah, because he spelled it out very clearly to us.

This expression "Messiah ... the Christ" is an expression that these two words mean the same thing. "Messiah" is the Hebrew word for "Godís Anointed One" and "Christ" is the equivalent word in Greek .

The Opening Scene

The movie opens with Jesus praying in the garden named Gethsemane and through parts of the movie there are flashbacks to "the Lordís Supper" or perhaps more properly rendered the "Passover" by the gospel writers. We will pick up our story flow of events by starting in Luke 22 : "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover." ...... {3} Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. {4} So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. {5} And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. {6} So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude." .... {7} Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. {8} And He (Jesus) sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat." ....... {12} "Then he (the master of the house) will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready." {13} ..... "they prepared the Passover. {14} When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. {15} Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; {16} "for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." {17} Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; {18} "for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." {19} And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." {20} Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." .... {33} But he (Simon Peter) said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." {34} Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."

The apostle John relates the following recorded in John 13:2 "And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, {3} Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, {4} rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. {5} After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. {6} Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" {7} Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." {8} Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." {9} Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" {10} Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." {11} For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean." {12} So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? {13} "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. {14} "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. {15} "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. {16} "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. {17} "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." ..... {21} When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." {22} Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. {23} Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. {24} Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. {25} Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" {26} Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. {27} Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly." ..... {30} Having received the piece of bread, he (Judas) then went out immediately. And it was night."

Jesus continues addressing His disciples in His farewell discourse in the upper room as recorded in John 14. Before they leave the upper room they sang a hymn: "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" (Matthew 26:30 ). After the hymn Jesus said: "..... Arise, let us go from here" (John 14:31 ).

Jesus continues His discourse to His disciples in John chapters 15 and 16. John 17 records Christís intercessory prayer. This is the real "Lordís Prayer." In Jesusí prayer He praised God and He prayed for His disciples that they would be sanctified in the truth (Verse 17).

The Garden of Gethsemane  

"Coming out, He (Jesus) went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him" (Luke 22:39).

John records that this was a garden: "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered" (John 18:1 ).

"Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray"" (Mark 14:32) .

"And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John), and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. {38} Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me" (Matthew 26:37-38 ). "Pray that you may not enter into temptation" {41} And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed" (Luke 22:40-41 ).

Jesus "prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. {36} And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will"" (Mark 14:35-36 ).

"Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. {44} And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. {45} When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow" (Luke 22:43-45 ).

"Then He (Jesus) came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? {41} "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." {42} Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done" (Matthew 26:40-42 ). "And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him" (Mark 14:40 ).

"So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. {45} Then He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. {46} "Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand"" (Matthew 26:44-46 ).

Letís notice a few things in this passage: When Jesus first prayed, He was hoping that God could work out another solution for the salvation of man besides the horrible way for Him to die through the crucifixion, but He realized that it had to be done Godís way. Jesus said "Your will be done" in Matthew 26:42.

In the movie, when Jesus was praying, Satan was shown there tempting Him. This is an error. We can see from Luke 22:43 that "an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him." This was a good angel from God not Satan the devil.

One other point to notice in this passage is that Jesus was praying intensely and was sweating immensely like great drops of blood (Luke 22:24).

The Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion

Letís continue with the events recorded in John 18:2-9: "And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. {3} Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. {4} Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" {5} They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. {6} Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground. {7} Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." {8} Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way," {9} that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.""

Letís ponder a few points in this passage. Notice the phrases "I am He" and that the word HE is italicized in verses 5, 6 and 8. This means that the word was added by the translators. Jesus was saying that He was the "I AM" who was the God that appeared to Moses: "And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'"" (Exodus 3:14).

Another important point to ponder is in Verse 6 where it says: "they drew back and fell to the ground." I have never seen this in any of the movies about Jesus. Why did they fall to the ground? This was to show them that Jesus had power and that they could not take Him against His will.

The apostle Paul said: "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth" (Philippians 2:10 ). See also Romans 14:10-11 and Isaiah 45:23.

Jesus gave up His life voluntarily. He was "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

Mark records the following: "Now His betrayer had given them a signal (sign or token), saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely" (Mark 14:44 ).

Notice the word "safely." Surely Judas knew that the Jewish religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus. The N.I.V. and N.A.S.B. translations translate this as: "lead Him away under guard." This would be a better translation of this phrase.

"And while He (Jesus) was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus" (Luke 22:47 ).

"Immediately he (Judas) went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. {50} But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" (Matthew 26:49-50). "Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"" (Luke 22:48 ).

"Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him" (Matthew 26:50 ).

"Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus." (John 18:10 ). "And Jesus touched his ear and healed him (Luke 22:51).

"Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"" (John 18:11 ). "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. {53} "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? {54} "How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" {55} In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes (Matthew 26:52-55), the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?" (Luke 22:52 ). "I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me."" (Mark 14:49 ). ""But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled" (Matthew 26:56).

"Now a certain young man followed Him (Jesus), having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, {52} and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked" (Mark 14:51-52) .

Jesus Examined by Annas

"Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. {13} And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. {14} Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people" (John 18:12-14 ).

"The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. {20} Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. {21} "Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said." {22} And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?" {23} Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?"" (John 18:19-23 ).

Jesus Tried and Condemned by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin

"Having arrested Him (Jesus)" (Luke 22:54 ) "Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest" (John 18:24) "...and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes" (Mark 14:53 ).

"Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, {60} but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward" (Matthew 26:59-61 ).

"For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. {57} Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, {58} "We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.'" {59} But not even then did their testimony agree. {60} And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?" (Mark 14:56-60 ).

"But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" {64} Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." {65} Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! {66} "What do you think?" They answered and said, "He is deserving of death." {67} Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, {68} saying, "Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?"" (Matthew 26:63-68 ).

Peter Follows Them into the Courtyard  

"And Simon Peter followed Jesus (at a distance), and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. {16} But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in" (John 18:15-16). "Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them" (Luke 22:55 ). "with the servants to see the end" (Matthew 26:58 ) "and warmed himself at the fire" (Mark 14:54 ).

Peter Denies Christ Three Times

"And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, "This man was also with Him." {57} But he denied Him, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him." {58} And after a little while another saw him and said, "You also are of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" {59} Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, "Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean." {60} But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. {61} And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times"" {62} "So Peter went out and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:56-62 ).

Christ Mocked and Beaten

"Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. {64} And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, "Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?" {65} And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him" (Luke 22:63-65 ).

Sanhedrin Condemns Jesus

"As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, {67} "If You are the Christ, tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will by no means believe. {68} "And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. {69} "Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God." {70} Then they all said, "Are You then the Son of God?" So He said to them, "You rightly say that I am." {71} And they said, "What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth"" (Luke 22:66-71 ).

"All the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death" (Matthew 27:1 ).

"Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate" (Luke 23:1).

Judas Repents and Hangs Himself

"Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, {4} saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!" {5} Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. {6} But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood." {7} And they consulted together and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. {8} Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. {9} Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, {10} "and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me" (Matthew 27:3-10).

"(Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. {19} And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)" (Acts 1:18-19 ).

Jesus is Condemned Before Pilate

"Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. {29} Pilate then went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" {30} They answered and said to him, "If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you" (John 18:28-30 ).

"And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King"" (Luke 23:2).

"And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. {13} Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" {14} But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly" (Matthew 27:12-14 ).

Pilate Sends Jesus to Herod

"But they were the more fierce, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place." {6} When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. {7} And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. {8} Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. {9} Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. {10} And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. {11} Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. {12} That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other" (Luke 23:5-12 ).

Pilate Finds Jesus Innocent

"Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death," {32} that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die. {33} Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" {34} Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?" {35} Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?" {36} Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." {37} Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." {38} Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all" (John 18:31-38 ).

Pilate Releases Barabbas and Crucifies Jesus

"Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested." {7} "And there was one named Barabbas (a notorious prisoner), who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion. {8} Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them" (Mark 15:6-8 ).

"Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ (the King of the Jews)? " {18} For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. {19} 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" (Matthew 27:17-19 ).

The only mention of Pilateís wife is in verse 19. The movie gave her a larger role and she was even interacting with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

"But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. {21} The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!"" (Matthew 27:20-21 ).

"And they all cried out at once, saying, "Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas"; {19} who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder" (Luke 23:18-19 ).

"So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. {2} And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. {3} Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands. {4} Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him." {5} Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!" {6} Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him." {7} The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God." {8} Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, {9} and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. {10} Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?" {11} Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." {12} From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar." {13} When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. {14} Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" {15} But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" (John 19:1-15 ).

"When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." {25} And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children"" (Matthew 27:24-25 ).

"So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. {25} And he released to them the one they requested (Barabbas), who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will" (Luke 23:24-25 ).

".... and when he had scourged Jesus" (Matthew 27:26 ).

"Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away" (John 19:16).

Roman Soldiers Mock Jesus

"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. {28} And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. {29} When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" {30} Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head" (Matthew 27:27-30 ) "and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him" (Mark 15:19 ).

Jesus on the Way to the Cross

"And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified" (Matthew 27:31 ).

"And He, bearing His cross .... (John 19:17 ).

"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 15:21 ) "and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus" (Luke 23:26-32 ).

Notice that this scripture says that Simon carried the cross "after Jesus." The movie really took liberties with Simon. It showed him and Jesus carrying the cross together and they portrayed Simon arguing with the Roman soldiers.

"And a great multitude of the people followed Him (Jesus), and women who also mourned and lamented Him. {28} But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. {29} "For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!' {30} "Then they will begin 'to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"' {31} "For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" {32} There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death" (Luke 23:27-32 ).

"And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull" (Mark 15:22-23 ), "they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall (myrrh) to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink" (Matthew 27:34 ) .

The First Three Hours on the Cross

"Now it was the third hour (9 a.m.), and they crucified Him" (Mark 15:25 ) "and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. {34} Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." (Luke 23:33-34 ).

"Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. {24} They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: "They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots." Therefore the soldiers did these things" (John 19:23-24 ).

Pilate put a Title on the Cross

"Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross (over His head). And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. {20} Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. {21} Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."' {22} Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."" (John 19:11-22 ).

Jesus is Mocked

"And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God"" (Luke 23:35 ).

"And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads " (Mark 15:29), "and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." {41} Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, {42} "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. {43} "He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'" {44} Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing" (Matthew 27:40-44 ).

"Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." {40} But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? {41} "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." {42} Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." {43} And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you today you will be with Me in Paradise"" (Luke 23:39-43 ).

Jesus Makes John Responsible for His Mother Mary

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. {26} When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" {27} Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home" (John 19:25-27 ).

As amazing as this may sound, this is the first time that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned in the "events of the passion of the Christ." The next and the last mention of her in the Bible is in Acts 1:12-14 which is after the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus.

In the movie, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was everywhere. Mel Gibson is a Catholic and Catholics have a strong belief in Mary and her role was strongly portrayed in the movie.

The Three Hours of Darkness from Noon to 3 p.m.  

"Now from the sixth hour (noon) until the ninth hour (3 p.m.) there was darkness over all the land. {46} And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" {47} Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, "This Man is calling for Elijah!" {48} Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. {49} The rest said, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him." (Matthew 27:45-49 ).

"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"" {29} "Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. {30} So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" (John 19:28-30 ). "And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last" (Luke 23:46), "And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit" (John 19:30 ).

At the end of the verse of Matthew 27:49, some translations have an extra phrase. The Moffatt translation says: "(Siezing a lance, another pricked his side, and out came water and blood.)" This is also referred to in John 19:34 but the time sequence in John indicates that Jesus was already dead and the soldier pierced His side to make sure He was dead. If this phrase is correct in Matthew 27:49, then this why Jesus died so quickly. In some cases people who were crucified could suffer up to three days on the cross. One of the reasons that they broke their legs was to speed up the death process through suffocation.

God had Jesus on a time table. The official time for the Passover lambs to be killed in the Temple was 3 p.m. and since Jesus was our Passover Lamb that was sacrificed for us (John 1:29,36; 1 Corinthians 5:7), then He had to die at 3 p.m. to fulfill this part of Godís plan.

Phenomena Accompanying the Death of Jesus Christ

"Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, {52} and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; {53} and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. {54} So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:51-54), "a righteous Man!" (Luke 23:47 ).

The Women Watch to the End

"And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, {56} among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons" (Matthew 27:55-56 ).

"But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things" (Luke 23:49 ).

Did you notice that there is a womanís name that is missing in this list? Mary, the mother of Jesus, is not mentioned.

The Jews want Jesusí Body Off of the Cross before the Holy Day begins at Sunset

"Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. {32} Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. {33} But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. {34} But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. {35} And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. {36} For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken." {37} And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced"" (John 19:31-37 ).

A very important point to notice in this passage is that "that Sabbath was a high day." Most Protestants and Catholics donít understand Godís seven annual Holy Days ordained by God as "the feasts of the Lord" in Leviticus 23:1-2. The "high day" Sabbath being referred to in John 19:31 is the first day of Unleavened Bread and was ordained as a holy convocation in Leviticus 23:6-8. These annual Sabbaths are called "high days" and they can fall on any day of the week. What this means is that there can be two Sabbaths in a week. An example would be that one would be the annual "high day" Sabbath that could fall on a Thursday and then you would also have the normal seventh day weekly Sabbath on a Saturday. Thus having two Sabbaths in one week.

Joseph of Arimathea Gets the Body of Jesus

"Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, {43} Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God" (Mark 15:42-43 ), "...a rich man...." (Matthew 27:57 ), "... a good and just man. {51} He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God" (Luke 23:50-51 ).

"After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. {39} And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. {40} Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. {41} Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid" (John 19:38-41 ), "... in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed" (Matthew 27:60). "So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby" (John 19:42 ).

This passage of scripture says that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and put it in a new tomb. Again, no mention of Mary, the mother of Jesus, being there.

In the movie after Jesus was taken down from the cross, Mary is shown cradling the bloody crucified and dead body of Jesus in the same position as the Michaelangeloís pietA painting.

The Women Observed the Tomb where Jesus was buried

"And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid" (Mark 15:47), "And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. {56} Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment" (Luke 23:55-56 ).

Did you notice that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is not mentioned here among this list of women?

Also notice that in verse 56: "they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment." This is referring to the weekly seventh day Sabbath (Saturday), not the "high day" Sabbath of John 19:31 which was on a Thursday in the year that Jesus was crucified. Regarding the phrase in Luke 23:56: "they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils" - this kind of work is not to be done on the weekly Sabbath nor on the "high day" Sabbaths. They prepared these spices and oils on Friday the day after the "high day" Sabbath and on the preparation day to the weekly Sabbath.

(Request our free booklet: "The Resurrection was not on Sunday!" which explains the time sequence of these events in greater detail.)

Guards are Placed at the Tomb on the High Holy Day

(Matthew 27:62-66 ) "On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, {63} saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.' {64} "Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first." {65} Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." {66} So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard."

The Resurrection

"The Passion of the Christ" movie ends with a dynamic and powerful scene showing Jesus Christ sitting in the tomb having been resurrected back to life by God Almighty.

Jesusí resurrection fulfilled a prophecy that is recorded in Matthew 12:39-40: "But He (Jesus) answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. {40} "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Jesus was resurrected at the exact same time of day that He was buried in the tomb.

The Movie was a Violent Film

At the beginning of this article I quoted the Chicago Sun-Times Film critic Roger Ebert who made the following comment: "This is the most violent film I have ever seen." The movie has an "R" rating because of the violence. The movie showed the actor, who portrayed Jesus, with welts, cuts and abrasions and was a bloody mess.

Would it surprise you that the Bible actually records that Jesus was actually beaten worse than what the movie portrayed?

Letís look at the following Psalm which was a prophecy of Jesus on the cross and letís see what Jesus would have prayed about while having been nailed, crucified and hanging on the cross: Psalm 22 "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? {2} O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent. {3} But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. {4} Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. {5} They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. {6} But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. {7} All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, {8} "He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!" {9} But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts. {10} I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother's womb You have been My God. {11} Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help. {12} Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. {13} They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. {14} I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. {15} My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. {16} For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; {17} I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. {18} They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. {19} But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! {20} Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. {21} Save Me from the lion's mouth And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me. {22} I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. {23} You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! {24} For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard. {25} My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him. {26} The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! {27} All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. {28} For the kingdom is the Lord's, And He rules over the nations. {29} All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. {30} A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, {31} They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this."

Notice in verse 17 that Jesus was beaten so bad and His flesh was ripped off to the point that He could see His bones.

After seeing the movie or reading this article about "the Passion of the Christ" we might asked the question: Why did Jesus Christ have to suffer so much? The answer is in the following passage: Isaiah 53:1-9 "Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? {2} For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. {3} He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. {4} Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. {5} But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. {7} He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. {8} He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. {9} And they made His grave with the wicked; But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth."

Jesus was beaten so that "by His stripes" we can be physically healed. (See also 1Peter 2:24).

In Conclusion:.

The story of Jesus is the greatest story ever told. The "passion" is about Jesus being our "Passover sacrifice" as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8: "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. {8} Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." The events of the "passion" shows how much Jesus loves us and how He was willing to give up His life and shed His blood for us, so that we could have eternal life, and share our lives with Him. His blood justifies us and His life saves us: "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. {10} For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:9-10 ).

The Passion story is the story of the day that the "Son of God" died and it also shows Godís love for us: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 ). 

Notes: The order of the scriptures for this article are from the book:

"A Harmony of the Gospels" by: A. T. Robertson.

The scriptures quoted are from the New Kings James Version unless noted otherwise.

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