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Mel Gibson, the Lord’s Messenger
by Debbie Daniel
04 March 2004

Not only will The Passion of the Christ be one of the most outstanding movies of all time, but we’ve witnessed something in these past few days that is a phenomenon.

Not only will The Passion of the Christ be one of the most outstanding movies of all time, but we’ve witnessed something in these past few days that is a phenomenon.  We’ve had newscasters actually discussing “salvation” and “a belief in Jesus Christ” on the nightly news.  Now that’s for the record books.  I’m still in shock.

I sat watching the television as pundits bantered back and forth about the “news” of Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ.  I never thought I’d live to see the day when a belief in Jesus Christ would be the topic of a major news network, but all of them were discussing it.  Dateline NBC even had a one hour segment called the “Power of Faith” – introducing a theory that the presence of Jesus in our everyday lives and at the workplace could very well make a difference . . . it might be something we would want to consider. 

The commentator, Stone Phillips, asked the question of whether businesses would be more successful if they would take on “servant leadership” qualities much like Christ in their endeavor to rise to the top.  I’m shaking my head in wonder and disbelief.  It’s remarkable!  I love it. 

If Mel Gibson’s own passion did nothing more than open the door for this dialogue to ensue, I praise God for the opportunity to hear and see it discussed in an open television and radio forum.  It’s everywhere!

No religious group anywhere could have raised the money and tried to make a movie of this caliber.  God has spoken to us through the talents of a man called Mel, and used him in a mighty way.  I don’t think any of us realize what has happened.  If I didn’t know any better, I would believe that “revival” could break out in America, and that the lives of people everywhere could be changed forever. 

I’m a Christian, but I want you to know there was such a “build-up” to this film, that I had to deal with my own overwhelming anticipation.  I can remember standing in line for an hour waiting to get into the theater not knowing what my heart and emotions would be able to withstand as I pondered the “talk” of what this movie would be like.

I was mesmerized, stunned, shocked, elated, joyful, and hurt, but it was not till the end of the movie, when I sat motionless trying to process what I had just seen, that someone asked if I was okay.  I could feel the tears welling up inside me, but I also knew that if I dared let go, they would have to call security.  I wanted to cry a hundred times over during the film, but I wouldn’t let myself for fear I would miss even a second.  I was spellbound.  I took in every Aramaic word and read every subtitle with more intensity than I’ve ever given to anything in my life.  I will never be the same. 

I wanted to feel every emotion Jesus did.  I put Jesus on that cross and I’m the one who needed to be there – not Him – but yet I sat there in utter disbelief that He did this for me.  I’m telling you, there will never be “reality television” that comes even close to this.  It was as real as it gets.  Someone near me said, “The ‘R’ rating stands for REALITY.” 

It was absolutely more than I could bear.  I held on; I would not let go of my emotions; I would be strong.  I heard all the tears as if they were dropping at the sound of drum beats on everyone’s cheek.  They were loud; deafening, but yet I would not let myself break.  I knew that if I expressed what I felt, no one would have been able to hear another word.  I prayed, “Lord, please give me the strength to take all of this in; don’t let me miss any of it, because I could fall apart right now.”  When I got into my car and sat in the silence of my own thoughts, I finally let go. I wailed and rejoiced all in the same breath; I felt both pain and joy.  There are no other words to describe what I had experienced. 

For those who’ve told me they don’t need to see the film because they know the story, or that they don’t want to sit through such violence, I would only offer these words: I, too, knew the story, but I had it wrong as the story played out in my mind. I’ve never wanted to face the cruelty of the cross, but now have seen it for what it was.  

I’ve watched every crucifixion story and passion play imaginable; I’ve walked out of Easter pageants with a nail presented to me as a remembrance, but what I had imagined in my mind was a mere “soft sell” of the crucifixion, and nothing compared to the reality of what I had just encountered.  In fact, now I’m not so sure that what happened 2000 years ago may have been even more severe than this depiction. 

Satan, too, is alive and well, and as you watch the character of Satan pass in and out of the crowds in this film, it is Satan that constantly infiltrates our lives today, and would be the determining influence that would have you take a pass on this movie.

Satan would have you believe the violence is too much.  I questioned whether I should subject myself to such a “harsh” portrayal of Jesus’ death, but I determined that if my Lord could suffer at the hands of an angry mob for 12 hours, I could surely sit through 1 hour and 55 minutes in the safe comfort of a movie theater.

It’s no more violent to watch than what our Lord endures everyday as he watches us live our lives – now that’s painful.  And with what’s going on in our world today, I’m sure the Lord is broken by mankind’s behavior. 

But Satan is determined to win a victory in all of this, and if he can keep you from going to see this film, he will.  This movie will not hurt you; it will only bless your life. 

It’s a new day, my friends.  We must be able to “face the cross.”

Debbie Daniel is an advertising account executive in Texas.

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