Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||James Caviezel—playing Jesus Christ (“Angel Eyes”, “Frequency”, “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “High Crimes”, “Pay It Forward”)
Monica Bellucci “The Matrix Reloaded”
Sergio Rubini (“The Talented Mr. Ripley”)
|Director:||Mel Gibson (“Braveheart”, “The Man Without a Face”)|
|Producer:||Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Stephen McEveety|
|Distributor:||Newmarket Film Group|
If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer
Discover Jesus Christ in context…
…discover the overwhelming message of HOPE that God brings to man—presented chronologically from the foundation of the world to our own time. Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture. Very popular and enlightening…Watch the film now…
Other Relevant Issues
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “This film tells the story of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus (Caviezel), on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. This film’s script is based upon several sources, including the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) as collected in the book, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Mystical City of God by St. Mary of Agreda, and the New Testament books of John, Luke, Mark and Matthew.”
Both the Mel Gibson (the director) and James Caviezel (the actor who plays Jesus) are devout Roman Catholics. The film is subtitled, as it was largely shot in the languages of the period, Aramaic and Latin.
For many months, and even more strongly for the past few weeks, we’ve all been subjected to a propaganda campaign in the media and on the Internet, attacking “The Passion” with a variety of “concerns” ranging from the possibly-valid to the irrelevant and outrageous. Now that the release date has finally arrived, each of us can decide for ourselves whether to see the film. And if we do see it, decide also whether the objections were justified.
Many of the negative reviews of this film are written by people who don’t believe that the Bible is given by the inspiration of God, a problem that severely colors their approach. Sometime late in a review, the writer will subtly peck away at the reader’s faith, implying (for example) that Pilate carried more blame for Jesus’ death than the film shows. But doesn’t the film follow the Biblical record on Pilate’s role? Yes, but they imply that the Biblical record ITSELF is tainted, because when the Gospels were written it was important for Christians not to antagonize the Romans, so they blamed the Jews for Jesus’ death INSTEAD, etc. etc.
I believe that any reviewer of this film should state his view of the Scriptures up front, so the reader knows the worldview from which the review is written. For my part, I believe that all of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and they teach absolute truth. I further believe that not only were the original manuscripts inerrant, but God has also PRESERVED the Scriptures by superintending the process of canonization AND by seeing to it that a false reading of a passage (whether a transcription error or a deliberate alteration) in some copy of the Scriptures can be detected and refuted, not by a philosophical or “critical” process, but by the “majority text principle” of letting the countless copies which are undamaged in any given verse out-vote the damaged copies. The bottom line is that the Scriptures were reliable when first given, and they’re still reliable today.
Relevant Questions-and-Answers: How do we know the Bible is true? Answer / When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science? Answer / How can the Bible be infallible if it is written by fallible humans? Answer
My view of Passion films in general: When I was a kid in the 1950s, growing up in a formal church, we had Wednesday night midweek services during Lent only. One year, a Passion film was shown during those services, a 15 minute slice each week. [“Passion,” in this context, means “Suffering.”] When the Crucifixion was shown, I distinctly remember an awesome sense of personal responsibility that gripped me as the nails were being driven into Jesus’ hands (off-camera of course, but with sound-effects). More than any sermon I ever heard in that church, that film sequence convicted me of sin, and of the fact that by my sin I had shared in causing those nails to be driven.
However, classic-style Passion films probably wouldn’t have the same effect on today’s audiences that they did on those of 50 years ago, because techniques of extreme graphic violence have been used in films of all types, from war movies with a message of self-sacrifice to ridiculous horror and horror-comedy flicks. Moviegoing audiences are desensitized, are bored by the old-style “less is more” approach, and demand “realism.”
So, an actor/director from Hollywood’s “A-list,” who happens to believe that the message of Jesus is true, has chosen to spend somewhere between 25 and 35 million dollars of his own money to make an R-rated Passion film befitting the trend of the times. Mel Gibson’s primary target audience is not extreme conservative Christians who’ve never seen any of his other films. He’s reaching to the same people who’ve followed his previous work, but he’s telling him something more important than he’s ever told them before. It’s as simple as that.
After a quote from Isaiah 53, “The Passion” opens with Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while Peter, James and John have drifted off to sleep. After waking His disciples (who have never seen Him in such torment) and speaking with them, He returns to His place of prayer, and it appears that His face is peppered with sweat like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). The interchange between Jesus and the Disciples is a mixture of Biblically accurate dialogue and creative license. [The film’s dialogue is Aramaic or Latin, with subtitles.]
As Jesus continues to pray, Satan (a hooded, pale-skinned, shaved-eyebrow, somewhat gender-neutral figure) appears at Jesus’ side and tells Him that He cannot take on the sins of the whole world, that saving mankind’s souls is too great a task. Lest we miss the point that it’s a supernatural character we’re seeing, a maggot dangles out of one of Satan’s nostrils, and a “pet” snake is at his feet. The snake slithers over and onto Jesus as He prays in agony. Jesus steels Himself against temptation, rises, and crushes the snake underfoot (a symbolic reference to Genesis 3:15, which actually means that Jesus would crush Satan himself by His death).
Most of the arrest scene is Biblically accurate. It seemed strange and redundant to me that Judas’ kiss of betrayal came AFTER Jesus had already identified Himself to the Guard; but since Jesus identifying Himself is found only in John and the kiss of betrayal is NOT recorded in John, it’s possible that the two events happened in that order rather than the other way around.
The scene includes the struggle between the Disciples and the guard; Peter cutting off the right ear of the Guardsman, Malchus; Jesus re-attaching and healing the ear, and telling Peter to put up his sword because all who take the sword shall perish by the sword; and the Disciples finally forsaking Jesus and fleeing.
The rest of the film follows the same pattern. About three-quarters of the content is faithful to the Biblical record. And most of the “extra” material is neutral and not misleading in any way.
Biblical details include, but are not limited to:
Peter’s denial of Jesus (I said there was no profanity in the film, but in one denial Peter says “damn you,” which faithfully reflects the account in Matthew 26:74).
The Sanhedrin (the council of Jewish chief priests and elders) being called into an illegal session in order to condemn Jesus (but we see that some members were not invited; and some who WERE invited object to the proceedings, and then leave in protest or are kicked out).
Caiaphas (the High Priest) tearing his garments, and the Sanhedrin condemning Jesus for blasphemy, because He admitted that He was the Messiah (the “anointed one,” the prophesied King who would inherit the Throne of David). [“Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah.”] This claim WOULD be blasphemy if it were not true. But in Jesus’ case, it WAS true.
The priests taking Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor (because as a subjugated people, the Jews had no authority to carry out death sentences), and slyly translating “blasphemy” into something the governor would care about, namely “sedition,” by claiming that since Jesus was perceived as a King, He was a threat to Roman rule.
Judas repenting when it’s too late, claiming that he’s betrayed innocent blood, throwing the money back at the priests, and hanging himself. [There’s a lot of extra-Biblical creative license in the Judas sequences; for instance, Judas is confronted and tormented by children who turn out to be demons.]
Pilate being warned by his wife not to get involved in condemning Jesus, because she in turn was warned in a dream. Pilate repeatedly acquitting Jesus, then passing Him off to Herod Antipas because Jesus was a Galilean and belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction. Herod (who is shown as a degenerate sicko) passing Him back to Pilate. [By the way, although the Herod family were rulers of the Jews, they themselves were Idumeans (Edomites).] Pilate attempting to satisfy the bloodthirsty crowd by just “chastising” Jesus.
The Roman scourging (including the use of a cat-of-nine-tails, which is not a Biblical certainty but a good educated guess). The Crown of Thorns, the mocking, the spitting. The crowd choosing the murderer Barabbas rather than Jesus in the Passover prisoner-release. Pilate finally giving up, literally “washing his hands” of the matter, and assenting to the crowd’s chant of “crucify him.” Pilate says that he’s innocent of the blood of this man (he isn’t, of course). [In an early cut of the film, Caiaphas responds with “His blood be on us, and on our children,” which is taken from Matthew 27:25. The inclusion of those “blood curse” words drew strong objections from some Jewish leaders, and the nature of the final cut was in doubt. In the theatrical version, an unidentified person (not shown on screen) responds to Pilate, but the dialogue isn’t subtitled, so only someone who knows the language can tell us whether the response was the “blood curse” or not.]
Simon of Cyrene being forced to help Jesus carry the cross. The nailing. The two thieves crucified along with Jesus, one angry and defiant, and the other expressing faith. Several of Jesus’ words on the Cross. The darkening of the sky. The earthquake, and the veil (curtain) in the Temple being torn in two (Matthew 27:51). [The veil in the Temple separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, where at one time the Ark of the Covenant was kept. The symbolism of the veil, and of many other things in Temple worship, was the separation between God and sinful man.
Hebrews 10:1-22 makes the point that Jesus’ flesh was ALSO a veil between God and man (paralleling it with the Temple veil), and that when Jesus’ flesh was torn (which occurred at the same time the Temple veil was torn), the blood sacrifice of Jesus opened up a way for man to have direct fellowship with God. The animal sacrifices of the Law of Moses, which were inadequate to solve the problem of sin, foreshadowed and were replaced by the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus, which forever takes care of the sin problem in anyone to whom it’s appropriated by faith.]
Jesus’ teachings (most seen in flashback), including those about forgiveness and loving your enemies, and about how no one takes His life from Him, but He’s voluntarily laying it down, how He has power not only to lay it down but to take it up again.
The Resurrection. It’s EXTREMELY brief, but it’s there. And it even includes the detail of Jesus having “dematerilized” out of the constricting graveclothes and then “rematerialized,” which seems to be the point of the description of the graveclothes in John 20:3-8.
What we have here is a film taking the position that Jesus WAS exactly Who He said He was. Before considering any negatives, we need to step back a moment and appreciate how rare that is!
Okay, now for the possible negative
The violence is extreme. The special effects of Jesus being beaten with rods, scourged, and nailed to the Cross leave nothing to the imagination. Not only that, but both the Jewish Temple Guard and the Roman Soldiers take pleasure in pummeling Jesus CONSTANTLY. From the time of His arrest on, whenever they’re walking Him anywhere, they can’t take two steps without whacking Him one. This content is there from the beginning, broken only by flashback scenes to somewhat happier times. In the second hour of the film, beginning with the Scourging, it becomes overwhelming.
Ordinarily, even in a worthwhile film like “Saving Private Ryan,” where a constant drum of violence is somewhat inherent to the plot, the violence itself is a minus. But this isn’t ordinarily. One of the complaints of negative reviews is that not enough time is spent on Jesus’ teachings. But that’s not the film’s purpose nor focus. In John 3, Nicodemus (a ruler of the Jews) came to Jesus by night and admitted that they (he and the other rulers) knew Jesus was a Teacher come from God. In what seemed like a major change of subject, Jesus said that Nicodemus needed to be born again. The point is that Jesus’ ESSENTIAL role was not that of a Teacher, but of a Savior. OUR essential NEED is not to understand more and more doctrine, but to be born again. And without the blood sacrifice of Jesus, it would not be POSSIBLE for us to be born again.
Gibson is giving us a look at what that blood sacrifice actually was. In Romans 5:6-10 we’re taught that it’s a rare thing for one man to die for another, even if the other man is “righteous” and deserving of the sacrifice. But in the case of the Cross, Jesus died for us while we were His ENEMIES, in order to make a way for us to become His friends and to be converted from unrighteousness to righteousness. Of all the violent acts that have occurred in the history of the world, the Cross was by far the most important.
If any event deserves the full Hollywood treatment, this one does. Therefore, I do not consider the graphic nature of this presentation to be a negative. Of course, it’s not appropriate for young children.
Not surprisingly, certain scenes in the film (such as Mary cradling Jesus’ body as it’s taken down from the Cross) have a distinctly Roman Catholic flavor. But not so distinctive that they’re an impediment to anyone else’s faith. I commend Gibson for giving the film a broad general appeal among Bible believers of all stripes.
Some content is either based on the writings of those two Nuns that we’ve heard so much about, or is Gibson’s own creative license. To someone who’s familiar only with the Biblical record, those snippets of content come out of nowhere, without warning, and then go away again.
Certain details which we know could have been improved over other Passion dramas, such as putting the nails through the wrists rather than through the palms of the hands, or having Jesus carry only the crossbar instead of the entire Cross, were NOT fixed. Reportedly, this was to preserve familiarity with the story as most people visualize it. Other details, such as not emphasizing asphyxiation, or omitting a Greek version of the title “King of the Jews” fastened to the Cross, are incorrect, but tolerable. The essence of this story is Jesus’ sacrifice—the BLOOD that so many of our songs sing about.
What about the objections of anti-Semitism? Groundless. If anything, Gibson shows even-handedness and restraint in that matter. It’s clear that the Sanhedrin was not unanimous in condemning Jesus. And while the Temple Guard engages in some gratuitous violence, all the really bloody torture of Jesus is done by the Romans.
The liberals say Pilate must actually have been the primary mover in killing Jesus. They say this, because they want it to be so. Was Pilate sometimes a bloodthirsty murderer? It sure sounds like it, from Luke 13:1. But the factual historical record (found in the Scriptures) is that Jesus was really no threat to Rome, the Jewish leaders were the ones who conspired to put Jesus to death, and they forced Pilate into carrying out their wishes. See John 11:46-53. In this amazing passage, Caiaphas says that one man (Jesus) should die for the people, so that the whole nation doesn’t perish.
Caiaphas was a murderer who THOUGHT he simply meant that he was going to have Jesus bumped off for political reasons, to avoid trouble with Rome. But because he was the High Priest, God was at the same time speaking through him and giving a second sphere of meaning to his words. Jesus’ death was to be a Substitutionary Atonement for sin, so that other people wouldn’t have to die in their own sins.
Some Scripture passages, such as I Thessalonians 2:14-16, name “the Jews” as the killers of Jesus. But other passages spread the blame more generally. In Acts 4:24-28, the Apostles quote Psalm 2, and interpret it to mean that pretty much EVERYONE — Herod (an Idumean, remember), Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel—were gathered TOGETHER against Jesus, TO DO WHAT GOD’S COUNSEL HAD FOREORDAINED TO BE DONE.
The most important point, as Gibson has said, is that WE’RE ALL GUILTY. And that no one took Jesus’ life from Him, but He laid it down of Himself. Anyone who tries to use the Biblical record, or a dramatization of the Biblical record, as a justification to persecute someone, just doesn’t get it. God will be the judge of all unbelief. Until Jesus returns, our message centers on God’s offer of mercy and forgiveness.
If the essential message of this film is true, and if everyone needs to believe on Jesus, then regardless of the objections that are voiced, the number one ACTUAL objection against this film by any unbeliever is that it’s showing a truth that he does not acknowledge. The person may not KNOW that that’s his primary objection—it may be lodged in his spirit rather than in his brain—but yet it is.
So many of the voiced objections betray a double standard. This film is being judged by a different set of rules than any other. And the people who always proclaim that movies are just entertainment and don’t really change behavior or beliefs—where are those people now? I don’t hear them. The silence is deafening.
I’m sure that I’ll acquire a copy of this film for my own video or DVD library. And at some point, when she’s a teenager, I’d like my daughter to see it. Of course, some people couldn’t handle this content. The Gospel has done just fine for 2000 years, without the Holy Ghost needing help from this film or from any other dramatization. “The Passion” is NOT an indispensible addition to anyone’s witnessing tool kit. But there ARE ways in which it could be used effectively.
I HIGHLY recommend this film for anyone of appropriate age, maturity and stamina.
Violence: Extreme | Profanity: None | Sex/Nudity: None
Nowadays, most Christians are rejoicing that amidst the filth of Hollywood, suddenly another movie has been produced that flies in the face of everything for which Hollywood stands. That movie is “The Passion of the Christ.” But some are deeply concerned that it was also directed and produced by a Roman Catholic. It also contains artistic license. It has scenes that are from Catholic mysticism rather than from Scripture (the appearance of a raven at the cross, Judas being tormented by children, etc.).
Another concern that some people have is that an onscreen depiction of Jesus is a form of “graven image,” and therefore a transgression of the Second Commandment. Those who think that making an image of Jesus on film is breaking the Commandment should read it in full. We are not to make graven images of “any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” That means that we shouldn’t make film images (movie or still photos) of any person, animal, fish, flower, bird, mountain, etc. That doesn’t make any sense… until we read the whole Commandment: “You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4-5). The Commandment forbids the creation of any image for the purpose of worship.
While we could argue about these issues, I would rather ask you an important question. If someone says, “I’m not a Christian, but I did see the film. Wow! What was all that brutality about?” are you going to reply, “I didn’t go to the movie because it was directed and produced by a Roman Catholic. It’s idolatrous and it contains things that cannot be corroborated by Scripture, and I therefore think it was evil”? I hope not. I should hope that you instead use the movie as a springboard to explain the way of salvation.
Think of Paul’s attitude in Philippians chapter one. Some folks weren’t just adding their own mystical thoughts to the message of the cross. They were downright vicious. They were hypocrites who preached Christ out of pretence, envy, strife and “contention.” They were devious people who were so full of venom that they wanted to see Paul further suffer—hoping to “add affliction the [his] bonds.” Yet what was Paul’s attitude to such wickedness? He rejoiced that they preached Christ, despite the horrible baggage that came with the message. He said, “What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (verse 18).
Do you remember what happened in Mark 9:39-40, when the disciples told Jesus that they had found a man who was casting out demons in His name. This man had a “ministry,” but he wasn’t with their group, so they took it upon themselves to rebuke him. But Jesus told them to leave him alone. This is because God doesn’t need bouncers to help Him carry out His purposes.
If I had had a hand in the making of “The Passion of the Christ,” I would have dropped all mysticism, and based it purely on Scripture. Also, (as in the epic movie “Ben Hur”—a wonderful movie) I wouldn’t have shown the face of the Savior. But I didn’t write, produce or direct it. So I tell myself that this isn’t a movie about Jesus being a homosexual. It isn’t about him having sexual relations with Mary Magdalene. It doesn’t depict Him as merely a man—as did “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Instead “The Passion of the Christ” is based on Scripture, with some artistic license. It begins with a powerful Scripture. The whole movie is full of Scripture… and it even ends with the resurrection. Christ is preached, and we should therefore rejoice and be thankful that millions have been graphically reminded of the cross of Calvary in a way they will never forget. That means we can either take advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to use it to speak further with them about their salvation, or we can whine. I choose the former, and I hope you do also.
Comments from Mark Looy, Answers in Genesis (a Bible-upholding, evangelical ministry), a Team Member of ChristianAnswers.Net:
…The movie is absolutely gripping. It has the added benefit that it is apparently true to Scripture, although some poetic license was used (for example, there is a scene where Christ is flung off a bridge, which cannot be found in the Gospels--that account may have its origin in a book written by a nineteenth-century mystic).
The second half of the movie, though, is, in a word, “torture.” Not only does the movie graphically depict the torture of Christ, from His scourging to the Crucifixion, I found it to be also torturous to watch. The “R” rating in the US (meaning “Restricted—young people under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to enter the theater”) is merited because of how vividly it reconstructs Christ’s brutal, bloody torture. Some have argued that, in a culture that is so desensitized to screen violence, “The Passion” had to be so graphic to make its point about His immense suffering. I will not, however, be taking my 11 and 13-year-old sons to see it.
Others have commented that these incredibly horrific ordeals shown in the second hour of the movie could have been done in 15-20 minutes and still convey something of the immense suffering that our Savior must have experienced. (And, of course, no movie could ever depict the internal/spiritual suffering of our Lord as He bore the sins of the world while on the Cross.) Such shortening could, in turn, have left more time at the movie’s end to present the glory of His Resurrection three days later (which the film presents very briefly). After all, the validity of the Christian faith is based on the Resurrection, the most important event in history: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). In the film preview shown to the media, the depiction of the Resurrection was maybe a minute in length. This parallels the emphasis that some non-Protestant religions (that generally accept the Bible) place: i.e., a focus on Christ still on the Cross as opposed to Christ off the Cross—as a risen Savior. After such a remarkable build-up, I believe the film lost an opportunity to proclaim something quite glorious when it glossed over the Resurrection. It was like listening to Handel’s magnificent Messiah and then hearing only one bar of the “Hallelujah chorus” at the end…
But this drawback is not why the movie is so controversial…It’s clear that the filmmakers were not trying to blame any one person or an entire group. At the same time, however, we should add what the film does not really mention: God the Father is the One responsible for planning and allowing the Crucifixion of His Son, Jesus. This was prophesied all the way back in Genesis 3:15 and also Isaiah 53—and many other places in the Old Testament.
…Will the movie lead people to Christ? Within certain evangelical circles, that question is being bandied about with some fervor. How effective will this movie be in conveying biblical truths to non-Christians? First, we need to recognize that today’s generation is biblically illiterate. They don’t know what the Bible says about the origin of sin (in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:1-8), God’s judgment for sin (the Curse in Genesis 3:9-24) and His promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15). While many people growing up in Western nations during the first half of the 20th century were familiar with these teachings, they will be lost on newer generations. Some people don’t even know how Christ Himself fits into world history—or even what that true history is. In the common understanding, Christ must have evolved from pond scum over millions of years, along with the rest of us. How could an evolved, mortal animal have the ability to rise from the dead?
[Editor’s note: We agree that “The Passion…” does not provide a clear presentation of the Gospel, and, of course, it was not meant to. To learn the rest of the story of Jesus—or to share it with your friends—read the Bible and view the excellent Mars Hill video production, The HOPE. This high-quality, new motion picture superbly explains the rest of the story about Christ, and puts everything into context and perspective—beginning with the original creation of Paradise, mankind’s fall to sin, and God’s story of redemption which began thousands of years ago continues through Christ’s death and resurrection, and beyond. Share the Web address with your friends: TheHopeVideo.com (free).
Video also available for purchase.
[Editor’s note: We agree that it is the duty of true followers of Christ to share their faith with others. If you need some help and tips on how to be effective, see our Effective Evangelism section!]
[Editor’s Note: We agree that the movie’s depiction of the physical suffering of Christ is not medically accurate. The reality was actually much worse than the movie portrays. Read our articles, “How did Jesus die? Learn the facts!” / Viewer’s medical authenticity comment below / What is crucifixion?]
Neutral comments received
Neutral (medical authenticity lacking)—… the movie will enhance the heart of every believer and may bring non-believers to a greater understanding of the price God paid for our sins… My neutrality comes from 20 years as a critical care nurse. I have seen with my own eyes multiple times the result of equal amounts of bodily trauma. Just after it has happened, and the hours and days that follow. All I [in “The Passion…”] saw was blood, blood and whip marks filled with blood. There was virtually no signs of bruising that I saw in the movie that I’m sure would have been in abundance given the time span of His first traumatic encounter to the end when He died on the cross.
“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. Isa 53:5 (NKJ)
As for His demise on the cross, this also lacked the realism that I as a medical professional know to be true and had hoped would finally be there given the skills of movie makers in this century. First, the old story line of the nails actually being driven into His hands is false. When a person is crucified as the Romans did it, their death is from asphyxiation. Meaning to say that in the position of the person being crucified on the cross, the only way to be able to breathe, exhale that is, is by lifting and pulling oneself up. Then to inhale only requires the person to relax. This pulling at the nails in their hands would of ripped the skin and they would simply fall off the cross. The nails were actually driven into their wrists, and thus lock the hand in place, and not allow it to tear away.
As for the asphyxiation, that comes in when the person can no longer endure the pain or has the strength left in them to lift themselves up; they die because they cannot breathe unless they are able to lift or pull themselfs up to supply the body with the needed oxygenation.
Also, when we speak, it is in the cycle of exhale. Any words spoken by Christ while on the cross would of first been proceeded by a painful and agonizing lifting and pulling up of the body and much more prominent with the person trying to speak as opposed to just trying to survive. This I do not believe was shown. In the movie, his breathing pattern, although strained at times was not very realistic to what actually was needed to stay alive for the six hours Christ was up there. The obvious strain that would have been so evident with any speaking while hanging on the cross was mistakenly left out.
The act of pushing up on the nail driven feet and wrist would have been a very noticeable event thoughout the entire time spent on the cross and would of in my opinion given the price of the cross much more solid evidence for the cost He paid. This horrifically painful part of the cross is where we get the word “excruciate.” This all is more clearly stated by Alexander Metherell, M.D., PH.D in Lee Stobels book “The Case For Christ”
Although beatings and such is very painful, not being able to breathe is by far, in my opinion, the worst of the worst in psychological and physical endurance. Just ask anyone with asthma or any of the other myriad lungs diseases people live and die with.
…on the medical front I think it failed miserably. I again say that, in whole the think the movie will touch people like no other movie. It just saddens me that with the information and technology available to today’s moviemakers, they choose to sanitize the crucifixion and the excruciating pain that is a natural consequence of that type of death.
—Michael, age 52