the girl with large dark and bright eyes opened up the topic and said earnestly, “I was very touched that even when Jesus was being nailed on the cross, he was still praying for those persecuting him.” Everybody nodded in agreement. The tall boy added, “Jesus is the Son of God, and although he had the power to not suffer like he did, he still chose to suffer for us. That was so amazing.”
A short hair girl remarked, “In spite of great suffering, Jesus raised his head, looked at His mother Mary and said, ‘Mother, I make things new,’ then pushed himself up and continued carrying the Cross. From human perspectives, dying on the Cross may have appeared as a big failure, but it touched me deeply that Jesus persisted in his passion under such extreme condition to renew our relation with our heavenly father.”
Many people were deeply moved by the loving relationship between holy Mary and Jesus portrayed in the movie. A girl in a white dress put down her teacup and said, “When Jesus was in the underground jail, Mary put her face down on the floor above, and we saw how a mother’s heart is linked with her son’s; it was very moving.” A well-built guy said, “I was very touched by the part when Mary thought about how she helped the young Jesus get up when he fell, then when Jesus fell while carrying the cross, she instinctively ran up to help.” Everyone felt the same way. A longhair girl with earrings said, “I deeply respect the bravery of holy Mary. Many times, I had difficulty watching the movie, but she was able to persist and stay with Jesus until the very end.”
Everyone turned to her husband. Since they arrived late, he was still getting food with his chopsticks. He became a little uncomfortable with everyone looking at him, so he withdrew his chopsticks, thought about it a little and commented, “I like the humanity in the movie, especially with people around Jesus.” Many people nodded, and he continued, “The flashbacks to the childhood, like the segment on Jesus building the tall table, when Mary said ‘this will never catch on.’ It reminded me that even today, many people still reject the messages Jesus tries to convey.” Everyone agreed to his view. Someone added, “I liked the scene when Jesus splashed water on Mary.” Everyone smiled as they remembered the playful scene. Another person said, “When Jesus died, a drop of water, like a tear from the Heavenly Father, fell from heaven and caused the earth to shake. It was a very beautiful artistic expression.”
All were glad that the movie had been faithful to the Scripture. The girl with long hair and earrings said, “At first, I was not sure if some parts of the movie were from the Scripture, such as the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate. I went home and checked the four Gospels, and sure enough, I found them!” A girl who was not yet a Christian said, “I didn’t really understand the movie because I am not familiar with the story, and I didn’t know many of the people in the movie and why they did certain things.” We thus concluded that this movie would be difficult for anyone who was not familiar with the Bible to comprehend, and may be hard for non-Christians to appreciate. We pray that God will give us wisdom to answer their questions in the manner of His will, so that they can also receive God’s salvation.
“I think many of us are familiar with Peter’s denial of the Lord,” the quiet thinker said, “through the expressions in this movie, I can appreciate more deeply Peter’s situation, and understand why he did what he did, and why he felt so sad, ashamed, and unworthy afterward.” The short hair girl remarked, “Yah! That made me remember how I used to be reluctant to make the sign of cross in public, afraid that people might think I am different from others. My action was the same denial of my Lord, not three times, but three hundred times! I felt ashamed, sorry, and unworthy.”
Many people had a strong impression of Simon the Cyrenian who helped Jesus carry the cross. The quiet thinker commented, “He was pressed into service even though he did not wish to be. He was reluctant at first, but as he carried the cross, we can clearly see how his attitude changed.” A guy with glasses added, “This reminded me of when I am falsely charged or unfairly treated. Perhaps God wanted me to learn to carry a cross, and gave me a special lesson.”
Regarding the bloody portrayals, many felt it was a little too graphic and too long. The girl with large bright eyes said, “Was this the only way? Are there no other ways?” Then the tall boy replied, “My Christian friends often preached to me about how Jesus suffered and died for us on the Cross. After a while, I got tired of hearing it. It is like our parents repeatedly telling us of how they suffered hardships in their youth. It is not until we see it first hand that we are able to truly appreciate their sacrifice.” A long hair girl added, “When our parents gave us all those teachings, we often could not accept it, right? However, when we see how they lived out those teachings, we begin to understand and accept those teachings.” She looked at everyone, somewhat shy, and added, “I don’t know, maybe our God also wanted to teach us using this way.” Then the husband of the girl in white dress added, “You know, to teach an ant, you need to become an ant first!”
The short hair girl said, “Yes, in this movie, it emphasized images of the sufferings of Christ. The sinless Son of God was first whipped by canes, then beaten with sticks, and then scourged with sharp blades, until he was unbearably bloody, and then they still wanted to nail him on the cross. When I watched, I was very sorry, I kept saying sorry to Jesus in my heart; I am a sinner, it was my sin that caused you to suffer, please forgive me.” She wiped her eyes, and continued, “I brought extra tissue and was going to share them with my husband, but I ended up using the last piece myself.” The tall boy also said, “Although I consider myself calm and rational, I ‘almost’ cried.”
The young man who arrived late finally put down his chopsticks and said, “This movie condensed the suffering of Jesus from 12 hours down to 2 hours. He actually suffered much more than what we saw!” Several other young men joined in and said, “This is not an ordinary movie, and it reminded us of what Jesus went through for our sins.” “I hope, in the future, the images of Jesus’ suffering will help me choose the way pleasing to God, stay away from sin, so Jesus does not suffer more for me.”
The tall boy said, “Please don’t think I only show up for social events! I actually like Bible study more than social events.” Everyone laughed. He continued, “Really, I had a very tough day, I had a lot to do at work, and was very stressed out. I came only because there were extra tickets. However, after watching this movie, it was like I went on a retreat. It made me feel that my hardships are nothing compared to the sufferings of Jesus. It rekindled my faith and gave me strength. I encourage everyone to watch this movie.”
Praise the Lord for giving us the chance to watch this meaningful and touching movie, and the opportunity to share our experience with friends in the beginning of Lent. Although some people would not dare watch this movie again, they still felt this was a good movie and were glad that they watched it at the beginning of Lent. A few people expressed that they wanted to watch it again before Easter or watch it every year during Lent. We believe this movie has made a strong impression on everyone. From now on, all of us will have a different attitude when reading the Gospels, participating in Mass (especially the Palm Sunday Mass), praying the Rosary, and walking the Way of the Cross. We pray that we will continue to renew and grow in God’s love and be closer to Jesus always.
Tony & Wendar Fu