Reflections on The Passion of the Christ

  • Jesus Writing on the Ground from the Passion of the Christ with Jim CaviezelThe 2004 film begins quoting Isaiah 53, “He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah foretold Christ’s sufferings seven centuries before they came to pass.
  • We see a full moon, for Passover was always celebrated upon a full moon (similar to how Easter is always the Sunday after the first full moon following spring equinox on March 20th.)
  • We find Jesus in the garden, praying the psalms to his Father: “Rise up, defend me” (Ps 94) “Save me from the traps they set for me” (Ps 141) “Shelter me, O Lord, I trust in you. In you I take my refuge.” (Ps 16)
  • Satan appears in the garden; androgynous, attractive, and deathly pale. He speaks doubts to Jesus: “Do you really believe that one man can bear the full burden of sin? No one can carry this burden… No one. Ever. No. Never. … Who is your Father? Who are you?” Jesus never speaks to the devil throughout the film, but here he stands, locks eyes with Satan, and crushes the snake’s head underfoot. This recalls God’s words to the ancient serpent in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.
  • Awoken from her sleep, the Virgin Mother senses something is awry. She asks Mary Magdalene, “Why is this night different from every other night?” She answers, “Because once we were slaves and we are slaves no longer.” This quotes the traditional dialogue of the Jewish Passover meal ritual.
  • Given the choice, the crowd calls for the unsavory prisoner Barabbas, a violent revolutionary, to be freed instead of Jesus. “Barabbas” means “Son of the Father.
  • At the pillar, Jesus quotes Psalm 108: “My heart is ready, Father. My heart is ready.” In Hebrew, to say “very,” you repeat a word twice. To say something is so in the greatest measure, it is said thrice (e.g. “Holy, Holy, Holy.”) The Romans directing the flogging of Jesus say “Satis / Enough” three times.
  • The angry crowd from the Passion of the ChristPilate presents the lacerated Jesus saying, “Ecce Homo / Behold (the) man!” The shot is from behind, emphasizing the angry, riotous mob in the background, for these words are a critique of fallen man/mankind.
  • Pilate asks, “Shall I crucify your king?” The high priest replies, “We have no king but Caesar,” denying the kingship of God.
  • The 14 Stations of the Cross make appearances throughout the film, including the three times Jesus falls.
  • Embracing his cross, Jesus alludes to Psalm 116: “I am your servant Father. Your servant and the son of your handmaid.
  • Mary, recalling when Jesus once fell as a child, rushes to his side. Jesus tells her, “See, Mother, I make all things new,” foreshadowing Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.
  • Veronica, who gives Jesus her veil to wipe his face, has a name which means “true image.”
  • Jesus’ experiences at Golgotha are paralleled with flashbacks to the Last Supper. Jesus is stripped, the bread is uncovered. The Host is lifted, his cross is raised.
  • The Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross calls Jesus, “Flesh of my flesh, heart of my heart…” echoing the words of Adam toward Eve.
  • On the cross, Jesus quotes Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

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