“The Passion of the Christ” is a powerful depiction of the last twelve hours of the life of Christ; a love story that is so deeply and emotionally profound that the telling is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. From the shrouded darkness of Gethsemane, to the excruciating agony that Jesus endures at the hands of the Pharisees, and ultimately to his death on the cross, this story strikes a balance between the deepest form of love and the images that are so excessively brutal that the audience can feel the pain for themselves.
While Jesus (James Caviezel) had a close relationship with his Heavenly Father, and sought refuge with Him during his moments of deepest suffering, his relationship with his mother, Mary (Maia Morgenstern), is equally as strong. Mary’s bond with Jesus is forged from one of the most powerful forms of love that humanity expresses: the love that a mother has for her child. While Mary’s faith and obedience to God allowed her to become a vessel to raise God’s Son, her fragile humanity renders her defenseless against the insurmountable agony she feels when witnessing the suffering of her child. Powerless to protect Jesus from the inevitability of his death, Mary’s love for him is reflected both in her memories of comforting Jesus as a child and in the way she casts aside her own pain to comfort him on his journey to death. Her strength is reflected by her faith and the love she has for her son as she witnesses him fulfilling God’s purpose.
Aside from Christ, there are three different personifications of men that are identified in the Passion of the Christ. The apostle John (Christo Jivkov) is the personification of unwavering devotion. He is the only one of the disciples that did not flee when Christ was taken, but instead followed Christ on his journey to the cross while also comforting and supporting Mary and ultimately pledging to take care of her. The apostle Peter (Francesco De Vito) was also a faithful follower of Christ, but he represents the sinner redeemed. He allowed himself to succumb to fear, and thus betrayed Jesus, but ultimately, Peter repented of his transgression and was forgiven. Judas is the representation of the lost sinner. The demonic entities expressed in the children that taunt Judas after he betrays Christ are a symbolic expression of the overwhelming guilt that has been cast on him when he betrayed Christ. While Judas tried to reconcile himself by returning the blood money to the Pharisees, he succumbed to the insurmountable agony that followed in the aftermath of his transgression and ultimately, his guilt destroyed him.
“The Passion of the Christ” is the most emotionally compelling version of the Christ story that I have ever witnessed. While the Aramaic language that the movie is spoken in makes the dialogue difficult to follow, the emotional dialogue that is expressed in the movie, particularly between Jesus and his mother, Mary, allows the audience to understand what the characters are feeling more powerfully than words could convey. The graphic portrayal of the pain Christ endured in the movie may not be suitable for younger viewers, but “The Passion of the Christ” is still a beautiful and powerful testimony of God’s love, and I would highly recommend it.