In the recent interview Mel Gibson did with Diane Sawyer about his film, The Passion of the Christ, he revealed that he was only onscreen in the movie one time – actually only a part of him was in the scene. At the point in the story when Jesus is being nailed to the cross, it was Gibson’s left arm and hand seen driving the nail into the hand of Christ.
When asked why he chose to assume that role in the film, Mel Gibson indicated that it was because he saw himself as first in the line of culpability for the crucifixion of Christ. He openly acknowledged his own guilt and blame for the death of Jesus. “Who did kill Christ?” Sawyer asked. “We all did,” Gibson responded as Sawyer blankly stared at him as if he were speaking a Martian language.
The story of the passion of Christ – it is the crux of the gospel. The suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of history. The events of three days that occurred two millennia ago will forever be the focal point of time and eternity. Throughout the ages to come, the angels’ words will reverberate, filling every corner of the universe: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” In response, every created thing in existence will cry out, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever!” (See Revelation 5:12-13)
Gibson’s confession that he sees himself as first in the line of those guilty for the death of Jesus is a confession which fits us all. Left to ourselves, we are all born without a trace of hope that we might find favor with Almighty God. But the cross changes that. Embedded in the cross of Jesus Christ is a call – it is an invitation to come back home; to return to the Father’s house. It is a call to enter into union with divine life and be transformed into somebody new. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Some people hear the call. Others never will. Jesus said that nobody could ever come to God unless God Himself (through the Holy Spirit) draws them to Him. Do you sense a pull toward Christ? That inner pull you sense is the voice of God gently and lovingly inviting you to come to Him.
Some people put the gospels alongside “other histories” of the time of Jesus. They look at the cross, but don’t see. They simply can’t hear the loving invitation that pours out of Calvary’s hill. To them, it’s only an ancient story.
As you watch the film – as you think about the cross – listen. It’s not simply a historical story being retold. It is an eternal story shouting out a present-day invitation to those who are able to hear. You may hear a message other’s won’t hear. You may see something others don’t see. If so, be glad. Be very glad. Because that same Christ who died that brutal death is reaching out to you in love. Reach up, responding in faith, and He will pick you up. He will give you new life and will begin to carry you toward home.
If you have been forwarded this devotional article by a friend who is a Christian, be assured it is because they value your friendship. Maybe this article can be the basis of discussion between you two about the cross of Jesus Christ and its relevance today