Don’t Judge the Book by the Movie
by Chris Josephson
From my heart to yours....
Many years of living in Israel and among Jewish brethren
here in the states has given me an advantage of understanding to what is
offensive to them. In my heart, a big red flag went up as I viewed this film
and from my life experiences, and my understanding of God’s Word, I judge
this film to be anti-Jewish.
The stage is set at the very beginning: As Jesus was being
taken from the Garden of Gethsemane by Temple police, the film shows Him
beaten unmercifully. That didn’t come from the Bible as well as many other
Many violent scenes in this film are attributed to Jews. As
pointed out in a discussion between Jews and Christians here, the satanic
figure in the film moved back and forth – only among the Jews!
The flash back attempted to show that those who proclaimed
Him King on “Palm Sunday” a few days before were the same ones now calling
for Barabbas the murderer to be released and for Jesus to be crucified. If
one studies history as well as the Gospel accounts concerning these “12
hours”, it’s not hard to learn that it was only the Temple leaders (and not
ALL of them) who wanted him out of the way. He was not only a threat to
their Hellenistic life-style, but they were fearful the people would
proclaim him king and get them in trouble with the Roman powers.
To the film’s credit, the message of love Jesus taught is
not completely lost, but the sickening bloody scenes prevail far beyond the
Scriptural account. The blood, of course, is that of Jesus. The film shows
most of it spilled before he ever was put on the cross; depicting him
falling time after time. The Gospel account does not say He fell even once,
but it is assumed because of the solicitation of Simon, a Cyrenian, to bear
the cross. It also depicts the cross falling over with him on it, frontward
and backward. Too much liberty was taken for this “artistic account” by the
producer whose beliefs are contrary to the Declaration of Vatican II
Although the English caption was eliminated, I understand in
Aramaic the words were spoken, “His blood be upon us and on our children.”
Through the 2,000 years since then, this has been the rallying cry of
anti-Semites against the Jews, attributing deicide to them.
Consider with me: Christians generally believe
in blood atonement. We sing songs like “When I see the blood, I will pass
over you” harking back to the Exodus from Egypt. But when it comes to the
above quote, “His blood be upon us and our children”, it has been given an
entirely different meaning. IF IT WERE POSSIBLE for the Jewish leaders of
that day to invoke the blood of Jesus on themselves and ALL Jews of ALL time
in EVERY place – what does His blood do according to our own preaching? If
they are “covered by the blood”, why the attempts to convert them?
Another Scriptural symbolism overlooked is that when a lamb
was sacrificed, according to Mosaic laws the priests were assigned the task.
IF the Temple priests were the ones to sacrifice the one whom John the
Baptist called, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” why
are they blamed? Shouldn’t we rather thank them?
A big segment of Christians believe in the Trinity: “God the
Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.” (Incidentally, those words are
not in the Bible anywhere). In fact whether one believes in a triune god
seems to be THE acid test to determine a false teacher or minister. The
Decalogue tells us it is idolatry to make likenesses of the One we worship.
Does this mean not only pictures and statutes of Jesus, but also about
someone “playing God”? And while we are on the subject: Another question to
ponder: HOW CAN MAN KILL GOD? The very thought is ludicrous.
Many evangelical Christians consider this film a tool for
saving souls. But consider the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians
1:21, “Ít pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe.” The word, Gospel, means “Good News” and is explained well in
the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Scriptures! “How beautiful upon the
mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes
peace; that brings good tiding of good, that publishes salvation; that saith
unto Zion, YOUR GOD REIGNS!” (Isaiah 52:7) Isn’t that “Good News”?
The Cradle of Redemption is the Abrahamic Covenant, of which
God said THREE TIMES in Genesis 17, that it is “everlasting”. In the same
chapter God calls the Abrahamic Covenant “My Covenant”, NINE TIMES. It
therefore does not depend upon any person which would surely guarantee its
The Abrahamic Covenant set the stage for God’s unconditional
love redemption and restoration of all mankind to Himself. He began with a
family we call “the Children of Israel”. They were His channel and
secretaries to give us His Word. All the light and knowledge we have of God
has come through them.
There is an interesting commentary on this covenant by the
Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:17, where he says it was “made of God in
Christ.” I have yet to hear a sermon using that as a text.
AND LET US NOT FORGET, Jesus Christ was a Jew who said,
“Salvation is of the Jews”. He also said, “No man takes my life from
me. I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to
take it again….[and] for this cause came I into the world.”
We ARE our brother’s keeper and the truth is Judah is our
The greatest weakness of the film is its muted expression of
the resurrection of Christ. Not only so but He was depicted coming out of
the tomb with nakedness showing. Disgraceful!
His resurrection is the triumph over the death culture by
the culture of LIFE. The resurrection depicts fully the LOVE message He came
to bring. His death would mean nothing if He had not defeated the death
culture that enslaves the world by being the “first-fruit” from the dead.
His resurrection occurred at the time of the festival of “The First Fruits”
in Israel – when the first sheaf of grain is waved over the field,
guaranteeing the ENTIRE harvest. That is the real symbolism of God’s love,
and a Hollywood production on that theme is well overdue.
Incidentally (if there is such) the first-fruits of
grains came from Ma’ale Michmas to the Temple in Jerusalem. See picture and
caption on back cover.
Through the Redeemer, I personally came into a spiritual
birth that brought me back to the God of Israel and gave me a desire to
understand His Word. I have an unconditional love for my brother Judah, and
my life is dedicated to the healing of the breach. Jesus referred to this
when He said, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I
must bring and there will be one fold and one shepherd.”
My brother Judah does not have to come my way and embrace my
culture, imposed by Christian Church laws. Neither do I need to embrace the
traditional rules of the rabbis imposed to help Jews keep God’s Torah Laws.
We do have to love one another and celebrate the life we’ve been given by
the One and Only God, Who loves us enough to give us mitzvot (love laws) to
live by. -