“Passion of the Christ” – as difficult as it is to watch – is an indelible, symbiotic work for one transcendent reason: why wouldn’t a man, if he didn’t truly believe he was the Son of God, simply renounce his claim rather than suffer so horribly at the hands of his detractors? For many, those who are equally fraught with human frailties, faith ultimately supersedes any fear of pain or indignation. Their spirit is ethereal and cannot be touched or diminished by such insatiable hate. Nothing is more profound, representative of the dichotomy between Jesus the man and Jesus the Son of God, than the philosophical bridge spanning these two iconic statements: “My God…why hast thou forsaken me?” and “It is finished!” It was this juxtaposition that became the genesis of the movie, “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Although many believed the movie to be blasphemous, the writer was simply trying to reconcile these contrasting feelings. In essence, he hypothesized that God showed Jesus what the world would have been like if he was but an ordinary man – defined by temptation and sin – rather than leading a life of virtue, and eventually, dying on the cross for the salvation of mankind. In this context, I believe this interpretation was both fascinating and ingenious; for you cannot study or appreciate Jesus the Son of God without understanding his trials and tribulations as a man.
Whether you’re a devout Christian, Jewish, an agnostic or an atheist, one thing is for certain; a wealth of inspiration, wisdom, and hope can be drawn from the life and tragic death of Jesus of Nazareth. His life and testimony embodied compassion, love and forgiveness; a stark contrast from the “fire & brimstone” wrath of the Old Testament. It’s not that he didn’t believe there would be stern consequences for our actions – albeit in life or the afterlife – Jesus simply recognized that as long as hope remained, sincere regret for our missteps, it was never too late to live a virtuous life or seek salvation; if only through our own conscience. Therefore, as we are all mired in life’s daily tribulations and injustices – poverty, disease, violence or everyday petty contrivances – it becomes all the more vital to embrace one inescapable adage: the Kingdom of Heaven is in you, whether you believe in God or not. You only have to be willing to find it.
May God Bless You All & Happy Easter!!!