My daughter called me two days ago asking if we could do lunch and a movie at my house. I asked her if she had a particular movie in mind and she said, “I really would like to see The Passion of the Christ because I’ve never seen it.” Knowing that my daughter is not one to hold her own when it comes to blood, I asked her if she understood the graphic nature of the movie and was she sure? I have to trust that the Holy Spirit was working in her life because she insisted that’s what she wanted to watch. I gratefully indulged her and today we enjoyed subs for lunch followed by The Passion of the Christ. Following the movie, she asked many, many questions … all of which are questions that any believer should be prepared to answer. I wanted to share with you how we can use even movies that may not be completely correct to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her questions:
Why did God forsake Jesus on the Cross?
• A very good opportunity to explain about how horrible sin is—our sin! To explain the justice of God against sin AND at the same time explain the love of God who saves us from sin. To explain the full price Christ paid on the cross and that, for believers, God now sees us as redeemed because of the ransom paid.
Did Jesus’ mother know that this was going to happen to her Son?
• An excellent opportunity to talk about God’s prophetic word in the Old Testament. To speak about her submission to God’s will to bear the long awaited Messiah. To see in her the acceptance of Jesus as her son and her Messiah.
Why was Satan following him all during most of the trials but he wasn’t there at the very end during the crucifixion?
• A great time to explain about the ‘poetic license’ taken by the producers of the movie. But it was also a good opportunity to talk about the victory over sin and death that Christ won on the cross and in the resurrection.
What was the point of the snake at the beginning of the movie when Jesus was in the garden?
• While this was more poetic license, it was an opportunity to explain that we can read the prophecies of Christ all the way back to Genesis. This scene in the movie was to help us to recall one of the earliest prophesies of how “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15
The movie ended kind of suddenly … isn’t there more?
• This was one of my favorite questions because, yes, there is SO much more. This was a great opportunity to talk about the difference between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. That we often pay so much attention to Resurrection Sunday that we must understand all of the passion of Christ. This was where we talked about what the Gospel is. To understand that we are not good…no one is good, we are all sinners who deserve the justice of God’s wrath. But God did/does love us so much that He gave His Son who paid the price that we deserved. It is one thing to just know who Jesus is and what He did; even Satan and the demons know this. It is another to believe that it was done for you, and me…by the Son of God who did rise from the grave just as was prophesied and just as He said He would. A good time to speak about 40 days more of instruction from the resurrected Christ and all that we have in the New Testament.
But what about babies or children or people who have never heard the Gospel? Will they be saved?
• A great opportunity to talk about God’s love yet again. How each day that passes is a gift of common grace to all mankind, allowing them another day to not reject His offer of salvation but to come to know Him. It was also a wonderful opportunity to talk about how God is visible all around and He has made Himself known in this world–His creation. I urged her to look at Romans 1 to understand it better.
Aren’t those great questions? We talked about so much more than what I have written here. I pray that my answers and comments about sanctification, and grace, and glorification were answers that will stay with her, and in the quiet times that will come for her she will recall and will understand. While I am not a very big fan of most ‘Christian’ movies put out … I do feel that God can use them as He chooses. Where other movies have fallen way short of the graphic nature of Christ’s death, this movie does well. I do believe that it is important to understand the suffering of Christ for in His suffering we see most strongly His love “in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”. Romans 5:8
Salvation is not about saying one prayer but about many prayers. My daughter, like all people, must come to a moment in time where she recognizes her sin and her need of a Savior. I pray that the Holy Spirit has been working in her heart to bring about this moment. I pray that she will know when her heart of stone has been changed into a heart of flesh and that that heart will surrender to the Lord and Savior of her life. The Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification is what will see her on the path that God has for her.