Thursday, April 9, 2009


Mel Gibson’s use of sustained, graphic violence in The Passion, as one critic rightly said, has ‘turned Jesus as a gold medalist in the Olympics of Suffering’. The Romans, who perfected the art of slow torture, view the cross as a sign of shame (Gal. 3:13). The Jewish attitude was worse. They saw crucifixion not only as a social stigma but as a divine curse (Deut. 21:23). But the writers of the Gospels choose to depict it differently. Instead of evoking empathy, as another critic said of The Passion, they invite us to grateful, respectful awe, because they had different understanding of the meaning of his suffering.

The evangelist Reinhard Bonke has a marvelous picture of this:

The Cross of Jesus consists of two beams, one vertical and one horizontal. Those crossed timbers are twin symbols of human misery and God’s salvation. The horizontal beam is like a dash, the very sign used for minus. And that is the human story. We were born a minus, a deficit, a void. Sin has destroyed something. That something is missing, but people are at a complete loss to know what it is. They talk about their search for truth, but they don’t even know what they mean by truth. They are like Pontius Pilate who, standing before Jesus, nearly fell over The Truth asking, “what is truth?” That is man’s minus outlook.
But Jesus came, and outside Jerusalem, a vertical timber was raised which crossed through our minus sign. Jesus hung there on that upright, and He turned our minus into plus. The Romans thought the Cross was just an instrument of execution, but it was God’s plus sign for minus minded mankind.
Indeed, give the cross a second look, and it is even more than a plus---it is a multiplication sign.

The focus was not even on his humiliation but on his victory. They saw calvary as a truth-telling place and not a killing field.

1 comment:

eli said...

kanina ay napanuod ko yong matang lawin ni kuya kim kung saan ay ini-explain nila base sa science ang kamatayan at mga pasakit na natamo ni Jesus nung ipako siya sa krus. nung ipinakita yong process, narealize ko na sobrang hirap pala talaga ng ginawa niya. at tanging siya lang ang makakagawa nun dahil hindi ito kaya ng ordinaryong tao.

happy easter po.