Lifestyle

Love overcomes all else in 'The Passion of the Christ'

By SCOTT BATTISHILL

For the Mirror

Have you seen the greatest love story ever told yet?

Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” may or may not be the best depiction –– that’s for film critics to decide –– but the story in and of itself certainly is.

Easter is a celebration of love. It is a holiday that honors the single greatest act of love ever committed in mankind. Now, if you have seen “The Passion,” you may be thinking you didn’t see a lot of love in that movie.

For the sake of discussion, let’s strip away the violence –– no easy task in Gibson’s depiction –– and controversy surrounding the film and focus solely on the act of its main character, Jesus Christ.

Whether one is a person of faith or not, so many of us are familiar with the Bible verse John 3:16, and we hear it so often, that it may have lost its impact. It says in part, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son ... ” He loved the world so much that He offered, in our place, His son.

“The Passion of the Christ” focuses on the last 12 horrific hours of Jesus’ life on Earth. Much has been said about the violence of the movie, and debates have stirred about who is responsible for His death. No one person, no one group is responsible. The fact is we all are.

The Bible teaches that the penalty of sin is death –– spiritual death. In other words, separation from God. The Bible also teaches that we all sin. So rather than be separated from us, God offered His son to reconcile us to Him. He loves us that much.

As important as “The Passion’s” focus is, it is the last few seconds of the movie that provide hope. The movie shows an unblemished Jesus walking out of his tomb. It is through the resurrection of His son that God offers everlasting life to anyone willing to accept the free gift. John 3:16 goes on to say, “that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Easter is a celebration of God’s unequaled love for mankind. He offers it freely to anyone willing to accept his grace. Grace is defined as unmerited favor: You can’t earn or buy it; it is a free gift.

Do you know this kind of love? Are you experiencing the peace He promises for those who love and trust Him?

In the Bible, a man asks Jesus what are the most important commandments. Jesus answered, to love your Lord and God with all your heart and soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.

It all boils down to love. Some film critics focus solely on “The Passion’s” violence, and in so doing lose the meaning. “The Passion” is a love story.

Visit a local church this Easter, Federal Way has many. New Community Church, for instance, welcomes community members to simply come as they are. The church teaches practical, Bible-based messages and seeks to be a community of diversity, overcoming all barriers to the good news, ministering by demonstrating the love and power of Jesus Christ, and evangelizing the world, to the glory of God.

Scott Battishill is a member of New Community Church in Federal Way.

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