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A Different View of Mel Gibson's 

"The Passion of The Christ"

February 25, 2004

* Updated February 27, 2004

Updated February 29, 2004 

Due to Size, 

Available as 2 Articles:  gibson 1  ;  gibson


I do not normally do movie reviews. Simply put, I don't normally go to movies. I specifically do not normally attend secular movies about Biblical events. To me, these types of things are a non-issue. 

However, the last few months I have been asked to do an article about Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ", amidst ever increasing email concerning it and various reviews. In fact the emails have even come from practicing Jews, commenting on the position of the ADL [Anti-Defamation League], and their then analysis of that position. Fortunately, a few of my trusted friends, who are grounded in the Word, were willing to go with notebook in hand, and deal with the final details needed for this article. Quite frankly, I did not wish to attend, and fully appreciate their willingness to help in this way.

Those who wish to challenge my right to speak on this movie, saying I cannot, since I have not actually sat in a theater, have not bothered to show any inaccuracies in my movie quotes supplied by those friends who did attend, who are scripturally sound, and who took at least five pages of notes. Some attended more than once to clarify details, and  collectively saw the movie seven times at the time the details were presented to me. 

None have refuted any of the factual information or Scriptural analysis which proves this movie to be another gospel and present another Jesus. Some have taken this attitude towards these articles, despite all the media reports over the last year discussing the movie within the press. And that is beside the number of pastors, who call it Biblically and historically correct, who based their support of the movie on their seeing the 4 minute promotional trailer provided by Mel Gibson to major religious leaders, in order to obtain their endorsement of it, and the resulting grassroots embracement of the movie. 

Galatians 1:7-10

 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

I have watched the increasing fervor over a movie that, if of a different topic, many Christians would, I should think, never attend simply because it is rated "R", meaning Restricted, and children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian. The R rating is due to the graphic violence. Various comments describing it have included the terms: bloody, gory, horrific, horrendous, gruesome, sickening, like the exorcist, a snuff film without the pornography. Despite that children and youth are attending, some even in their church youth groups, many having declared the events as, "The Truth", and "the way it really was." 

The movie is filmed with the actors speaking in Aramaic and Latin, with limited English subtitles. 

Yet, despite the R rating, and lack of understandable dialogue, it is being hailed by some, such as the American Tract Society, as "One of the Greatest Opportunities for Evangelism in 2000 years!"... "Be Ready! People will react to this movie’s deep and moving experience with Jesus" 1  

I was reminded of this verse stated by the Apostle Paul: 

1 Corinthians 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. [KJV]

My first question, of course, is, what would constitute a deep moving experience with Jesus, who is portrayed by an actor? Jesus was without sin. There is no one who can portray Him, but He Himself. Those statements would infer it would be a Biblically accurate portrayal as to what is in the Word of God regarding who Christ is, with no changes, additions or deviations in the portrayed events or the actual Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. Because to add to or change the Word of God, is forbidden by God Himself. 

The movie received accolades from Christian organizations and leadership who had pre-viewed "The Passion of The Christ" because they stated it is "Scriptural" and/or historically "correct." Billy Graham, [Late] Bill Bright, Ted Haggard, James Dobson, Robert Schuller, Tim LaHaye, pastors and many, many more, including mainstream secular press, have simply endorsed this movie, or endorsed it as being Scripturally and/or historically correct.

In one of the many television reports on "The Passion", an NBC news reporter discussed the "targeted marketing campaign", and how there was a "Passion of The Christ" race car running on the NASCAR circuit. She then spoke about the NRB Convention [National Religious Broadcasters] in Charlotte, North Carolina, and how the film was being promoted there. 

"NRB's sixteen hundred members including radio, TV, and internet organizations reach as many as 140,000,000 Americans each month, a potentially powerful influence to sell tickets, and ultimately they hope, save souls. And the irony that Hollywood, long the object of scorn may help their cause, is not lost on their leaders". 

The reporter then showed a short clip from an interview with Dr. Frank Wright, President of the NRB, in which he stated, " It is a sense in which this film coming out of Hollywood is a great encouragement, because it's showing the Christian religion in a respectful, and more positive light than others have done."

Many channels such as PAX, and Sky Angel, the only Christian satellite system, ran specials about the making of "The Passion." As an aside, it is reported that while exhibiting at last years NRB, Michael Rood, who this author has written extensively about, made contact with Sky Angel, which is now broadcasting his anti Christian teachings on Sky Angel One and Two. Both Sky Angel and the NRB claim their mission is to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For more on this please see Michael Rood,  Sky Angel , Ron Wyatt & The National Religious Broadcasters

Unbelievably, entire churches and organizations have purchased tickets, some thousands at a time, for "Christians" to take an unsaved friend to watch "The Passion of The Christ" with, that they themselves have not even seen. That's either a step of faith in Mel Gibson and his spiritual beliefs, or an act of total foolishness with little or no understanding of Scriptural truth. 

Challenge to Scripture

Does Mel Gibson's portrayal of Jesus in his, "The Passion of The Christ", actually portray the events as presented to us in the Scriptures, and historically correct? Is the focus on the embellished torture and violence, proven to the Word of God? Mr. Gibson has explained quite thoroughly that he wanted to push it to the extreme, "over the edge" as he put it.

If it is proven to be less than accurate, or portraying a particular belief system, or contrary to Scripture or historical facts, would the same announcements that it is an evangelism tool be proclaimed? Would these same people be scrambling to go to a movie of "another gospel" and "another Jesus"? 

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

The disciples and others knew that Jesus was the Messiah, and God manifest in the flesh, by the miracles He did and the things He taught, and that is fully eliminated in the movie. Rather, the central theme is the torture and crucifixion, with about one minute at the end, on a view of a burial cloth deflating and then reveals "Christ" exiting the tomb, with a shot that implies he is fully naked. He appears for approximately 12-15 seconds total. Those minute seconds depicting the "resurrection" out of the total running time of 125 minutes. The credits observed more time.

The central theme of the four Gospels is salvation through Jesus Christ and how to live a life of love. Is God glorified or is man's attempt to reconstruct His bloody death glorified? 

The descriptions of the garden to the crucifixion in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are straightforward, without embellishment. Yes, the Biblical record of events show He was scourged, He was hit, spit on, slapped, hit with a reed, mocked, and so on. Those things were all proclaimed prophetically by Jesus in the Gospels, while He taught that He was the fulfillment of the Messiah prophecies, such as Psalm 22. Prophecy in Isaiah 50, reveals that His hair was plucked out, another issue eliminated from the movie. 

Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Other writers, like Paul refer only to Jesus death, as "Him crucified" and Peter quotes one verse from Isaiah 53.  

Is the intent of this movie the same gospel message that Jesus gave as He commissioned His disciples?  I think not.  It has been added to and changed, through imagination, particular beliefs, drama, historical inaccuracies and guesswork.  

Artistic License

According to the Passion website, Mr. Gibson desired a particular effect:

"....cinematographer Caleb Deshcanel (The Patriot, The Right Stuff) to make the movie look like the paintings of Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio, whose images are known to have a lifelike glow from sharp contrasts of light and darkness.

"I think his work is beautiful," Gibson said of Caravaggio. "It's violent, it's dark, it's spiritual and it also has an off whimsy of strangeness to it."

Forty percent of the film was shot at night or indoors under wraps in order to get an effect of light fighting it's way out of the darkness."  2

That desired dramatic and visual effect is also why the wardrobe was mainly in browns, black and beige. The mood had to be set to impress the graphic violence that would be well remembered. Caravaggio's art may be violent, dark and strange, but the Word of God is not dark and strange to a born again believer. The word of God is "quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword", which is far different than this dark, spiritually unedifying movie that cannot achieve His standard of measurement, which is His Word.

At one point during Mr. Gibson's interview on 20/20, the scene of Jesus bearing his cross comes across the screen.  In slow motion Jesus falls to the ground, the cross falling on top of him. Mr. Gibson quickly pointed out that the scene was choreographed so that it would have the essence of a ballet move. And for this,  Jesus' suffering is reduced to an art form.  

In fact, while not officially cast in the movie, Mr. Gibson enters into the movie in three important parts, with only one actually pertaining to Scripture. In a flash back in the movie, Mary Magdalene is presented as the adulterous woman brought to Jesus by the Pharisees, when in fact, Christ delivered her of seven demons, and she was a devout follower of Him. [Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2] There is no Scripture to support she was not chaste. And that event in the movie is a clear deviation from Scriptural Truth. 

It is Gibson's foot, representing Jesus, which is the one that Mary Magdalene takes hold of in the movie. It is Gibson's hand as the hand of Jesus writing in the dirt... And it is Mel Gibson's hand that nails Jesus' hand to the cross. Mel Gibson may end up being the highest paid "actor" without even speaking a line, appearing only as a hand and a foot, and has the possibility of making more money from this film, than any other he actually "starred" in.

Right from the start, the dialogue of this Jesus is contrary to anything found in Scripture. We are first shown a glimpse of a fearful Jesus praying "Hear me Father...rise up and defend me from the traps they have set". The movie also portrays Jesus being tempted by satan in the Garden, as "she" asks him, "Who is your Father?" and "Who are You?" Then a snake comes out of "her" robe and slithers over to Christ, and he stomps on it's head. 

Satan is presented as a woman, yet in Scripture, always referred to as 'he'. How can the FATHER of lies be a woman? [John 8:44, 16:11] The demons that chase Judas are represented as little boys in the movie.

The movie portrays Jesus being tempted by satan in the Garden, but, the Bible says He was ministered to by an angel [Luke 22:43] and strengthened, and that information is not even entertained in this movie. The word in the verse is "strengthening", which actually means in the Greek, "to invigorate (transitively or reflexively)...strengthen."

Portrayed Fear

A clear deviation of the Scriptures is also in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is depicted as being terrified or afraid. The apostles say to each other "What is wrong with Him'? "He seems afraid"?

From PAX - The Making of the Passion of the Christ - broadcast on 2/22/04 at 9:00 eastern time. 

In the garden with satan:

satan: No man can carry this burden, I tell you.  It is far too heavy. Saving their souls is far too

Jesus:  Father, You can do all things. If it is possible let this chalice pass from Me...But let Your will be done, not Mine. Hear My Father... Rise up, defend me from the traps they set for Me.

satan: Do you really believe that one man can bear the full burden of sin?

Two of the disciples stand by Jesus as He is saying:

Jesus: Shelter, O Lord... I trust in You...In You I take refuge

The concept of Jesus being filled by fear allows for the possible misconception by some viewers, that the 'spirit of fear' was brought on by satan. It also changes the concept of who was in charge of what was taking place. It suggests that the Father made Jesus go through the events, instead of Christ choosing to be the sacrifice...when Jesus rebuked Peter, he declared to Peter, who personified the imaginary movie dialogue above, to get behind Him as he was a stumbling block. 

Matthew 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. [also Mark 8:33, Luke 4]

While in the garden, Jesus said He was heavily burdened with sorrow and deep grief, not fear. He, who was without sin, was going to deal with the sin of all mankind. 

Matthew 26: 37....and began <archomai> to be sorrowful <lupeo> and <kai> very heavy <ademoneo>.38 Then saith he unto them , My soul is exceeding sorrowful <perilupos>, even unto death <thanatos>.... [KJV]

From Strong's Concordance: exceeding sorrowful <perilupos>

4036. perilupov perilupos, per-il'-oo-pos 
from 4012 and 3077; grieved all around, i.e. intensely sad:--exceeding (very) sorry(-owful). 

3077. luph lupe, loo'-pay     apparently a primary word; sadness:--grief, grievous, + grudgingly, heaviness, sorrow.

very heavy <ademoneo>  

85. adhmonew ademoneo, ad-ay-mon-eh'-o 
from a derivative of adeo (to be sated to loathing); to be in distress (of mind):--be full of heaviness, be very heavy.

sorrowful <lupeo>

3076. lupew lupeo, loo-peh'-o 
from 3077; to distress; reflexively or passively, to be sad:--cause grief, grieve, be in heaviness, (be) sorrow(-ful), be (make) sorry. 

Jesus taught to never fear those who could kill the body. God is without hypocrisy. When we fear, we are not made perfect in love, because fear is sin. This movie “Jesus” was made sinful and is therefore not the perfect sacrifice. That violates Scripture and presents another Jesus. The movie Jesus is made to lose all presence of the Divinity of Christ and His purpose and becomes a weak, fearful man who must draw on the strength of his mother, which makes Mary the sinless one in the movie. The Jesus of the Bible was God come in the flesh, the perfect sacrifice, who was physically invigorated in the Garden by an angel. He willingly fulfilled His purpose, and needed no human help to go to the cross. That weakness and fear comes from the writings of the mystics such as Anne Emmerich's The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus taught to never fear those who could kill the body. God is without hypocrisy.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. [KJV]

Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. [KJV]

Adding to Scripture

Another point is that while in Gethsemane, Jesus did not resist being taken by the crowd in the Scriptures, and was simply bound and taken. [Matthew 26:45-56; Mark 14:41-50; Luke 22:47-54; John 18:3-12] However, right there, at the beginning of this movie, we see another gospel being presented, as he was beaten in the garden, which resulted in the actor's right eye presented as blackened and swollen shut throughout the rest of the movie. According to the Scriptures, this did not happen. 

There is a major scuffle in the movie, that also did not happen. Scripturally, Jesus stopped the resistance incident immediately, when one sword was drawn. Jesus plainly stated, when confronted in the garden, that He could have stopped all events if He so chose:

Matthew 26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [KJV]

Again in the movie, Claudia, Pilate's wife brings expensive looking towels to Mary the mother, and she and Mary Magdalene wipe up the blood, during the scourging scene in the courtyard. They, nor the disciples were immediately present during the scourging, or the events that took place from the time of leaving the garden, until Christ was crucified. One disciple is said to have been briefly in Caiaphas's palace, with Peter with the servants or outside. [John 18:13-18, Matthew 26:57,58, Mark 14:54]

The horrific depiction of the scourging scene, had the soldiers flog his back, and then loosened one arm, flipped him over on his back, and flogged his front. One described the noise during this scene to include intense sounds of bone crunching, blood squishing and skin being ripped apart, bits of it flying through the air. Before the scourging, he is beaten on his back with sticks first, like a caning.  Scripturally correct? 

The Scriptures do not tell us how many stripes Jesus received but according to Deuteronomy, Jewish law [halacha] dictated a maximum of forty lashes, but they typically stopped at thirty nine so as to not go over. [Deut. 25:2,3; comp. 2 Cor. 11:24] Although we can not be certain of the number of stripes, Roman history tells us that prisoners were scourged on the back side of the body before crucifixion. In the scourging of our Lord (Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:15) the words of prophecy (Isa. 53:5) were fulfilled. 

In the movie, he is left hanging on the cross without one square inch of un-flogged skin, while the two thieves hanging beside Him have little blood on them at all. Since scourging was a pre-requisite to the crucifixion of all under Roman law, this raises the question as to how the criminals on His sides could tolerate the punishment with such ease, while God manifest in the flesh appeared as weak. In the movie, the Roman guard dislocated 'Jesus' right arm in order to nail it to the cross by tying a rope onto it and yanking on it repeatedly and vigorously. This extra biblical information was inspired from the mystical writings of Catherine Emmerich, which states the rope was tied to the left hand, the right already nailed, Mary of Agreda, claims a chain was used and his joints dislocated in order to finish crucifying Him, and St Bridget, that his joints were dislocated.

The Prayers of St Bridget

Mr. Gibson told the National Catholic Register, March 16-22, 2003, in an article titled, Three Nails, a Camera and a Cross: On the Set of Mel Gibson's The Passion, by Raymond Cleaveland, Register Correspondent, "When I was 35, I started praying the Prayers of St. Bridget and they really helped me understand what the passion was all about..."12 

The Prayers of St. Bridget, which Gibson presumably has continued to pray since he was 35, and the Anne Catherine Emmerich writings, are two of the main sources for this information in the movie. Catholics who follow St. Bridget's fifteen prayers, are expected to pray them daily, with a total of 5480 prayers in the year, to honor the visions of Bridget concerning the Passion, and to equal the number of wounds He received. She wrote that Jesus had received that large number of wounds during His trial, scourging, and crucifixion, and that she was given this information directly by Jesus. These visions and prayers may account for the fact that in the movie, there is not even one small portion on the actors body that has not been traumatized as he is hanging on the cross.  In St. Bridget's third prayer, believed by many Catholics to have been given directly from Christ in a vision, she stated:

"...remember the very bitter pain Thou didst suffer when the Jews nailed Thy Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and not finding Thee in a pitiable enough state to satisfy their rage, they enlarged Thy Wounds, and added pain to pain, and with indescribable cruelty stretched Thy Body on the Cross, pulled Thee from all sides, thus dislocating Thy Limbs."

It should be noted that while the majority of versions are as above, which is as it was written originally, this writer did find a few renditions of the third prayer that have been changed to say executioners instead of Jews.

Further excerpts of the fifteen prayers which are represented visually in the movie include:

Prayer Two "...thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of-cruelties, tormented..."

Prayer Four "...remember the bruises which Thou didst suffer and the weakness of all Thy Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Thine. From the crown of Thy Head to the Soles of Thy Feet there was not one spot of Thy Body that was not in torment..."

Sixth Prayer "...Thou was fastened and raised on the Cross, when all Thy relatives and friends abandoned Thee, except Thy Beloved Mother, who remained close to Thee during Thy agony..."

Ninth Prayer "...recall the pain Thou didst endure when, plunged in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by the Jews..."

Tenth Prayer "...plunged in an abyss of suffering from the soles of Thy Feet to the crown of Thy Head. In consideration of the enormity of Thy Wounds..."

Twelfth Prayer"...Mirror of Truth, symbol of unity, link of Charity, remember the multitude of wounds with which Thou was covered from head to foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Thy adorable Blood. O Great and Universal Pain..."

Fifteenth Prayer "...Remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which though didst so generously shed from Thy Sacred Body as juice from grapes in a wine press....blood and water issued forth until there was not left in Thy Body a single drop, and finally, like a bundle of myrrh lifted to the top of the Cross Thy delicate Flesh was destroyed, the very Substance of Thy Body withered, and the Marrow of Thy Bones dried up..."

One report on, February 23, 2004, stated: "The mystical visions of Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) are the basis of some of the more stunning, non-biblical scenes in Gibson's movie - from Jesus' confrontation with Satan in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the explicit details of his scourging by Roman guards, to a crucifixion scene in which his arm is pulled out of its socket, according to a reading of her work." 2b 

In the movie, before they stand up the cross with him nailed to it, they flip it over so he is hanging face down towards the ground. The sponge that they gave him vinegar with, was put up to him on a spear, instead of a reed. After Jesus dies in the movie, the Roman soldier attempts to break His legs with what appears to be a sledge hammer, but when the earth starts to shake violently, he becomes frightened and stops.

For a medical view of the physical death by crucifixion:

This document, which is written from a secular perspective, sources historical accounts of the day, as well as using today's medical understanding to draw their conclusions. It originally appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. JAMA is one of the most respected, peer reviewed journals in the world.

When Jesus dies in the crucifixion scene, Scripturally the veil of the temple is torn from the top down. In the movie, there does not appear to be a veil, and rather, the holy of holies is split in two and the temple is burning with some fires inside. 

Matthew 27: 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; [KJV]

Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. [KJV]

Luke 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. [KJV]

What is clearly missing is the darkness that enveloped the land for three hours, while Christ hung on the cross. That eliminated a prophecy, as well as the Gospel accounts of that event. [Amos 8:9; Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44] In the movie, what appears to be a storm rolls in, the camera pans to an aerial view as if God is looking down from Heaven. A large teardrop comes down and splashes on the earth, and there is absolutely no Scripture to support that whatsoever.

The brief resurrection scene, is a view of a burial cloth deflating and then reveals "Christ" exiting the tomb, appearing to be naked. Scripture tells us there were plural burial clothes, [John 19:40, 20:5-7; Luke 24:12] as was the custom of the Jews, but the implication brings one to consider the shroud of Turin. Jesus' actual clothes were divided between the soldiers at the cross. When Jesus appears to Mary, and many others, He is clothed, and in point of fact, at first Mary thought He was the gardener. He was not naked, and nothing in Scripture states He was.

Beliefs & Sources for the Movie

Mel Gibson is a Traditionalist Catholic, who is part of a group of congregations numbering approximately 600, who reject the ecumenical movement and changes to Catholicism with the Vatican II Council, believing it to be apostate. In those Traditional beliefs, is the observance of the Latin Tridentine Mass, requirement for women to cover their heads in church, laypeople forbidden to serve the Eucharist, and not eating meat on Fridays, and so on. 

Holy Family Chapel, is built and funded under the umbrella of a foundation set up by Gibson and operated out of Icon Productions, on land in the Agoura Hills, with space allowing for congregational growth. Traditionalists interviewed by various media are pleased that Mel Gibson is able to present their Traditional Catholic views in his movie. Most Catholics will likely recognize the Catholic doctrine and symbolism throughout the movie.

The script was adapted by Gibson, in collaboration with Benedict Fitzgerald, from a composite assembled from the four Biblical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Fitzgerald is also Catholic. The producer, Steve McEveety, and many more of the cast and crew are also Catholic, some reclaiming their faith while working on the movie.

While claiming to stay true to the Scriptural account and historic facts, Mel Gibson also sourced his information from Mary of Agreda's book (1602 -1665), Mystical City of God, and the visions of Anna Catherina Emmerich. Emmerich, was a nineteenth-century Augustinian nun, referred to by some Catholic sources as a "mystic", who developed the stigmata. Her visions were published in the book, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Mr. Gibson, who carries one of her relics, is on record as stating that Emmerich’s images are amazing. “She supplied me with stuff I never would have thought of." 3 

According to Catholic writer Michael H. Brown, Emmerich's biographer, Father Schmogen stated, "She never entered the church without her angel-guardian". According to the canon of the Cathedral of Loybech: “After Holy Scripture, there is no book that contains so many words of eternal truth and life than the revelations of A. C. Emmerich.” "She claimed apparitions of John the Baptist and the Blessed Mother." She is also noted to have levitated and so on. 4 

Jim Caviezel, the actor that played this Jesus, and who looks to Mary for guidance, stated in one interview, that friends, "...gave me a piece of the true cross. I kept this on me all the time. They made a special pocket in my clothes for it. I also had relics of Padre Pio, St. Anthony of Padoua, Ste Maria Goretti, and saint Denisius, the Patron saint of Actor....This film is something that I believe was made by Mary for her Son..." 5  

According to an article in Spirit Daily, "The actor says he was brought back to his faith in large part through attendance of an apparition with seer Ivan Dragicevic of Medjugorje -- the famous site in Bosnia-Hercegovina. "We talked, and later when we were praying the Rosary Ivan said Mary came in the room and I felt something wonderful happening to me," Caviezel says. "When the apparition was over, I got up and told Ivan I wanted [Mary and Jesus] in my heart." 5b 

Stations of the Cross

While not wishing to focus on Catholic issues and beliefs, it becomes apparent that those beliefs have in fact dictated at least some of the presentation of this movie and should be discussed in relation to historical fact and Scripture.

Various scenes in the movie do actually reveal the Catholic doctrine Mr. Gibson is dedicated to, such as the Stations of the Cross. Each station is considered a sacred reminder, and each fall of Christ, as he is presented as staggering and falling under the weight of the cross, and particular scenes in the movie on the way to Golgotha, for example, is part of that tradition. 

Historically, villages all over Europe created "replicas" of the "Stations of the cross", with small shrines commemorating the places along the route in Jerusalem. These shrines became the set of fourteen stations and have been situated in almost every Catholic Church in the world. 

In the movie, Simon takes the cross from Jesus after he has carried it for about ten minutes and has fallen several times under its weight. Simon is selected, and grabbed from the crowd by the Roman guards, to "help" him carry it. Simon initially resists, and says to the guard that Jesus is a guilty man and that he, Simon, is innocent. At one point while Jesus is being beaten by the soldiers, Simon shouts at the guards to, "Stop it! Stop it! Leave Him alone", and yelling, "If you do not stop I will not carry that cross one more step"... implying he had a choice in the matter. As they are nearing the top of the hill, Simon encourages him to go on, saying, "we're nearly there".

Jesus, in the movie, is initially made to carry the whole cross, while the two thieves, who are given names, carry just the cross arms. The thieves are crucified on a tau cross, and Jesus is on a crucifix.

In fact, in the Scriptures we see that Jesus NEVER carried the cross He was crucified on....In Matthew, Mark and Luke, it is recorded that the Roman soldiers, when leaving the hall with Jesus to go to crucify Him, after He had been scourged, mocked, hit, spit upon and blasphemed, the soldiers immediately compelled Simon, a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear or carry the cross for Jesus. He in fact, followed behind Jesus, carrying the cross, which the soldiers placed on him. Normally only two witnesses are required to prove an event, and in the Gospel writers, we have three. 

From Matthew: 27:27-32 

Matthew 27: 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers...31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
** 32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

*** 32 .... him <touton> they compelled <aggareuo> to <hina> bear <airo> his <autos> cross <stauros>.

From Strong's Concordance: bear <airo>

142. airw airo, ah'-ee-ro a primary root; to lift up; by implication, to take up or away; figuratively, to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind), specially, to sail away (i.e. weigh anchor); by Hebraism (compare 5375) to expiate sin:--away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up). 

In Mark :

Mark 15:16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band...20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. 21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. [KJV]

**21.... to bear <airo> his <autos> cross <stauros>.

Same as Matthew > bear > airo

In Luke: 

Luke 23:26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [KJV]

***26  .... and on <epitithemi> him <autos> they laid <epitithemi> the cross <stauros>, that he might bear <phero> it after <opisthen> Jesus <Iesous>.

From Strong's Concordance: that he might bear <phero>

5342. ferw phero, fer'-o  a primary verb -- for which other, and apparently not cognate ones are used in certain tenses only; namely, 

oio oy'-o; and enegko en-eng'-ko 

to "bear" or carry (in a very wide application, literally and figuratively, as follows):--be, bear, bring (forth), carry, come, + let her drive, be driven, endure, go on, lay, lead, move, reach, rushing, uphold.

From Strong's Concordance: it after <opisthen>

3693. opisten opisthen, op'-is-then     from opis (regard; from 3700) with enclitic of source; from the rear (as a secure aspect), i.e. at the back (adverb and preposition of place or time):--after, backside, behind. 

John 19 presents a version of this event which many declare to be a contradiction. It is not. 

John 19:16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

****17 And he bearing <bastazo> his <autos> cross <stauros> went forth <exerchomai>

From Strong's Concordance: And he bearing <bastazo>

941. bastazw bastazo, bas-tad'-zo > perhaps remotely derived from the base of 939 (through the idea of removal); to lift, literally or figuratively (endure, declare, sustain, receive, etc.):--bear, carry, take up. 

939. basiv basis, bas'-ece from baino (to walk); a pace ("base"), i.e. (by implication) the foot:--foot.

From Strong's Concordance: went forth <exerchomai>

1831. exercomai exerchomai, ex-er'-khom-ahee  from 1537 and 2064; to issue (literally or figuratively):--come (forth, out), depart (out of), escape, get out, go (abroad, away, forth, out, thence), proceed (forth), spread abroad

If we compare the use of 'bastazo' with other verses, the concept can and is applied to the spiritual act of bearing a cross or burden. The word bastazo can be used in a literal sense, for example, to carry a jug, but because there are three witnesses, i.e. the written testimony of the writers of the other three Gospels, those witnesses should suffice, that Simon was compelled to carry the physical cross for Jesus, from the time He left the Hall. Normally only two witnesses are required to prove an event.

Examples : Matthew 3:11 [John the Baptist speaking of Christ] "...whose shoes I am not worthy to bear <bastazo>..." [KJV]

Matthew 8:17 That it might be fulfilled  which was spoken by Esaias the prophet , saying , Himself <autos> took <lambano> our  infirmities <astheneia>, and bare <bastazo> our sicknesses <nosos>. [KJV]

Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth <bastazo> not <ou> bear <bastazo> his <autos> cross <stauros>, and come <erchomai> after me , cannot be my disciple. [KJV]

Acts 9:15 [Referring to Paul]  But the Lord <kurios> said  unto him , Go thy way : for he is  a chosen  vessel  unto me , to bear <bastazo> my  name <onoma> before the Gentiles <ethnos>, and kings , and the children  of Israel : [KJV]

Incidentally there are many that claim that Jesus was not nailed to the cross and many claim that there is no evidence that He was nailed through His hands and also His feet, some suggesting He was tied. However, if you believe the Word of God to be true, it is a proven issue.

Luke 24:34-49 *39,40; 

36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40 And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.

 John 20:24-29, *27

25  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

The Stations of the Cross, summed up are as follows, with this writers note added between each listed Station, and which most are relevant to the depiction of the events in Mr. Gibson's movie. 

First: Jesus is condemned to die; Second: Jesus forced to carry the physical cross [goes against Gospel records]; Third: Jesus Falls the First Time, due to the weight of the cross [no Scripture to support] ; Fourth:  Jesus Meets His Mother, and draws strength from her [no Scripture to support]; Fifth:  Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross [Scripture shows Simon carried the cross the entire way] ; Sixth: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus [no Scripture to support>she wiped the face of Jesus, according to this belief, an imprint of the face of Christ stayed on the cloth] ; Seventh:  Jesus Falls the Second Time. [no Scripture to support]; Eighth:  Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem [Luke 23:27-31, they are following behind Him and He turns around and tells them not to weep for Him, but for themselves];  Ninth:  Jesus Falls the Third Time [no Scripture to support]; Tenth: Jesus is Stripped. [Matt 27:35, Luke 23:24, John 19:23];  Eleventh: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross [Luke 24:34-49 *39,40; John 19:23-29,*27] ; Twelfth:  Jesus Dies On The Cross; Thirteenth:  Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross, and "lays in his mothers arms" [contrary to Luke 23:47-56, John 19:38-42] ; Fourteenth: Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb.

In the movie, Mary runs to Jesus' side as he is carrying his cross and he says to her; " See mother, I make all things new". There is no Scripture to support that. In the movie depicting the Sixth "Veronica" station, Veronica says to him, "permit me Lord" and uses her head covering and presses it into his beaten and bloody face, and the imprint of his face is left on the fabric.

In the movie, depicting Station Thirteen, Mary holds Jesus in her arms after he is taken down from the cross, which is contrary to Luke 23:47-56, and  John 19:38-42. And in the movie, the women get his body instead of Joseph and Nicodemus, as shown in several Scriptures. Matthew 27:57-60, Luke 23:47-56, John 19:38-42

Another example of deviation from Scriptural or historic facts is referenced in the official website Synopsis section:

"...On Golgotha, Jesus is nailed to the cross and undergoes his last temptation--the fear that he has been abandoned by his Father. He overcomes his fear, looks at Mary, his Holy Mother, and makes the pronouncement which only she can fully understand, 'it is accomplished' then dies "into thy hands I commend my Spirit." 6

When Jesus looked at Mary from the cross, it was to declare to her and  John, that she was now his mother.  John 19:23-30. There is no conversational interaction between them. But, in the movie, while he is hanging on the cross, Mary says to Jesus, "Flesh of my flesh, Heart of my heart, My son, let me die with you" She kisses his feet and then stands there looking up at him with blood on her lips and face. Luke 23:43-55

What is referenced as His last temptation above, is when He cried out, My God, My God...[Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34] Jesus was not afraid.  He was quoting from Psalms 22:1...not because He was fearful, but so all prophecy about Himself was fulfilled, in these events. He never said "it is accomplished," while on the cross. He said "It is Finished." 

Aramaic, Greek & Latin

On Mr. Gibson's official Passion website, under the ARAMAIC – AN ANCIENT LANGUAGE COMES ALIVE, he decided that Aramaic was the common language used at the time of Christ, and also Latin, and although Greek was mentioned in the Synopsis section, it was determined Greek did not play an important part, both historically and Biblically. 

"...This means Aramaic for the Jewish characters, including Christ and his disciples, and "street Latin" for the Romans. Greek, which was commonly spoken among the intellectuals of the period, was not quite as relevant to the story." 7

Instead it was determined that Aramaic was the language most used by all, and defying historical fact, declared the language of commerce at that time. Again from the official site:

"One of Mel Gibson's earliest decisions as director of The Passion of The Christ was to have the Jesus of his film speak the same language that the historical Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago. That language is Aramaic, an ancient Semitic tongue closely related to Hebrew that today is considered by some linguists to be a dead language, still used in dialects by only a small number of people in remote parts of the Middle East." 

... Aramaic was ... the language of education and trade spoken the world over... By the 8th Century, B.C. the Aramaic tongue was widely in use from Egypt to Asia Major to Pakistan and was the main language of the great empires of Assyria, Babylon, and later the Chaldean Empire and the Imperial government of Mesopotamia. The language also spread to Palestine, supplanting Hebrew as the main tongue some time between 721 and 500 B.C. Much of Jewish law was formed, debated and transmitted in Aramaic, and it was the language that formed the basis of the Talmud.

Jesus would have spoken and written what is now known as Western Aramaic, which was the dialect of the Jews during his lifetime. After his death, early Christians wrote portions of scripture in Aramaic, spreading the stories of Jesus’ life and messages in that language across many lands.

As the historical language of expressing religious ideas, Aramaic is a common thread that ties together both Judaism and Christianity..."

The information from the official site section which stated that Gibson decided "to have the Jesus of his film speak the same language that the historical Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago", also went on to say:

"Gibson sought the help of Father William Fulco, Chair of Mediterranean Studies at Loyal Marymount University and one the worlds foremost experts on the Aramaic language and classical Semitic cultures. Fulco translated the script for The Passion of The Christ entirely into First Century Aramaic for the Jewish characters and street Latin for the Roman characters, drawing on his extensive linguistic and cultural knowledge."

William Fulco, who did all of the translation for both the Aramaic, and the Latin for the film, in an interview had a different explanation:

However, the Aramaic spoken today, called the Eastern group of dialects, is different from the Aramaic spoken by Jesus Christ, dubbed the Western group, a branch that is considered extinct. 

That made it difficult for Fulco to translate the Passion script, as no one really knows how Jesus spoke.

"We don't know much about ancient Aramaic," says Fulco, who stitched together a language from a variety of sources, including the Old Testament of Daniel, fourth-century Syriac and Hebrew.

"Almost every town had a different dialect. I created a possible reconstruction and had to coach all the actors." 8b 

So it appears that a composite language was comprised of Biblical Aramaic, [from before the time of Jesus], Syriac or eastern [late] Aramaic which would have been from after the time of Christ. This, along with some added Hebrew words such as Adonai, was the actual language that was "stitched together" and spoken by the actors in the movie.

Some other scholars, including Rabbi Steven Geller from Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, commented on the fact that there was no Greek spoken in the movie. In an article that appeared in the New York Times it was stated:

Gibson's use of Latin, by the way, is deemed a blunder by experts. He'd have done better with Greek, which was widely spoken in Jesus' day. "No one in the Mideast spoke Latin," Geller said. In other words, don't expect every scholar to walk away from "Passion" saying, "Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere" - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." 8c

Jesuit priest William Fulco, Chair of Mediterranean Studies at Loyola Marymount University, who translated and put together the languages used in the script for the movie, also deviated from the statement on the Official Passion website, which states:

"All the characters in the film are heard speaking the languages they would actually have spoken at the time. This means Aramaic for the Jewish characters, including Christ and his disciples, and "street Latin" for the Romans."

He chose in some spots, to switch the languages of the Jews and the Romans, Jesus and Pilate, and used x-rated Latin, all in sharp contrast to what was said on the Official Passion website, Synopsis and Background/ Languages information.

From the Chicago Tribune article "The Jesuit scholar who translated `The Passion'" by Nathan Bierma, March 4, 2004:

"....Fulco left Greek out of "The Passion," ... He also made mostly imperceptible distinctions between the elegant Latin of Pilate and the crude Latin of soldiers, thanks to an X-rated source he found on his shelf.

"I tracked down some obscene graffiti from Roman army camps," ... "Somebody who knows Latin really well, their ears will fall off. We didn't subtitle those words."

...I put in playful things which nobody will know. There's one scene where Caiaphas turns to his cohorts and says something in Aramaic. The subtitle says, `You take care of it.' He's actually saying, `Take care of my laundry.'...he incorporated deliberate dialogue errors in the scenes where the Roman soldiers, speaking Aramaic, are shouting to Jewish crowds, who respond in Latin..."there's an exchange where Pilate addresses Jesus in Aramaic, and Jesus answers in Latin. It's kind of a nifty little symbolic thing: Jesus is going to beat him at his own game," Fulco said. "One line [in that exchange] I kind of enjoyed is when Jesus says, `My power is given from above, otherwise my followers would not have allowed this.'...",0,3912206.story?coll=mmx-movies_heds

What was actually said by Jesus, was not that My power was given from above, but that MY Kingdom was not of this world. That difference changes perception of the Divinity of Christ:

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

The proof that Jewish people spoke more than the Hebrew or Aramaic language even in Jerusalem at the time of Christ is found in Acts 2, at the time of Pentecost:

v.5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. v6"...because that every man heard them speak in his own language." [KJV]

The list of places or people groups for the languages included in the subsequent verses: Galilaeans, Parthians , Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamia, Judaea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya about Cyrene and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians..

Perhaps, the most important verses that show the variety of languages being spoken of and read by the people of the time, is found in Luke 23:38, when Christ was crucified. 

And it is in these verses we notice to be directly violated and changed in Mr. Gibson's The Passion of The Christ, both in historical fact, but also Biblical truth. On the sign written by Pilate in the movie, only two languages are used. There are two lines of Latin and one line of Aramaic on the sign, which creates an illusion of three languages. Luke 23:38

"And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." [KJV]

38 ... letters of Greek <Hellenikos>, and Latin <Rhomaikos>, and  Hebrew <Hebraikos>, THIS IS  THE KING  OF THE JEWS.

Matthew 27:37 records it: 

And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [KJV]

And most noteworthy is the record of the event in John 19:19 -22:

19And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

That means it was written in Greek, the language of commerce, Latin, the legal language of the Roman empire and it was written in Hebrew, which was the language of the Temple. "JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS."

Hebrew: Yeshua haNazarei v Melech haYehudim
Greek: Iesous Nazoraios Basileus Ioudaios
Latin: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum

Is it possible that a Traditional Catholic versus a pro-Vatican II Catholic would not be aware of this 'three language' issue? To answer that, a look at the Biblia Sacra Vulgata (VULGATE) or Latin Vulgate revealed this information:


19 scripsit autem et titulum Pilatus et posuit super crucem erat autem scriptum Iesus Nazarenus rex Iudaeorum
20: hunc ergo titulum multi legerunt Iudaeorum quia prope civitatem erat locus ubi crucifixus est Iesus et erat scriptum
hebraice graece et latine

**Hebraice > in Hebrew, in the Hebrew language;  Graece >Greek;  Latine > in Latin

Which translated, states that the message written by Pilate was written in three languages, not two languages, as depicted in the movie, "The Passion of The Christ".

A Hebrew-language page on the film's fan site has entitled the movie Hayisurim, which literally means,  The Torments. The two line description states, in Hebrew: "'The Torments' is a vivid depiction of the last 12 hours of Jesus' life."

Instead of the Hebrew name "Yeshua" ("Salvation") for Jesus, which is used throughout the movie, the site uses the word "Yeshu" - used by some some who deny Jesus, as an acronym for "Yimach sh'mo v'zikhrono", which translated means "May His name and memory be blotted out." It is the last word in the last line of the Hebrew, which is written Yod-Shin-Vav, which transliterates from the Hebrew as "Yeshu".


On the Hebrew site showing the cast members, James Caviezel is listed as playing Yeshu. The Latin site information is correct and so is the Greek.

The possible reason for the aversion to the Greek language being used in the film, may be due to what some refer to as a "schism". When the removal of the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople occurred around 330 C.E., a power struggle began between the Bishops of  Constantinople and Rome. Eventually the Christian church at that time was divided by the "split" which ended up with the Roman Catholic Church in the west and Orthodox Churches [Greek and Russian] in the east.

Historically we are told that after the conquest of Alexander the Great, the Greek language was spoken throughout the ancient world from about 330 B.C. to 330 C.E. Koine, or common Greek, was spoken in Rome, Athens, Alexandria and Jerusalem. When the Romans conquered the Greeks in 146 B.C. they assumed much of the Greek customs and language themselves. The apostle Paul, writing his letter to the saints in Rome, which was the capital city of the empire, wrote it in Greek, not Latin. 

The Jews of the first century spoke Aramaic as a common language among themselves. Aramaic is in some ways similar to Hebrew. In commerce they used the common Koine Greek that many of the peoples in the area used for hundreds of years. They probably spoke at least two or three languages as many people in Israel still do today. The Roman rulers and their military personnel, who occupied Jerusalem at that time, spoke predominantly Greek and Latin. 

Below are some excerpts from a Catholic site that references the Catholic Encyclopedia as the source: 

"Many facts point to the diffusion of the Greek language and culture throughout Judea and Galilee, as early as the first century B.C.; we may suppose that the Apostles, at least most of them, read and spoke Greek as well as Aramaic, from their childhood..." 9 

"It is also asserted that Palestine at the time of Jesus Christ was practically bilingual, so that Christ must have spoken Aramaic and Greek; the indications that He was acquainted with Hebrew and Latin are rather slight." 10 

Note: This writer personally feels that there is a good possibility that Jesus spoke Hebrew also, because of what is written in Luke 4:17-19, referring to Him reading from the Isaiah Scroll in the Temple.

We also find this information from their Q&A page:

"We do not know whether Pilate used a translator in his conversations with Christ. As a Roman governor, Pilate would have known Latin (his native language) and Greek (the international language). He might also have known some Aramaic, since he was governor of an Aramaic-speaking territory. Even if he did not know Aramaic, many Jews would have no problem conversing with him; Greek was the language of commerce, and many Jews knew it from their business dealings. Thus Jesus' conversations with Pilate might have been conducted in Greek." 11

If we look at historical documents we will find that many of the writers of the day, both Jewish and Roman, and also after the time of Christ, wrote in the Greek language. For example.

Flavius Josephus [C.E.37- C.E.100]: Josephus was a Jewish chronicler whose historical writings are viewed as some of the most valuable historical resources for information on Jewish history and early Christianity. Josephus resided in Rome as a guest of the government, where he wrote historical works in the Greek language, although it is believed that his native language was Aramaic.

Cassius Dio was a historian from Bithynia, and his writings were in Greek, although few of them have survived. He was born around C.E. 163, and was a Roman consul in C.E.205 and also in 229. 

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most valuable discoveries of our day. They have given us a look into the writings of the time before, during, and after Christ. There are literally thousands of scroll fragments. The number of different writings represented is quite large, and they are written in three different languages: Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek. There were none written in Latin. It is also important to note, that the Gospels in the New Testament portion of the Latin Bible is translated from the Koine Greek manuscripts. 

Salvation & Evangelism

According to Mel Gibson, there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. In the traditionalist doctrine, only the Catholic Church is authorized and equipped to interpret the true meaning of the Biblical word of God, and that word of God is to be interpreted vi verborum, according to the words, that is, literally.  Traditionalist Catholics believe only Catholics go to heaven.

On being asked by Peter Boyer, interviewing Gibson for a New Yorker article, whether being a Protestant disqualified him [Boyer] from salvation, Mr. Gibson responded simply: “there is no salvation outside the Church.” He then went on to talk about his non-Catholic wife. “My wife is a saint. She’s a much better person than I am. She’s Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it’s just not fair if she doesn’t make it, she’s better than I am. But that [outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation] is a pronouncement from the Chair. I go with it." 13

However on the ABCNEWS' Primetime, on Monday, February 16, 2004 with Diane Sawyer, he said all people will eventually get to heaven:

DIANE SAWYER (ABC NEWS) -- "... when we talked with Gibson and his actors, we wondered, does his traditionalist view bar the door to Heaven for Jews, Protestants, Muslims?

MEL GIBSON -- "That's not the case at all. Absolutely not. It is possible for people who are not even Christian to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. It's just easier for -and I have to say that because that's what I believe."

DIANE SAWYER -- "You have the nonstop ticket?"

MEL GIBSON -- "Well, yeah, I'm saying it's an easier ride where I am because it's like -I have to believe that."

...MEL GIBSON -- "... it's our belief that by the sin of the first people, original sin, that the gates were closed to us, to eternal life, and that his sacrifice as a redeemer of all mankind was to open the gates to all of us again."

Gibson presents the Catholic "eucharist" during the raising of the cross, by using a flashback which shows the actor Caviezel about to break the bread at the Last Supper. The Catholic meaning is clear. The bread broken at the Passover meal, which Jesus says "is my body," signifies His body which is being crucified. Protestants would also agree with that symbolism.

However, for Catholics, there is of course a very clear focus and message of every Catholic Mass in which the Last Supper is commemorated, and the death of Christ on the cross is "mystically" recalled and re-enacted, teaching that taking Communion is actually eating and drinking the physical body and blood of Christ. Catholics believe that the "Holy Eucharist" is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, actually present in the physical appearance of bread and wine. The Catholic position is that Christ must be re-offered continually on the altar in the Catholic Church at each Mass. In their theology, this is an unending process in which Catholics must participate or they may forfeit any hope of heaven. 

Quoting The Catholic Catechism, by John A. Hardon, a Catholic theologian, “Those who receive his body and blood (in the Mass) will enjoy the parousia [His coming into their presence]; those who reject the Eucharist condemn themselves.” (CathCat, p. 119) Further, the Eucharist should be adored and worshipped as the “public manifestation” of the belief that it contains the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine (p. 480). Without the Eucharist there is no participation in the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus “in the Eucharist, unites us to his sacrifice.” (p. 445). " 14 

We are reminded of these Scriptures:

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. [KJV]

Did the Apostles preach a blood ridden death process, or did they preach Jesus resurrected.  We are reminded of Paul's words in Ephesians 1:19-23: 

19.And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The beauty of the Sacrifice was that death could not hold Him. "The Passion of The Christ" leaves the focus on a graphic and violent portrayal of a Jesus tortured and dead. In all of the concern expressed about anti semitism, and potential for violence against Jews, I would like to make this statement. It was not the Jews or the Romans who crucified Jesus. It was our sin. He was slain before the foundation of the world. [Revelation 13:8] Adam's sin necessitated Jesus' sacrifice. Hence, God spoke of it to Adam and Eve and satan. 

It was our sin that put Him there, and His love that made Him choose to go. He did not have to die for us. He unselfishly chose to.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [KJV] 

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. [KJV] 

Probably one of the most profound testimonies of the events of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection are found with regard to Thomas, as shown in John 20:

24  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Has it come to having to 'see' horrific violence, what many will believe are the actual and Biblically correct events, in order to believe this "Hollywood" Jesus? Jesus Christ is the Word of God. Why can't we hear His words in this film in our own language? His Words mean nothing in the movie. 

It is not artistic. It is so movie goers have an emotional and sensory experience beyond reason. The "crucifixion" of a Jesus is viewed as wonderful to behold and watch repeatedly, with every gory and horrific scene felt and experienced visually and heard....the only thing missing is the smell.

Movie goers just need to see this Jesus, who many believe to truly epitomize Christ, beaten and beaten and beaten again, with every imaginative portrayal of a crucifixion.  Some having seen it once are going back two or more times, because they enjoyed it ... "loved it" so much, and "it was so accurate to the gospels." One testimony of that enjoyment even included the thoughts that they had laughed at the funny parts, of which others would say, there were none. Some viewers, while saying it is the way it was, shrug their shoulders over what they also notice to be the un- Scriptural presentation and historically inaccurate information, and then say, "That's Hollywood, what can you expect?" 

Is this the "new" evangelism opportunity? 

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached .... [KJV] 

Titus 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching.... [KJV] 

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. [KJV]

We do not know how this movie can be "the greatest evangelizing tool in the last 2000 years," when the actual Word of God is spoken mostly in an excerpted, partially quoted, paraphrased form for only ten or so minutes in the Aramaic language that only a limited few can understand, with titles. Scripture is also sometimes taken out of context, used mixed with dialogue, and spoken incorrectly as in the incidence where He said to Mary "see mother, I make all things new," That was a mixture of actors dialogue with a passage from Revelation 21:5. Those lines have been said in languages that very few comprehend in the first place, and there are not always titles when the language is being spoken. This occurs in the beginning of the movie when Jesus is first praying in the garden, and in other scenes as well. It is God's Word that must be heard in order for souls to be won to Him. Have viewers, and particularly Christians forgotten what Revelation 22 states:

22: 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

And Proverbs 30:

5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Many who stood and watched Christ crucified almost 2000 years ago, never believed Him, even after knowing He had risen from the grave. Many physically heard Jesus Christ speak, heard Him prophecy His death and resurrection, and saw Him even after He was risen from the dead and still doubted Him. [Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:9-15] 

Should a movie's presentation of a Jesus and a gospel, be viewed an evangelistic success, when portraying a Biblically and historically inaccurate presentation of Christ? 

In "The Making of the Passion of the Christ", which was broadcast on PAX, February 22, Mel Gibson stated: 

"...You can't help working on something like this without it affecting you in some way. You spend every waking hour thinking about this... looking at it... dwelling on it... disseminating facts...separating fact from fiction...ah...trying to find the reality of it and just literally... it's like a meditation...and it's gone on for wow... it's over a year now it's like ah you's like fifteen months of just...flat out kind of like meditation on's just this one short day...or long's a pretty long day..."

And at the end of the interview, Mel Gibson stated:

"...That's what art is, and that's what making art is about. It's about sort of throwing it all out there...I'm no know you can only put your own experience into your're dealing with very powerful stuff here...the truth is powerful stuff....I've shown it in a way... that I think is kind of original...what can I say...I think it's maybe better...I just had to do what was true to me and true to the gospels...the Gospels are for everybody...from the smallest child to the wisest sage. And I fall somewhere in the middle..."

In that same documentary, Mel Gibson said of James Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus, in "The Passion of The Christ":

"He's got some ....other world or un worldly knowledge that seems to envelop him like a glow...and um... that very presence... I thought was a key thing in his casting, that is somebody that emits that kind of light...and he has a very good light coming out of him..."

Mr. Gibson, in a private interview with a national pastor, said that he believed his movie would "convert" many.  To what will they be converted? 

2 Corinthians 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. [KJV] 

If only the Jesus and the Truth within the Bible, which teaches us about Jesus' death and resurrection, the way God intended, would capture minds and hearts. In the Old Testament or Tenach, Isaiah 53, and the Gospels are as graphic as deemed necessary by God and all that is necessary for us.  The death process was not the end.  It was the beginning.  Jesus reigns.  His death paid the price.  His resurrection gives us life, and life abundantly. His resurrection gives us life eternal. His Life after death is the Gospel message.  It is the message of hope to those in despair, perfect love for the rejected, restoration of heart, mind, and soul for the lost, forgotten, bruised and broken. 

"The Passion of The Christ" is none of these things. 

This writer cannot help but put it into one Scriptural perspective....and that is this. 

Mark 13:21  And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
22  For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Next Article: 

Comments About Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ"

Other Articles: 

Pro & Con Comments About Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ" 

 Mel Gibson, Biblical Accuracy & The Other Passion Source: The 15 Prayers of St. Bridget

God Can Use Anything...But Should We? Q & A About The Passion of The Christ

Q & A: More Scriptural Comparison's of The Passion of the Christ

Q & A: About the Cast & Crew of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ

NewsFlash!  Mystic Anne Emmerich to be Beatified

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment & Zondervan To Distribute 

DVD/VHS of Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ






3. ; and other sources

4. and other sources




7. Ibid

8. Ibid







13.  Peter J. Boyer, “The Jesus War: Mel Gibson’s Obsession,” The New Yorker, September 15, 2003, 71.


Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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