Jesus' Death and Resurrection as Portrayed on Film
- Tuesday, March 18, 2008
“I don’t want your forgiveness,” Satan replies.
Judas shows up and betrays Jesus with a kiss. Peter denies Christ. On trial, Jesus is asked, “Do you claim to be the Son of God?”
“It is you who says it,” Jesus responds.
“Blasphemy!” the interrogators reply.
Peter denies Christ, then sees Jesus and hears a rooster crow.
Pilate tries to release Jesus, but the crowd favors Barabbas. Pilate orders Jesus flogged. We see Jesus filmed from above as he’s whipped, his face in agony. Cut to a scene of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns, blood on his face and chest. Pilate washes his hands, says he’s innocent of Jesus’ blood, and orders, “Crucify him.”
Jesus wrists are nailed to the cross, but in this television film, the camera cuts away from the blows. A platform is provided for his feet, “so that he will die slower” an onlooker explains. Jesus is shown between two other people being crucified, but no comment is made about those men.
“My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus says. “Father, into your hands I commend your spirit.” As Jesus dies, a huge stone structure is shaken and begins to disintegrate. Rain falls, and thunder is heard. A pieta image is followed by a scene of four men carrying Jesus’ body, wrapped in cloth. A stone is rolled over Jesus’ grave by three people. In the next scene, a woman arrives at the grave, sees the stone moved away, and informs the disciples that Jesus’ body has been taken. Two disciples arrive. “He is risen!” one proclaims. The other doubts, but then believes. They run to tell others.
Jesus appears to Mary from the bushes and says her name. She recognizes and embraces him. “You must let me go now, for I have not ascended to my Father,” Jesus tells her.
Thomas, hearing that Jesus has risen, expresses doubt. “Did you see the wounds in his wrists?” he asks. Jesus appears, saying to him, “Put your finger here.” Without doing so, Thomas proclaims, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus gives the Great Commission, turns and vanishes, and the film ends.
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004)
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ emphasizes Jesus’ physical suffering. Based in part on the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerich and her interpretation of the passion of Jesus Christ, the film features an androgynous Satan figure who appears several times.
Beginning with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, The Passion of the Christ shows Jesus confronting Satan in the garden, being betrayed by Judas with a slow-motion kiss and restoring a soldier’s severed ear.
Played by Jim Caviezel, this Jesus wears suffering and anguish on his face as he undergoes intense spiritual and physical torment. The scourging of Jesus is extremely bloody and sadistic, but he endures it and embraces the cross, praying for strength from his Father to fulfill his mission. He receives help in carrying his cross, and is offered water and a towel by a young girl. The film intercuts other flashbacks of Jesus preaching, and of the last supper, as well as his mother remembering how she ran to him when he stumbled as a young boy.
A nail enters his palm. Blood drips from the nails as they exit the other side of the wood. His ankles are hammered to the cross, which has not yet been raised. The cross is turned on its side, as the nails are hammered down on the back side of the wood.
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