“Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.” (Galatians 3:1)
I remember watching Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” (2004) in the theatre. As Jesus’ suffering and death was clearly portrayed before me, I wept like a baby. It was not just that I was sickened by the violence and gore… I was. I was sickened by the sin that could cause such pain, that could do such a thing.
And it brought to mind how much violence and gore continue to happen in the world today. How have we collectively become such monsters, that we could commit such atrocities. And even if I am not guilty of such horrific crimes, what about the ways I do hurt others. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, I have hurt people with my words and actions. Or by my silence and inaction.
The suffering and crucifixion of Jesus show us how ugly and terrible the sin we inflict on God and creation is. If I weep at a movie, how much more does God weep as He daily endures all the violence and gore that occurs. Only love can explain why He does not give up on us, why He willingly endures our terrible acts.
Since that first time, I’ve tried to watch the Passion again, but I cannot stomach it. Yet we must face it, we must realize how bad sin really is, if we want to see how amazing grace is. For the cross not only reveals the horror of sin, it also reveals the wonder of grace. In Christ God embraces us in our violence and gore, shame and misery; He joins us in our curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13) That He should love me – and you – this much, is also something we must face… and embrace.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) If sin makes us weep (and so it should), how much more should His amazing mercy and love have us weeping like a baby.
Today is a good day to weep.