When The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004, the graphic violence it portrayed was received differently by audiences than other R-rated movies. Rather than identifying with the actor throwing the punches, viewers of this film put themselves in the place of the victim. Many Christians saw for the first time what Jesus had suffered on the cross.
The gospel writers didn’t record every painful detail. The first Christians already knew exactly what crucifixion would have entailed. They had witnessed thousands of Roman executions. The cross was intended not only as a punishment, but also as a warning to anyone who dared to defy those in power. To the people of that time, the cross symbolized only shame and hatred.
Two thousand years later, we decorate our homes, churches and even ourselves with the symbol of the cross. It has become a reminder of Jesus’ willingness to descend from glory to powerlessness so that we might be redeemed. Because of Christ’s selfless and sacrificial love, we can stand before the cross without fear, knowing that our relationship with God has been restored.
Blessed Redeemer, thank you for your willingness to go before us into all things-even death. Amen. — KLS