Writer anticipates “Passion of Christ”

Brian Kolling

Brian Kolling

I have never run a marathon.

I could run a marathon. Indeed, someday I do hope to run one, though, let’s be honest, the chances of me, now in my 30s, running a marathon are about the same as me being named Queen of England.

Possible, but not likely.

The primary barrier here is that I am a man, and no man has ever been named Queen of England.

But the primary barrier to my running a marathon is more personal (and by personal I mean something I would prefer you didn’t know about me). I don’t want to go through the pain it would require to achieve my desired result. I would love to finish a marathon race; I just would not like to endure the pain of the first 25 or so miles. I want the results, just not the effort and sacrifice that go into achieving the results.

I’ve been thinking about this as I look toward the new Mel Gibson movie to be released this week called “The Passion of the Christ.” When I went to Sunday school, there were lots of Easter stories about the resurrection of Jesus (the result) and not many about the pain, brutality and sacrifice that Jesus endured prior to the resurrection (often referred to as The Passion).

Much of this is understandable – there is no need for little kids to be exposed to all the pain and suffering. And yet, as we move into adulthood we continue to prefer our Bible stories sanitized, all victory and good feelings without any pain and suffering.

And so our culture obliges, and the Easter story is sanitized more than a little. It is, to many, about Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and a trip home to see family. Even those of us who call ourselves Christians find it easier to celebrate the great message of the resurrection and ignore what led up to it – the brutal beating and humiliation of Jesus.

It is why I look forward – with anticipation but also with trepidation – to “The Passion of the Christ.” Part of me doesn’t want to see the movie – I prefer my picture of the triumphant, resurrected Jesus to that of Jesus beaten, mocked and killed.

But, I’ve learned, you can’t have one without the other. Both form a true picture of the real Jesus – the One who died so that all those who make a decision to place their trust in Him can have eternal life. He endured the beatings, the humiliation, the death – in order rise triumphant over death and sin. He went the distance.

Perhaps, like me, you have preferred your sanitized view of the Easter story. Or perhaps you are one who has never before placed your faith in Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life. Either way, I hope to see you there at “The Passion of the Christ.” If I’ve learned anything in my 30+ years, it is that one is never the same after getting a glimpse of Jesus as He really lived – and died – and rose again.

Brian Kolling works with SDSU Campus Crusade for Christ. You may contact him at [email protected]