"The Passion" (Feb ’04)

haven’t seen the movie yet… but have been very moved by many things already. First, the fact that Mel Gibson has made himself a “disciple” of the single most powerful historical event. The disciples were called to lay everything down and “Follow Me…”. Mr. Gibson says that since he took on this project that He has daily spent time in prayer and meditation, attending mass every day. Talk about “Following… “! What an example of a disciple! AND, he’s spreading the Word as well! Before millions and millions of people! Not many people get that opportunity! And to note that all of Christ’s disciples were as imperfect as you or I… each of them had their weaknesses, their flaws, their sins… they were liars, they stole, they cheated, they gossiped… yet, they were perfect for what Christ had in mind!

Secondly, working in a very conservative firm affords me the joy of seeing people who wouldn’t normally be talking about religion at work doing just that! Talking about religion (and even their own personal beliefs) at work! Today, an associate (being of a middle eastern religion) asked me “Why did they crucify Him?” (OK – You know that excitement?! The one that welled up inside me… you know it!) What an opportunity – and a challenge! I explained a bit about His birth being prophesied – for the purpose of being crucified. But my associate wasn’t happy with that. She wanted to know which law He broke that they would want to punish Him. I went on to explain the following…

Some of the history… first of all, the Chief Priests and Pharisees (loose definition in today’s terms: legal analysts, also known as hypocrites) were scared to death of Jesus and the view society was getting of Him.

“If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48). Why were they scared? Simple… Jesus was a threat to them… He threatened their way of life. After many conflicts over many years, the Sanhedrin (loose definition in today’s terms: tribunal council) had managed to maintain a delicate balance with the Romans. The Romans just barely allowed the Jews to worship according to their tradition. But it wouldn’t take much, the Sanhedrin reasoned, to upset that balance. They were deathly afraid that the Romans would see a mass “Jesus movement” as a threat to Caesar and in response would destroy the Jewish way of life.

Judas knew of the Sanhedrin’s concern… and for 30 shillings he agreed to quietly tell them where to find Christ so they could arrest Him … therefore “putting Him on trial”. (First note: at that time, 30 shillings may have been worth about a year’s wages. Second note: I’d also like to point out that shortly after Christ’s resurrection, Judas returned the shillings… )

I explained Pilate’s response to the masses that he found no fault in Him… but that he was so scared of his own life that he couldn’t imagine what the people would do to him if he released Jesus instead of Barrabas. At this point, my associate told me she was getting the chills. Still amazed at this opportunity, I just kept talking. She asked about the robbers being hung at the same time. “What did they have to do with Jesus?” And so it continued…

I share all of this to encourage and challenge each of you to be prepared… be prepared to not only share the facts and the truth from the Word… but to share your story too. Beyond what the Bible says… what does your HEART say? What evidence do you personally have that Christ is who He says He is? Why are you a 21st century disciple? WHY do you believe that He was sent to this earth to die for our sins… and to be raised again? You WILL be questioned… you WILL be put on the spot… you MAY even be treated differently as a “Christian”. Be prepared! This moment in time was planned out by God before you were even born!

What an awakening moment… to stand up for something you believe in. To be stuck in a moment of time where you have to answer for your life… and then to think none of us, not one, have lived our lives free of imperfection. ALL OF US have done something to fall short of God’s glory… ALL of us have failed someone, something, at some point in history. And that’s why Christ wants us on His side… isn’t that exactly why He was put on that cross?!

I’m sure you’ll all hear from me AFTER I’ve seen “The Passion…” as well… so, stay tuned…

Lori J. Tisdale (formerly Haraldsen)

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