The Humanizing of Jesus

May 2, 2012

You can’t help but feel compassion for the powerful, compelling, controversial film Passion of the Christ. I thought the scene where they punish Jesus is one of the many compelling scenes of his humanization in this film. I thought I would be able to withstand watching the horrendously gory scene of his whippings, but I couldn’t help but cringe as the intensity of the whippings and choice of weapons became much more severe than the previous. I thought that the scene served as a moment where people should feel fortunate of what Jesus has done for the sins of people. Jesus beaten nearly to death, he withstands the threshold of the pain and scars his body receives. It is very powerful and moving as you can see some of his disciples leaving because of the violence. Whip after whip, we see the scars get more intense and we can feel as though we are actually in the crowd because of the framing that emphasizes the crowd and how the soldiers punish Jesus. You cannot help but feel sorrow or pain for Jesus as the high priest watch, the people and the Roman warriors laugh and take pleasure in beating him.

Another scene depicting his humanization occurs when they force a man to carry the wooden cross and he refuses because he does not know Jesus. He later begins to feel sympathy for him because he sees the crowd and soldiers mocking and beating Jesus despite praying for their sins. How can one not feel sorrow and pain for Jesus? Every step after the whipping is a struggle. He does not fight the orders of his crucifixion but he accepts their punishment for him. I thought it was interesting that they only showed two miracles Jesus has done for people in the film. One was when he saves the soldiers ear in the beginning when they capture Jesus and the second one is his resurrection towards the end of the film. In contrast to the DeMille film, where he unrealistically glows and heals miracles left and right to portray he is the Messiah. Gibson’s film plays on the notion of the mysterious and reality. The film shows daily life from when Jesus lived but it also played on the mystery that if you do not believe, there are going to be consequences to your sins, such as Judas hanging himself and the man being crucified with Jesus that gets his eyeball poked by a crow for mocking Jesus.

I thought it was great that they flashbacked on several of Jesus’s memories when he is in the brink of death. One example is when he sees his mother Mary run to him when he falls as he is carrying the wooden cross. It flashes back to his childhood giving us an idea that this man has a past and did not just descend down from the heavens. He recollects when his mother holds him when he was in need of comfort during his childhood. The flashback is very realistic and compelling because of all the pain he goes through, seeking his mother for comfort.

This was one of my favorite films we watched this semester, but I thought there was too much taken away from the film with Gibson focusing too much on the High Rabbi priest. I thought that it looked as though in the film they are portrayed as the people that are responsible for the death of Jesus. The Roman king puts the responsibility of crucifying Jesus to the people. It was a peculiar choice of doing this and I thought this could have something to do with Gibson’s personal beliefs. In a few of the select parts where Jesus suffers the High Rabbi priest are there watching. Here are the marks: 27:00, 38:00, and 54:18(We get a close up particularly from this High Rabbi, conveying that he enjoys this).

For those that care to watch this in HD:

http://youtu.be/7Mo4DHmQlUg


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