Review of The Agony of the Passion in Cultural Lenses – Part One


Basilica Insider: The Christ in Majesty Mosaic - National Shrine of the  Immaculate ConceptionIn this informative article, the writer argues that Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, portrays more than the physical torture of Christ who is jesus and points to the fact that He suffered agony at a much deeper level from both the humiliation and subsequent rejection of the lot that accused, mocked, stripped, scourged, condemned and crucified Him. Furthermore, even the father forsook Him at the very hour He needed intervention and vindication. A resultant effect is that he experienced anguish, pain, torture, suffering, distress and misery.

The article is divided into five main portions. The first discusses the agony of Christ’s passion in relation to who He really is. The writer observes that Gibson’s movie only shows the physical torture and the deep level torture can only be imagined. Such a unique experience would only be understood not just from scourges received but in relation to His true identity as king. This is related to the African Igbo culture which views humiliation as something worse than death. Consequently, people from diverse background would not allow their king to go into battle because of the humiliating experience if they lost. The second section appeals to one’s reasoning since the writer invites the reader to think of what it meant to face what He faced. He was crucified and falsely condemned as a criminal on the ground of blasphemy and treason. Jesus however realized that His passion was for our salvation. Perhaps one of the areas which heightened the passion of Jesus is a discussion that appears in the third section which observes that heaven remained silent in his passion. According to the writer of this article, the enemies of Jesus rejoice because it appears as if God was on their side by remaining silent. The penultimate section comments on the crown of thorns for the King of Kings. It was painful to Jesus to be scourged as King of Kings while a criminal was granted freedom. The enemies erroneously assumed that they were more powerful than Him and jested that he should come down from the cross inorder to save Himself. The ultimate section deals highlights how the enemies rejoiced while He hung on the cross. Was Jerusalem left desolate after His great ministry activities? Were the apostles fighting about who would be greatest? Did the disciples including Peter flee after denying Him? Answering these questions in the affirmative indeed contribute in revealing the agony of His passion.

Dr. Eze’s view of His passion through cultural lenses is really revealing. It indeed gives ownership of the Bible to the community of faith in a given place. An Igbo and by extension, an African, will clearly understand the humiliation Christ went through since the writer clearly expresses that to humiliate someone is worse than to kill Him. He impressively relates a message across all cultures – people prevent their king from entering battle to avoid possible humiliation. This article is therefore an example of a document that not only clearly portrays the biblical teaching but is also culturally sensitive. This has enabled the researcher to have a deeper understanding of the agony of Christ’s passion. About 300 miles south of Cairo, near the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, stands a 60-foot- tall statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Looking up at that immense monument was doubtlessly meant to inspire awe of the ruler and is a symbol of the world’s view of greatness – that of making oneself appear as big and important as possible while making others feel insignificant.

If we contrast this view of greatness with what Jesus Christ has taught us, we see that although he was the “Lord and Teacher” of his followers, he taught them that true greatness comes from serving others. On the last day of his life on earth, Jesus demonstrated the meaning of what he taught by washing his disciples’ feet. This, from the Son of God, was a humble act of service indeed. greatness was expressed thusly in Daniel 4: 30: “Is not this Babylon the great, that i myself have built for the royal house with the strength of my might and for the dignity of my majesty? ” Then there is proud Herod Agrippa I, who accepted unwarranted glory for himself instead of giving glory to God. He was eaten up with worms and expired. ” (Acts 12: 21-23)Failure to appreciate Jehovah’s view of greatness led each of these men to their ultimate downfall.

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