16 April 2017 | dpcoronado
Saw this once as a kid over 30+ years ago, scared to watch it still
Perspective from an 8-year old kid: This wasn't a Jesus portrayal I expected. In Catholic school, we're taught about a photogenic, almost hippie- resembling Jesus. (Jeffrey Hunter) or an almost tragically- beautiful Jesus (Robert Powell.) Even a strange-looking Max Von Sydow was acceptable. The reality of Chris Sarandon as Jesus made the suffering in the film all the more real to an 8-year old. This Jesus had fun, played around, joked, had friends, and didn't have the divine strength to ensure the suffering--he was truly about terrified about the ordeal he was about to undergo. My own suffering is watching a whipping (book of Luke) to an actual shooting (book of Matthew.) This deserves some explaining.
I try and face my fears, whether it be watching zombie movies, or Jesus-scourging scenes, to the point of studying details in the hopes of lessening the impact of those scenes. To no avail. (I still haven't watched the Passion.)
In Luke, Jesus gets whipped. By Israelites.40 minus one, law of Moses (Jesus Christ Superstar.) He doesn't even get whipped in John, which became my favorite gospel.
But in Matthew, he gets scourged by Romans, which was more horrific. Basically what Mel Gibson depicted. The Day Christ Died was definitely traumatizing to watch. Until then, Jesus seemed almost stoic and dignified in his suffering.
From the perspective of an adult: I cannot even WATCH any scourging/whipping Jesus scenes anymore. I fast-forward or skip them altogether, and I will NEVER ward by the Passion past the first 10 minutes. So I researched the details about scourging, from the flagellum construction, to ancient texts on the matter. For those of you criticizing how the film wasn't like the angelic, surreal Jesus of your dreams, read the actual book, which is based- off Matthew if I remember correctly. It is sobering to actually empathize, rather than sympathize with Jesus'suffering, which is what most Jesus flicks want you to do. I hope by writing this, I give someone else with the same fear I have, the strength to face it.
P.S. I just realized this Easter is the 33rd year since I saw it for the first and only time. Happy Easter today!