Analysis Of The Divergences Between Mel Gibson's Movie Passion Of The Christ And The Gospel Of Luke

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The film, The Passion of the Christ primarily focuses on Jesus of Nazareth's final twelve hours beginning with Jesus during the Agony in the Garden and ending with the Resurrection of Jesus. The film draws inspiration from the four Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John but takes most of its source material from the Gospel of Luke.

The film The Passion of Christ primarily focuses on the final hours of Jesus, while doing so the film entirely forgoes most of Jesus’s teachings and the miracles that Jesus had performed. The film gives brief flashbacks to early parts of Jesus’s life such as him meeting Mary Magdalene and some of the events that happened during his last Passover. By showing only showing events that mostly happened during Jesus’s final hours it fails to give the viewer an accurate interpretation of his life, but by showing his final moments in such great detail it gives the viewer an in-depth look into is final moments.

The movie The Passion of Christ has a few thematic differences when compared to the Gospel of Luke. One of the thematic differences is the way Jesus described the kingdom of God, in the movie Jesus calls it heaven on multiple occasions, while in the Gospel of Luke Jesus references it as the Kingdom of God. The film portrays Jesus as a very humble man, no matter what the crowd does onto he is constantly saying forgive them, father.

Another way that the movie portrays Jesus as humble is when Jesus is brought to Governor Pontius Pilate by the Jewish crowd and begins accusing him of perverting the nation and forbidding to give tribute to Ceasar and saying that Jesus himself is Christ a King. And Pilate asked him, “saying, Art thou the King of the Jews?” And Jesus responds by saying “Does this really come from you? Or do you ask me this because others have told you that is what I am?” Then Pilate asks him again if he really is a king and Jesus responds by saying “my kingdom is not of this world.” By saying this it truly shows Jesus’ humbleness.

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At the beginning of The Passion of Christ, it opens with Jesus during the Agony in the Garden praying to God to remove the judgment from him and to save him. While Jesus is praying he is confronted by Satan and Satan begins to watch him pray. Satan begins to tempt Jesus by saying does he have the ability to save the world sins by himself. Satan then sends a snake to Jesus and he stomps on the snakes head killing it. The Gospel of Luke does not mention Jesus facing any temptation during the Agony in the Garden. The film gets some parts of Jesus being arrested correctly when it is compared to the Gospel of Luke. In the Gospel of Luke, Luke wrote, “While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” (Luke 22.47-62)

In the movie, a crowd of Jewish guards approaches Jesus with Judas and Judas attempts to kiss Jesus and Jesus says to Judas, “You betray the son of God with a kiss.” ( The Passion of the Christ) This part draws directly from the Gospel of Luke. Later in the scene when the guards are attempting to arrest Jesus, one of his disciples cut off one of the guard's ears but when Jesus saw this he got mad a healed him. This section also draws directly from the Gospel of Luke when Luke wrote “Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him.” After this, the movie begins to diverge from the Gospels.

The movie begins to show flashbacks to moments of Jeusu’s life and during one of the flashbacks, it shows Jesus being a carpenter and making a dining table and his mother Mary comments saying that the table is too tall and that it would never catch on. This event is never mentioned in Luke or in any of the other gospels. Later in the film, Jesus is arrested he is taken to a temple and is led into the courtyard of the temple where Jesus begins to questioned by the Pharisees. After questioning Jesus the crowd begins to torment Jesus after seeing Jesus in such a state Peter attempts to flee but he is recognized by the crowd of people where Peter denies knowing Jesus three times.

In the Gospel of Luke, it is written “A servant girl saw him seated in the firelight and looked intently at him. “This man also was with Him,” she said. But Peter denied it. “Woman, I do not know Him,” he said. A short time later, someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not. About an hour later, another man insisted, “Certainly this man was with Him, for he too is a Galilean. But Peter said “ Man, I do know what you are talking about! At that moment while he was still speaking, the cock crowed.”(Luke 24.56-61) Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times. Later in The Passion of the Christ, Jesus is brought to the Roman Governor. The film paints the Jewish crowd a group of bloodthirsty and savage people. While it makes the Roman leader Pontius Pilate, a civilized and level headed man trying to convince the Jewish crowd to exercise restraint against Jesus. After hearing what the Jewish accuse him of he takes Jesus and questioned him himself. After finding out he was under Herod jurisdiction he sent him to Herod. When Herrod saw Jesus he was very excited because he had wanted to meet Jesus for quite some time so Jesus could show him a sign. Herod then begins questioning him asking is it true that he is able to restore sight to the blind and raise the dead.

When Jesus refuses to answer him Herod begins to mock him saying this man is not guilty of a crime and that Jesus was just crazy and sends him back to Pilate. This part of the movie also draws directly from the Gospel of Luke. Luke explains this by saying “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season because he had heard many things of him, and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words, but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.”(Luke 23.8-11) After Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate he decided that he or King Herod have found no reason to convict Jesus, but after saying this crowd begins to start to protest his decision. To compromise with the crowd Pilate gives the guards the order to have Jesus tortured but not killed. The movie goes on to have a very violent scene of Jesus getting tortured. While in the Gospel of Luke there is only one mention of torture when Luke wrote: “I will, therefore, chastise him, and release him.” Luke(23.16)

There are major differences in the versions Luke’s version sounds like a slap on the wrist while the movie describes the chastising in completely different ways. After that very violent scene in the movie, the Romans then give Jesus the cross to carry to the place where he would be crucified, after struggling for some time with carrying the cross the Roman guards escorting him stopped a man by the name of Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country and made him help Jesus carry it to the place where he would be crucified. This part of the movie was based directly off of the Gospel of Luke. Luke wrote “As they led him away, they seized a man, Simmon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and they laid the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.”(Luke 23.26) When they arrived at the place called the Skull, Jesus was crucified. There were also two other criminals being put to death alongside Jesus. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Then one of the criminals begins to torment Jesus asking why he is able to save other people but not himself.

After this, a crow lands on top of him and begins to attack him. But the other criminal began to rebuke him and then asking Jesus to not forget about him in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus then replied to him saying “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” After this, the sky fell dark and it began to thunder, then with Jesus’ final breath he spoke his final words “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

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