Mel Gibson's movie of the final twelve hours of the life of Jesus has stirred people across the country, and ignited many questions about both the movie and the story itself. This discussion guide will help adult small groups think through reactions to the movie The Passion of the Christ,
discuss the main characters and how they are portrayed in the film and in Scripture texts, and reflect on what Jesus' suffering and death means for us today. Purchase of this discussion guide includes permission for local-use, not-for-sale photocopying.
From the Up for Discussion section of this discussion guide, the excerpt below is just the first of nearly a dozen characters and scenes examined in the guide:
The people who appear in the film see Jesus from different perspectives. Looking at some of the major scenes and people in the story is a good way to think about its meaning.
1. The Tempter. The film begins as Jesus prays in Gethsemane and a supernatural figure appears to him, quietly urging him to give up ideas of saving others. The figure is the devil. Why did the devil's words seem to trouble Jesus so much? How did Jesus finally respond? What are some of the scenes in which this figure appears later in the film? After Jesus dies, the devil shrieks. How does the film suggest that Jesus' death defeated the devil's purposes?
Background: The gospels say that in Gethsemane Jesus prayed that God would spare him suffering and death, yet he asked that God's will would be done (Matthew 26:36-39). The gospels do not depict Jesus struggling with the devil in Gethsemane, but do tell of the devil trying to lure Jesus away from God's purposes at the beginning of his ministry and say that the powers of darkness were present in Gethsemane (Luke 4:1-13; 22:53).
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