“The Passion of the Christ” was scheduled to be shown at our Sunday evening service and I was excited to host this evening since I had seen the film four times before. The “Thirst Band” had prepared some great Christ-honoring songs to prepare the hearts of those who would come and I had prayed about the short Gospel message I would deliver afterward. Tissue boxes lined the aisles. We had three screens set-up so everyone had a clear view of the movie. There would be no announcements between the end of worship and the start of the film. The tone of the evening had to be just right. Solemn. Reflective.
About 150 people showed up. Mostly on time.
The worship was truly awesome. Holy. Jesus Christ was exalted. Praise Adonai!
During the film there was reverent silence, occasional sobbing. The woman next to me munched on popcorn… until that awful scourging. Then she fell to her knees and started genuflecting, crying. She’d leave then would come back. Leave. Come back. She witnessed the murder of God on our behalf. Also, The Resurrection. The End.
I stood up, walked to the front and explained that Jesus Christ had to die for our sins according to the Scriptures. That He was buried for three days and rose again to give us all the hope of eternal life. This was a slam-dunk! All those unforgiven sinners in the audience would leap to their feet faster than that crippled guy by the temple gate called Beautiful!
No one answered the call of salvation that day. No one winked, raised a hand, lifted a head, cocked their neck, or gave a little whistle. No one stood, shimmied, danced a dance, or ran forward with a shout! Man, I felt stupid.
Of course, it was all my fault. I didn’t pray enough, or prepare enough, or fast enough, or read the Bible enough. I must have hidden sin in my heart! Maybe I didn’t use the right words or formula or something!
I do have to admit that all those things passed through my mind after the evening ended and I had to remember once again what Jesus said: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drags him…” (John 6:44)
In other words, it ain’t about me!
By: Pastor Steve Sanchez