My family and I recently joined millions of Americans to celebrate Easter. A Good Friday family tradition for us is watching The Passion of the Christ. As the movie began to unfold in Gethsemane, I was struck by the blatant injustice of it all. Yes, Jesus had to pay the ultimate price for our sins, but it was more than that.
Those involved in the trial and crucifixion process had to climb over facts or totally ignore them at every turn. The end justified the means and they weren’t going to let any pesky truths – big or small – get in their way. Now, bear with me. I’m going someplace with this.
Even in the pitch blackness of Gethsemane, the soldiers couldn’t miss the fact that one of them had just gotten his ear severed from his head, only to have Jesus miraculously reattach it before their eyes. This, one would logically reason, should make them reconsider their mission of arrest and brutal treatment. Were the soldiers drunk and didn’t notice? And certainly they had heard about Lazarus, the healed lepers and the blind who saw. Word got around in those small towns. Or didn’t they remember?
Then there was the kangaroo court before Caiaphas under the cover of darkness. But it wouldn’t end there. It’s off to Pilate because the Sanhedrin didn’t have the legal authority to sentence a man to death. However, Pilate, realizing Jesus was a political hot potato, didn’t want to be responsible for that kind of decision and tried to pass the buck to Herod. Only Herod tossed Jesus back into his lap. Knowing in his heart of hearts that he was innocent; Pilate first put on a righteous show of washing his hands of Jesus’ blood before giving the mob what it demanded. Surely the death of this innocent man came back to haunt him during quieter moments.
What undoubtedly is the most memorable part of “The Passion” movie was the unmitigated cruel scourging and crucifixion – the tearing of flesh, the dripping blood and Jesus’ anguished cries of pain. The Roman soldiers appeared intoxicated with sheer evil as they delighted in his suffering and death. And yet, in the midst of his execution, Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It’s a very difficult movie to watch, especially knowing it’s a true story and that we are the reason it had to play out.
As tragic and sad as the movie was, it had a happy ending when Jesus walked out of the tomb, triumphant over death. But nearly the entire movie had dealt with the anguish leading up to those last few victorious seconds. As the credits ran, the feeling of guilt, shame and sadness for what we had just witnessed hung on like oppressive summer heat.
The Passion of the Christ reminded me that man has changed little over the centuries. Our hearts are still inherently evil. Apart from the grace of the Holy Spirit, we too, like the Roman soldiers, become intoxicated with evil.
Abortion is all the evidence we need. The blatant injustice is obvious. How many facts do we need to climb over? The evidence of the unborn child is for everyone to see: the ultrasounds, intrauterine surgeries and the devastating emotional pain after abortion. It’s as if society is drunk and hasn’t noticed.
And there’s that kangaroo court. Roe vs. Wade was decided on lies that Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano have now brought to light. There’s been no justice for the little ones. State legislatures and Congress, realizing abortion is a political hot potato; have tried to pass the buck to the courts, only to have it thrown back into their laps. Elected officials and judges know in their heart of hearts that the unborn child is innocent, but they piously put on a show of washing their hands of the blood and wrap themselves in “pro-choice” rhetoric. Judges, legislators, abortionists and yes, even the parents, deny their responsibility. Surely the death of the innocents comes back to haunt during quieter moments.
Perhaps what causes the most anguish is the unmitigated brutality in the womb – the tearing of flesh, the dripping blood and the anguished cries of pain and remorse by those involved. And yet, in the midst of this human carnage, many parents chose abortion because “they know not what they do.”
But since the story of “The Passion” is true, there can be a happy ending. Because – as the movie depicts during those fleeting last seconds – Jesus was triumphant over death, there is hope and healing after abortion.
In the end, Jesus said, “It is finished.” He died and rose to cover every demonic sin man’s evil heart can conceive – even the sin of abortion. If you or someone you know is struggling from the pain of abortion, we can stand with you in the shadow of the cross to find hope and healing.
In part, God has put us on this earth – in this time and place – to educate America to the ghastly reality of abortion. Our assignment is to lovingly but firmly shine a light on the ugliness of abortion. Our task is to change the hearts and minds of Americans on abortion, while letting them in on the happy ending.