Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Preston Passion

I've just watched the BBC's 'Preston Passion' - an imaginative and moving retelling of aspects of the Passion of Christ. It very powerfully portrayed the elements of Pilate's dilemma, the grief of the women who watched Jesus suffer and die, and the self-sacrifice of Jesus himself. Well done to the BBC for using its resources to bring Christ's Passion to a mass audince in such a popular way. But I'm afraid I would only give it 7 out 10 because the heart of the story was missing: Christ's sacrifice for our sins. Without his atoning death all we would have would be a series of moving stories with some moral value, but nothing that actually changes lives - and changes the status of life from that which is estranged from God to that which is reconciled to God.

Perhaps it would be too much to expect the BBC in such a multicultural society as ours to be quite as explicit about the reason for Christ's death and its true significance. For those who are familiar with Handel's 'Messiah', and the text from Isaiah, we did get a little reference to Christ's sacrificial death as the choir sang: 'Surely, he hath born our sins and carried our sorrows: he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him...'

The real difference Christ's death makes to us is that our sin - whatever comes between us and God - was dealt with once for all. His death opened the way for all who believe to be not just improved but saved.

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