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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

The Passion – 2016 Style

Seems an appropriate blog theme for the week on the heels of the Fox presentation The Passion this past weekend on Palm Sunday. I built my entire day’s plan around being available at 8pm. I was interested in the presentation, I had a friend involved with it, and it was just wholesome entertainment that could be a great discussion starter at work or anywhere else.


There have been a lot of commentaries about the event. Many gave it mediocre reviews. That seems appropriate as well. If you think about it the lead character in real life didn’t get a lot of great reviews from the audience either……which led to the title and event.

Good ol’ Webster defines ‘passion’ as NOUN

1.strong and barely controllable emotion: “a man of impetuous passion”

2.the suffering and death of Jesus: “meditations on the Passion of Christ”

synonyms: crucifixion · suffering · agony · martyrdom

I think that first definition sums it up well: strong and barely controllable emotions. Hmmmm…..

I think God must have had that for us since He told Jesus the only way to fix the problem of sin was for Jesus to die. And not just die….but in the worst fashion ever invented by mankind. Because, after all, that’s what sin deserves.

I think Jesus must have had that for God since He simply obeyed.

And I think God must have had it for Jesus since He knew He would be separated from His only son. Oh how that had to break the Father’s heart as well. Think about it….if you have a child who is away at school or the service….or is grown and on their own….you still yearn to be with them. To hear their voice. Enjoy their company. Just hang out. I think God had that same ache in His heart when Jesus had to leave heaven.

I enjoyed the show. Now I’m a techy behind the scenes kind of gal so I was watching for any signs that the disciple scenes were live (which they weren’t). I could certainly have done without the commercials. They were an unwanted (yet necessary I guess if they have to pay the bills) distraction. At the same time I told my mom it said a lot that they were advertising American Idol and the like during a program like The Passion and that it spoke volumes for what they believed the viewership would be…prime time….Sunday night. Score!

I found myself wiping tears a number of times. First of all it was just totally cool to see a 20-ft illuminated cross being carried through New Orleans…and especially down Bourbon Street! After all…isn’t that where Jesus would hang out in 2016 – on the likes of Bourbon Street? Now before you stone me think about it. With whom did He hang out…and go INTO the homes of…when He walked the earth? The tax collectors. The lepers. The adulterers. Or, in the words of Mitch McVicker…’in other words … ME!’

I’ve been down Bourbon Street. Suffice to say it leaves NOTHING to the imagination for anyone looking for any kind of debauchery, lust, and immorality. So to see people hanging out on the balconies – where just 6 weeks ago they were throwing beads in Mardi Gras – and to watch them grow silent as the cross went by…it gave me chills. And a tear fell from my eye.

And then when the cross made its way to the park – ‘and a hush fell over the crowd’ – it was mesmerizing. In a way never before known to me the cross became central. All eyes were affixed to it. Every ounce of activity ceased. And the cross became the center point…the way it should. I loved how they zoomed in on the cross bearers from time to time. Some showed some strain and a sense of discomfort – nothing of which compares to what Christ experienced. I can only imagine what the experience of carrying the cross – albeit for a short time period – did for the individual walks with the Lord of the bearers. I think they ‘get it’ in a whole different way than ever before.

I enjoyed the musical selections, some of which I had heard and others were new to me. Just another example that music itself is neither Christian nor non-Christian. The themes of songs can be very direct or more oblique with multiple applications. If The Passion was compared to a modern day Godspell (for you young-uns out there just Google it), I think the musical selections were very appropriate. I mean ‘Love Can Move Mountains’ seems about as Biblically themed as it can be since Jesus told His disciples before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to ‘love as I have loved you.’ And we know His love moved figurative mountains – of sin and separation – and that ‘no greater love has a man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.’ We don’t see that kind of love much anymore, so yes….love can move mountains….because people aren’t used to seeing it and they would quickly start asking questions. Are you ready to give an answer?

1 Peter 3:15

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer

to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

But do this with gentleness and respect (New International Version)

Once the rest of the show went live – right after Jesus’ arrest – it was interesting to see how they would handle the rest of the events. Jesus appeared in an orange prisoner’s jumpsuit. I missed this allegory until I read it on Jenn’s blog ( – that ISIS uses orange jumpsuits for their prisoners before murdering them. What an incredible modern day portrayal – public floggings on bare backs, mutilations, crucifixions, martyred for faith. That’s powerful.

the one

I was very thankful they didn’t try to portray the death of Jesus. Instead the narrator shared the details. Even some of what was shared was new to my mom who is 83. How absolutely powerful to share the details of the most historic event with millions of people, many probably watching out of curiosity, and prayerfully many of whom will, as a result, start asking questions or maybe even be prompted to go to a church this Sunday. And who knows what just might happen then!  They might start to understand that Jesus Christ is absolutely crazy about them!

Beyond all the theatre stuff and creativity, what I MOST appreciate is the ministry behind the show. Just check out the website There are links to all kinds of stuff past a 2 hour special event show. Topics include ‘Who was Jesus and what does the Bible say about Him?’, ‘Who were the disciples?’, and ‘Four Ways Jesus Challenged the Status Quo.’ If that’s not ‘making the most of every opportunity’ I don’t know what is!

The story never gets old and it never hurts to find fresh ways to tell it in a way that your audience will relate. As Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:22 (NIV) “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” They didn’t water it down to make it palatable. They didn’t take a lot of ‘creative license’ with the facts of the story. They creatively told the same story in language today’s audience will understand. And who knows…the next time folks hear one of the songs from the show they may just think about it in a different light.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” says Luke 12:48….and I think everyone involved with the show used their God-given gifts in a way that glorifies Him. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s really all about?!

More reviews are available from Jenn at and Leisa at

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