The following is a summary of the comments made by John MacArthur, as recorded in my personal notes, during the 2004 Shepherds' Conference and also from comments made by John MacArthur during the morning worship service at Grace Community Church on 3/7/04.
John MacArthur commented on the movie "The Passion of The Christ,"
-- That he was given an advanced viewing of the movie. Basically the movie accurately portrays the death and suffering of Jesus and ends with the resurrection. But most people [unbelievers] cannot figure out how it applies to them. Also, the real agony of Jesus was not just the physical suffering but the spiritual suffering (three hours on the cross).
-- That he did not see any violation of the Second Commandment. We don't worship the images on the film--they are not idols.
-- That if God wanted to present the gospel on video then He would have given us a video. God gave us a "Book" [Bible] that freezes truth and can be analyzed and studied and evaluated and compared. It has fixed letters, words, and sentences.
-- That film is not the effective means of sharing the gospel and this also applies to the "Jesus" film of the past, which I have always resisted.
-- That there must be an understanding of the message--the meaning of the events in the movie.
-- That more people will be exposed to Jesus' death and resurrection.
-- That Jesus was not the only person who suffered like the movie shows. 30,000 Jews suffered like Jesus-- suffered the physical suffering, and some even suffered more than Jesus because they were on the cross for a longer duration.
-- "Who killed Jesus?" God the Father killed Jesus, "Yet it was the LORD'S [God the Father] will to crush him [Jesus] and cause him to suffer...[Isaiah 53:10]. Also, "Jesus gave up His life--no one took it from Him," When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he [Jesus] gave up his spirit. [Matthew 27:50]. Thus, the primary cause of the death of Christ was the God the Father and Jesus.
-- The "Passion" movie has caused Jesus to become a "pop culture" icon. The film has put Jesus into the vernacular, which results in a loss of His sacredness, glory, and honor. Many who see the movie [unbelievers] will sympathize with Jesus, which doesn't help them. They will think of the Jesus they saw in "The Passion" without any doctrinal qualification at all.
-- "...they are throwing you a lob ball, if you can hit this one you can't hit anything." [A reference to the fact that a number of unbelievers will see this movie and we, as Christians, should take advantage of the opportunity to witness to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ].
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