If I look back far enough I remember the first time that I 'got' Good Friday. I was 7.
I watched some movie about the life of Jesus at a theater. I don't know know which one it was. I have researched but haven't found the answer. It could have been the 1979 version of the Jesus movie that was updated in 1989.
But it was 1979. Movies were not so easily watched then. It was the days before digital download, itunes, DVDS, and even before VHS, if anyone still remembers that. I know the VHS was invented but it had not become household, at least not for families like mine who had little cash to spare. We had a black & white TV with a large antenna.
I had been to church that morning.
But seeing the crucifixion on the screen...it was nothing like the Passion of the Christ. It was rated PG. There was not that much blood. But I could not believe anyone would do that to my Jesus. Lumps in my throat. Agony. I cried. I shut my eyes. I decided I could not bear to watch something like that again.
Fast forward to 2004. Everyone is raging about the Passion of the Christ. All the staff at my church went to see it the night it came out: Ash Wednesday. I avoided it like the plague.
But I am a Bible professor and of course all my students began questioning me about it. So I went to watch it. Alone.
I was not alone in the theater but the experience itself was surreal. There was a group of women in front of me: about 20 of all ages that cried like the women following Jesus in the film.
The group behind me was eating popcorn, drinking Cokes and even making inappropriate comments.
I sat alone, shaking. Wondering how anyone could eat and watch something so gory at the same time. This is not just a normal movie for your entertainment! I wanted to shriek at them.
About the time they crammed the crown of thorns on his head, I left. I couldn't take it anymore.
There is no way anyone could have survived that loss of blood as long as it took. They went overboard. I understand why. but I can't watch.