Bulletin Article
March 7, 2004

The book is better!

By Doug Long

In the mid 70’s I read the book Jaws. It was an action thriller about a hungry shark that had a peculiar taste for humans. Then I saw the movie. The movie was good, but the book was better.

I also read the book Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy about a Soviet nuclear sub that went missing. Then I saw the movie. The movie was really good, but the book was better.

My kids made me read the entire Harry Potter series. I thought the books were pretty good. I couldn’t wait for the movies to come out since I figured with the new special effects they have today that surely the movie would be better than the book, but the book was better.

By now you are probably wondering where I am going with this, so here it comes. I recently saw the movie Passion by Mel Gibson. I thought he did an outstanding job depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In most movies concerning religion, and this one is no exception, a certain poetic license is usually taken to make the story “better”. For instance, when Jesus was praying at Gethsemane. The movie has the devil tormenting him and talking to him. The bible portrays this differently. Matthew 26: 36-46 tells us that Jesus went up to Gethsemane and took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John). Jesus told them to wait while he went “over there” and prayed. There was no mention of the devil tormenting him in the book of Matthew or in any of the other gospels. In fact in the book of Luke the bible records an angel coming down from heaven to strengthen him. (Luke 22:42-43).

The bible tells us that Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry Jesus cross. The movie depicts this correctly, but halfway to Golgotha the guards start savagely beating Jesus again when he collapses. In the movie Simon puts the cross down and tells the Roman soldiers to stop beating him or he would not carry the cross another step. I haven’t found this account in the bible. There are other areas where there are inaccuracies, but I won’t go into those. Over all, the movie did an excellent job depicting just how ghastly the scourging and crucifixion was. He tried to meld all of the gospel accounts into one coherent story, and it followed the bible pretty well. I think that he succeeded in his attempt to make a very moving and true story about our Lord and Savior come alive on the silver screen, but the BOOK is better!