to share Christ with people who have seen the film
Films about Jesus usually
offer short highlights of many events in His life without focusing
for a significant length of time on the price He paid to purchase
our salvation. The Passion depicts our Lord’s suffering and death in greater
detail than any previous film of Jesus’ life.
The Passion focuses
primarily on the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life — His
suffering and death. Also in the film are several flashbacks to
significant events in Jesus’ life. The final scene is the
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Most nonbelievers who
view the film are deeply moved by the magnitude of the Lord’s
suffering as He bore the sins of the world on the cross. It opens
the door of opportunity to witness for the first time in the lives
of some nonbelievers. For those with whom Christians have been
sharing their faith, the film makes an inspirational impact that
will help move them toward a decision to respond to the Holy Spirit’s
convincing work in their minds and hearts.
But a film will not
do our witnessing for us! It is not a substitute for our personal
ministry in the lives of nonbelievers. Few people make decisions
to receive Christ because of a single presentation of the gospel.
Believers who assume that simply attending the film will give
a person an adequate witness don’t understand fully how
the Holy Spirit leads people to faith in Christ.
A critical part of
effective witnessing is timing. God works in nonbelievers’ lives and allows
us the privilege of entering into that work. Because God is at
work in the circumstances, minds and hearts of people, we must
be ready to respond to them when He gives us opportunities.
Both the apostles Peter
and Paul taught the early Christians to be effective witnesses
by being responsive to nonbelievers. Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give
an answer to everyone who
asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”1
And Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Conduct yourselves with
wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let
your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt,
so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”2