Today I watched the movie The Case for Christ. I won’t go into how I felt about the movie itself or even the arguments it presented, except one which really spoke to me, though probably at tangent from what the movie was intended. At one point Lee Strobel travels all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles to meet with a Dr.Metherell to discuss the medical aspects of Christ’s crucifixion. Specifically, Strobel was beginning to follow the swoon theory and had it shot down as the doctor outlined medical evidences for Christ’s death.
What really struck me was the visceral picture of Christ’s scourging and crucifixion presented. I knew the facts of it already, but something about having it explained by a physician, albeit vicariously through an actor, that made it more real to me. And the thought struck me, silly as it may sound, but this was serious. Christ’s death was serious, and raw, and agonizing and all that can and often does get abstracted away as an event of the past, but it shouldn’t. If Christ was on the cross for the reason the Gospels tell us, then what He did was a very personal act. It can’t be viewed in any other way. Accepted or not. Christ died to restore our relationships with God, and our response needs to be one that accounts for the depth of love and yearning there.
Another thing the movie put in sharp relief was how violently angry and passionate unbelievers can be in their unbelief. It was obvious they really cared about what they believed. Lee Strobel, while still an atheist, told his wife if she kept pursuing her new faith in Christ he didn’t see a future for them and would leave. By that point in the movie it was already clear he deeply loved his wife. He launched his country-spanning investigation to build a case to convince her God and Christ were just legends. Many nights he would drown his sorrows in drinking and became belligerent and bitter, staying up till wee hours of mornings to do research. His work suffered and he seemed to be coming apart all to fight belief in Christ. What about those of us who do believe? The fight for faith was obviously very real to him, but what about us? Do we show that same zeal and conviction about our faith in Christ?
This movie indirectly challenged me. Not to a more reasoned faith, which I already pursue, but a more impassioned one. One that respects the kind of love and thereby the kind of relationship God wants with us.