Updated: Sep 24, 2020
"But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matt. 6:33 NKJV)
"Are you crazy?" "You'll never work in Hollywood again!" "Nobody's going to go to a movie with the name 'Christ' in the title except maybe a few evangelicals!" "There's no market for it. You'll lose your shirt!"
These are, but a few of the sentiments hurled at Mel Gibson when it became apparent that he was going ahead with the Passion of the Christ movie project - just the ones we can print here. In addition to the scorn, Gibson spent 24 million dollars of his own money to make it happen in 2004. "Passion" was a critical juncture, if not a culmination, of Gibson's complicated spiritual journey.
But the vital thing to remember about this seminal film that screened for the first time on Ash Wednesday 15 years ago, is that Gibson did not care if all those insults and anathemas were true. He had decided to make the film. When he offered the role of Jesus to actor Jim Caviezel, Gibson told the actor he may never work again. "This may be your last film." Caviezel responded that it was okay and took the part.
But why did these filmmakers and actors take such a risk? The answer, at least for Gibson, lies in the verse above. Admittedly, after growing up in church, Gibson had wandered from the faith. He began to feel the need for cleansing and forgiveness. He became obsessed with the idea of Calvary and what Jesus had done for him. To put an exclamation point on that belief, Gibson's own hand appears as the one driving the nail into Jesus' hand in the movie.
But he had decided to put Jesus first – no matter the cost. That is what we at Light of Life Films purpose to do each and every day. Time and space prevent me from sharing all the bread crumbs of the "unDEFILED" journey to this point so, let's just say that God has led remarkably each and every step of the way, and we have no reason to believe He won't continue to do just that.
We, like Gibson, endeavor to be obedient to the promise found in Matthew 6:33. We actually believe it! The prophet Samuel explained it to King Saul in these simple, yet profound terms: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15:22c)
Honestly, it isn't easy to put Jesus first in everything we do. That commitment must be renewed daily. But by doing so, we crush the enemy's head in Jesus' power. What about you?
Who or what is first in your life? It's worth considering, don't you think?
Be blessed, Dan