In a few days, millions will flock to the nation's and world's theaters to see The Passion of Christ -- esteemed actor and director Mel Gibson's account based on the last 12 days of our Lord Jesus Christ before his death on the cross.
Advance screenings have been held in an effort to gauge the impact the movie will have on the public. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
I have not seen the movie in advanced showings. And I will be in a comfortable seat to see it when it comes to a theater near me.
The movie will do many things. It will bring tears, grief, shock, amazement and I even venture smiles when we think about God's love for us in that he sent His son to die for our sins and the sin of mankind.
But the thing it will not bring... the thing that is most needed... is salvation for the viewer. That is a step that the viewer must take on his or her own. They must go to God with their lives as filthy rags and allow God's love and salvation to make them white as snow.
While Jesus' death on the cross made a bridge between sin and life, a person must walk on the bridge.
To do so you must admit your need - "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23.
Next, one must be willing to repent. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." - Revelation 3:20.
Following that, a person must believe that Jesus Christ died for them on the Cross and rose from the grave. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" - 1 Peter 3:18.Then one must, through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." - Romans 10:9.
Having done those things, a person begins their new life in Christ and can look forward to heaven instead of hell. However, to deepen and enrich this new life, they should talk to God in prayer every day, read the Bible every day to better know Christ and His desires for the Christian and tell others about Christ. Then add worship, fellowship, and service with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached.
Lastly, as Christ's representative in a needy world, we should demonstrate our new life by our love and concern for others.
So if you decide to see the depiction of Christ's ultimate sacrifice, watch it and learn. But remember. God's bridge is there. It will be your decision on whether to walk on it to achieve heaven.
If you are looking for a place to begin your walk, begin with the Bible. Through it, Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.
If you are looking for a congregation to become a part of, I invite you to worship at Bethel Baptist Church on Holt Street. Simply put, you will find a smile and a place to grow in Christ.