An Open Letter to
Mel Gibson from a Jew for Jesus
Dear Mel (is it OK if I call you Mel?),
I hope you won't feel like this letter is an intrusion, but with
all the flack you are experiencing right now over "The Passion," I
just had to write. This ordeal has to be tough for you to take. All
the controversy, I mean. But then you're probably not completely surprised.
Anytime anyone makes a statement about Y'shua (Jesus) they stir up
a controversy. When he walked the earth, no one could take him lightly.
Some were attracted to him and not only believed him but loved him
as a best friend. Others were suspicious and all they could let themselves
feel was fear or hatred--and if his statements were untrue, who could
blame them? After all, Jesus did make some incredible (some might
say outlandish) claims:
He claimed to be the Messiah:
See his conversation with a woman: "The woman said, 'I know that
Messiah' (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain
everything to us.' Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he"
He claimed he could forgive people of their sins:
See his conversation with a paralyzed man: "Then behold, they brought
to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He
said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven
you" (Matthew 9:2).
He claimed he had the same eternal nature and name as the Almighty:
See his conversation with Jewish leaders: "Then the Jewish leaders
said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?"
Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham
was, I AM" (John 8:57-8).
Whether or not people believed his claims, Jesus just said and did
the things we might expect the Messiah to say and do. That did cause
an uproar, ultimately leading to his crucifixion. Which brings me
back to your movie. Maybe you didn't expect quite such an uproar for
just making this film. Maybe you thought that people wouldn't get
all that upset. Please try to understand. It's just that over the
years, many so-called "Christians" have blamed my Jewish people
for Jesus' death. The hatred and persecution we've endured as
a result is tragic, and that's made some Jews very defensive when
it comes to the subject of the Passion. As a committed believer in
Jesus, I'm sure you recognize that such hatred is the antithesis of
what the New Testament teaches, what Jesus intended and what your
film portrays. Am I not right? Besides, you and I both know that this
"blame game" really misses the point.
After all, the Hebrew Scriptures predicted that the Messiah would
die for the sins of others.
"He was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression
of my people to whom the stroke was due" (Isaiah 53:8).
Not only that, but the crucifixion didn't take Jesus by surprise--it
was the whole reason God sent him on this necessary but horrific mission.
"No one takes it (my life) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself."
(John 10:18) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and
only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
life" (John 3:16).
Most importantly, Jesus did not stay dead.
"Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him" (Mark
So how can anyone be blamed for the death of a person who is in fact
alive? Messiah's willing sacrifice and resurrection bring hope to
a world that is desperately in need of some good news. Jesus stands
ready to be our helper and redeemer and friend! Not everyone wants
to hear that. Maybe they've never read the records of his life for
themselves. Or maybe they've heard things about Jesus that are wrong.
Whatever the case, I just want to tell you to hang in there, Mel.
There are lots of us Jewish people who are grateful that you made
this film. Because of "The Passion," this important topic is being
discussed passionately--and that's a good thing.
A Jew for Jesus
Jews for Jesus • 60 Haight Street • San Francisco, CA 94102
Used by permission of Jews for Jesus. Visit their Web site at www.jewsforjesus.org.
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