Renowned evangelist Billy Graham has screened Mel Gibson’s new film “The Passion of the Christ” and says the movie moved him “to tears.”
“I have often wondered what it must have been like to be a bystander during those last hours before Jesus’ death,” Graham said in a statement released from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “After watching ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus’ death and resurrection – which Christians believe are the most important events in human history.
“The film is faithful to the Bible’s teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus’ death, because we have all sinned,” Graham continued. “It is our sins that caused His death, not any particular group. No one who views this film’s compelling imagery will ever be the same.”
The comment about who is to blame for Jesus’ death was a reference to some critics who claim the film is anti-Semitic because, they feel, it blames Jews for the execution.
Gibson has consistently denied the film is anti-Semitism and has insisted his movie is based strictly on the biblical accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
According to the statement from Graham’s organization, Gibson came to see the 85-year-old evangelist twice, before and after he screened the film. Graham says he became convinced of Gibson’s “deep sincerity and great desire” that the motion picture be used to bring a new emphasis on the events that occurred two millennia ago.
Actor Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the film, reportedly joined in those meetings.
As WorldNetDaily reported, “The Passion of the Christ” is scheduled to open on Feb. 25, Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.