I'm getting very excited about the forthcoming BBC production The Passion. Having spent a good deal of time reading and watching the material on the BBC website, I have to say that this looks like a real quality film.
I encourage you to watch it - broadcast times are on the BBC website - and it's already available to pre-order from Amazon on DVD (released the day after Easter).
We are basing two Easter Day guest services on the film and have found the BBC really helpful in getting publicity material together for those services. So thanks to Tim Leith, the beeb's picture campaign manager, for allowing us to use images from the film in our publicity.
One the strengths of the film appears to be the way the writer and director have woven together the familiar story of the last week of Jesus' life from three distinct perspectives - Jesus, Caiaphas and Pilate - and listening to them speak, I reckon they've got those perspectives about right.
I like the idea that these are three dimensional characters, struggling with a situation in which they are trying to do the right thing as they see it. One of the interesting things that the producer Nigel Stafford- Clark says in the interview on the BBC website is that Jesus drove these events and that the other two were forced into them by Jesus' initiative. I thought that was an astute observation.
The writer, Frank Deasy, added that Caiaphas wanted to make the case to his people that sacrificing Jesus might make sense if it saves the people of Israel from the wrath of Rome (something from John's Gospel) and that Jesus was looking to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world - and that these two motives somehow meshed as the drama unfolds.
I think this promises to be one of the best things the BBC has done for ages and very possibly one of the best dramas ever made on the life of Christ - certainly his last week.
So, set the video and watch it. Then come to church and talk about it - come to ours if you're local...