This page exists to provide historical context behind the events as seen in the movie The Passion of the Christ through the perspective of ancient Jewish culture.
Who Is Jesus Christ?
The promised Messiah, lived a remarkable life as a Jewish rabbi. Through his ministry, death, and resurrection, God fulfilled his covenant promises.
It happened just like He said it would
Passion week outline
Jewish People of Jesus' Day
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Related Definitions Full Glossary >>
Crucify - To nail or tie a person to a cross until that person died. A cross was made of rough beams of wood nailed together in a "t" shape. Jesus died by this method, which was usually used for criminals.
Christ - The title of Jesus that means "anointed" or "chosen one" in Greek. The Hebrew word is "Messiah." Jesus Christ is God's chosen one to bring salvation to his people.
Chutzpah (pronounced 'hoots-pa') - To have passion; Utter nerve; effrontery: ?has the chutzpah to claim a lock on God and morality? (New York Times)
Gethsemane - The image of the gethsemane on the slope of the Mount of Olives where Jesus went the night before his crucifixion provides a vivid picture of his suffering. The weight of the world's sins pressed down upon him like the heavy slab of the olive crusher. His sweat, "like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44), flowed from him like olive oil.
Jew - At first, this was the name for someone from the tribe of Judah. Later it came to be used for anyone who was from the family of Jacob (Israel).
Passover - A Jewish celebration feast. It reminds the people how God saved them from slavery in Egypt. Part of the meal includes the Passover Lamb. At the first Passover a lamb was killed and its blood was placed on the people's doorframes. This was so God would "pass over" the homes of his people and spare the lives of their firstborn sons. Jesus is the Passover lamb for all of God's people. He was sacrificed so his people could be saved from sin and death.
Pharisees - Means "the separate ones." Descended from the Hasidim ("pious ones"); considered obedience to Torah to be the heart of a godly life. Constituted the largest Jewish sect during Jesus' lifetime; exerted great control over society through synagogues.
Priest - A person who brought sacrifices and prayers to God for all the people. In Israel, a priest had to be from the tribe of Levi.
Resurrection - The rising again of Jesus on the third day after the Crucifixion.
Zealots - The term Zealot technically applies to a person who belonged to the party or "philosophy" that began in Gamla, but it is often applied to all Jewish rebels who resisted Roman authority and Jewish collaborators.
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