The last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ began from his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane till his death on the cross. Even though we cannot really re-capture the reality of what Jesus endured for us during his final hours on earth, Mel Gibson’s biblical film The Passion of the Christ came as close as we can expect a movie to revisit the crucifixion.
However, you will be surprised to learn that there were actually a few bizarre but interesting events that happened behind the scenes of this great religious movie.
#1. Lightning Struck On the Set Multiple of Times
“The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.”
– Psalms 29:7
According to some studies, lightning can strike less than 200 000 people per year and in other words, it can also be said that it’s fairly rare. However, what if I tell you that it happened at least three times on the set of The Passion of the Christ?
In an interview, the lead actor of the movie, Jim Caviezel, explained what really happened:
“While we were filming for the Sermon on the Mount sequence,, I was lit up like a Christmas tree. I knew it was going to hit me about four seconds before it happened and then a fire was coming out from the right and left side of my head and my whole body was illuminated. I looked like I went to see Don King’s hairstylist.”
However, Jim was not the only one who was struck by lightning. Jan Michelini, the assistant director, was actually zapped twice.
But, how do we explain these happenings? Coincidence? Or, shall we say that God sent forth his lightning on the set?
#2. The Lead Actor Accidentally Got Whipped Twice
“Then he released Barnabas to them. But he had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified.”
– Matthew 27:26
Jesus’ Crucifixion was one of the most brutal means of capital punishment, but before crucifying him, the Romans scourged him with a special whip called the flagrum. Many scientists used the Shroud of Turin and other means to discover some of the ways Jesus was tortured.
The main tool of scourging, the flagrum, had three strings of leather coming off of a stick with two leads balls on each strings and these lead balls were made up of sharp pieces of glass, bones and metal. The whiplike tool was made in such a way so as when inflicted to the victim, it would tear his flesh apart. As per research, lashing on the back and front of the victim’s body, the flagrum could cut deep into the flesh severing small blood vessels, nerves, muscles and skin. The victim is usually scourged until his bones show up. As a result, the victim is left disfigured, exhausted and with a fluid loss from the development of pleural effusion. Some studies indicated that one could even die only from scourging alone.
Now, let’s get back to the topic.
Even though Jim was playing the role of Jesus Christ, he could not be scourged in real life and hence, a hidden whipping post was positioned behind him during the famous bloody scourging scene of the film. However, one of the actors doing the flogging accidentally missed his aim and whipped the actor twice.
“The lash hit me with such a velocity that I couldn’t breathe. It’s like getting the wind knocked out of you. The stinging is so horrific that you can’t get air. When I turned around and looked at the guy, I tell you, I may have been playing Jesus, but I felt like Satan at that moment and a couple of expletives came out of my mouth,” Jim recalled in an interview with Today.
If receiving two lashes meant a whole world of torment for the actor, now imagine how much Jesus must have gone through when he received 39 lashes. And all of these sufferings only for us!
#3. Jim Caviezel Hurt Himself Carrying the Cross
“Carrying his own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”
– John 19:17
After being brutally and severely scourged, hit in the head with a reed and with a crown of thorns being pressed into his head, Jesus had to carry his own cross on the way to Calvary and it is said that the cross is usually more than half the weight of a typical Jewish man.
Apparently, during the filming of this scene, Jim Caviezel experienced a shoulder separation when the cross was dropped on his shoulder. He explained that it was as if 600 pounds were dropped on him.
Maybe it was not a bad experience as considering what the scripture says, if we suffer with Christ, we will also reign with Him. But the only difference is that compared to the actor who carried the cross only for a small specific sequence, Jesus traversed the full length of the journey.
Despite these weird occurrences, the movie still made a profound impact on the world. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, we suggest you start now and if you’ve got more questions for us, write us in the comment section below!