In the last scene of The Passion of the Christ Mel Gibson actually shows us the Resurrection, from inside the tomb. We see the linens collapse, the ones that wrapped the body, and then we see the Risen Jesus, crouching on the floor, naked and handsome and strong, and all of us in the theater know who it is–there’s no question about it—it’s Jesus—it’s the same actor who’s been playing Jesus all along–and there’s this stirring, military music, and the drums are beating, and it’s all dramatic and cinematic and nothing at all like the Resurrection as it’s described in the gospels themselves, because the gospels themselves never describe the Resurrection. They can’t.
In all four gospels we are always outside the tomb and the tomb is always empty—the angels keep telling us, he’s not here, he’s not here–and the emphasis is always on the act of seeing, on the act of interpreting, and the people who are seeing and interpreting are mixed up and afraid, and even when Jesus appears to them, even when he’s standing right in front of them, they don’t recognize him at first, they don’t know who he is, and they can never hold on to him when they finally do. He always vanishes.
We could never have filmed the Resurrection. It was too real. It wasn’t just some strange thing that happened a long time ago but something that is always happening and is happening still.
To film it we’d have to show someone standing at the sink, doing the dishes.
To film it we’d have to show someone sitting in the living room, reading.
The clouds through the window.