The movie SILENCE tells the story of two Jesuit missionaries facing the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor, at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden.
Adam Driver plays Francisco Garrpe and Andrew Garfield plays Rodrigues along with Liam Neeson, who’s character is Cristovao Ferreira, their mentor.
In their ultimate test of faith, they were required by the Inquisitor to step on an image of Christ or go through horrible torture and even death.
The focus seemed to be on Garfield’s character as a priest who, toward the end of the movie, did step on the image to save people’s lives that suffered before his eyes.
In his doubt of God’s silence, Rodrigues hears a voice supposedly of Jesus but sounding to me like Ferreira reasoning with him to step on the image and deny the savior. Bizarre.
The reasoning seemed logical to imply the cross represents humanity trampling on Jesus and the voice understood if Rodrigues would do so.
But, I thought, “Jesus came to die for our sins, to redeem and restore humanity. Not just so humanity could step on him, even though this moment in Silence showed how it still does.”
Why am I bringing this up?
Ah, the games that can go on in a believer’s mind to save anyone from suffering for their faith, only to find they’ve betrayed the savior.
Yet, the Apostle Paul wrote to Roman Christians about the subject and told them they might have to suffer or die for their belief in Jesus. This was close to his heart, while under house arrest for his faith. But there was hope, because Jesus is alive and returning with and for his body of believers scattered throughout the world.
To me, the only character in the movie that seem to have integrity was Garrpe who swam out to save the lives of people being drowned and he himself murdered before Rodrigues.
Eventually and sadly, Rodrigues recants his faith to trample on the image of Christ.
Didn’t the Apostle Peter find himself trapped by a maiden at the trial of Jesus to betray him? Isn’t there a potential betrayer in every believer where we could prostitute ourselves for what seems to be a right, logical and spiritual purpose?
Maybe that was the significance of the movie but again there were people of faith dying who wouldn’t do that, like Garrpe did.
As an eighteen-year-old student at the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music, I stayed back in the dorm during a vacation break to work.
I was in my room when I got a knock on the door.
“Jerry, you’re the son of a prison evangelist. You know how to deal with guys in the street. We have a guy down in the lounge we think you can talk too. Would you come?” the student asked.
Like a well meaning but arrogant Rodrigues, I went to see the fellow.
After fifteen minutes, this man off the street looked at me and said, “Nobody loves me!”
“I do,” I stated.
The man said, “If you do, you would take that bible and throw it down on the floor.”
So I did that.
The man looked up at me with an ever so small grin and said, “If that’s the kind of love you have, I don’t want it.”
Caught in my betrayal of Jesus, I was crushed. I had been conned! I was Rodrigues!
I look back on that moment with shame.
God has forgiven me, and like he did for Peter, gave me a ministry over time. Maybe that’s one reason why I am in a position years later to address what Twisted Thinking is and how it hurts others.
I was angry after the movie because of the harm of such thinking; that it’s understandable to trample on the image of Christ just because I care about others who are suffering or dying for their faith, or wondering if anyone really loves them. What a trap!
I am so glad Jesus didn’t give in to any of Satan’s temptations. Aren’t you?
“If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Ps 130:3,4,5 NIV
Jesus never fails.