The Passion: gospel musical on Fox


Fox aired “The Passion” tonight which was the passion narrative in a contemporary setting, told with popular music. Songs from groups and artists like Whitney Houston, Jason Mraz, Imagine Dragons, Creed, and Jewell were featured. I think it’s helpful to see that popular songs can carry deep Spiritual themes. In a culture that is becoming increasingly less Biblically literate, it’s interesting to tell the story in this way.

All truth comes from God. When music or movies tap into these realities, I don’t think we should turn away. We should embrace these things. For some, this approach will seem too worldly. But let us remember that Fox is a television network and not a church.

Along with the music, the clothing for Jesus and the disciples was current. Instead of being arrested by the Jewish ruling council, it depicts the police arresting Jesus. The two thieves on the cross were represented by two other inmates in the back of a paddy wagon.

Towards the end of the program, host Tyler Perry described the tortuous process of crucifixion. He talks about Jesus sacrificing himself for all of our sins. He talks of Jesus fulfilling the scriptures and the love of Jesus. He talks about the Romans sealing the tomb. In talking about the gospel for believers, Perry said “It summons feelings of deep faith. A promise fulfilled and our personal salvation.”

He talks about how some people believe we should see first and then believe. The story of the passion inspires us to believe and then to truly see.

One of the things that really struck me about the program was just how perfectly some of the songs fit the theme.

For instance, when police cars pull up to arrest Jesus, and Judas comes forward, the two sing “Demons” by Imagine Dragons:

When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold

When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale

I wanna hide the truth
I wanna shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

The program aired in New Orleans. It featured a crowd carrying a large cross through the French Quarter, to the main stage. As mentioned, Tyler Perry was the host. Jencarlos Canela was Jesus. Trisha Yearwood was on the set, singing as Mary. Seal was Pontius Pilate. Daughtry was Judas.