No film more than “Passion of the Christ” created such fervent emotion, from many corners of the film industry, the faith community [VIDEO], and from virtually every social circle. People of every persuasion were moved to see the depiction of the final 12 hours of Jesus Christ's time on earth portrayed as never before. The 2004 saga did not spare one lash of the whip in the scourging, certainly more brutal than many audiences had ever seen. The interplay of the presence of Satan into the fateful events was also striking in mel gibson's telling.

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The life of Christ never loses its inspiration, no matter how many retellings are offered under the watch of endless interpreters. Director and actor Mel Gibson is prepared to offer a further probing into “Passion of the Christ,” and Jim Caviezel, who took on the rigorous and emotional role in the original, will star again.

News of the project has social media pulsing with extreme feelings. From the Anti-Defamation League to celebrity bloggers and fans of faith-based films, the reception is already reaping its share of controversy.

Dollars and true devotion

The numbers, as they say, can’t lie, and the original “Passion of the Christ” pulled in $612 million from its starting $30 million budget. Beyond being lucrative, the film remained transformational in sparking a deeper and more relatable form of faith in many lives for years, inspiring documentaries such as “Changed Lives: Miracles of the Passion of the Christ,” Bible study tools, music [VIDEO], and many personal devotionals designed around the film. Much like “The Bible” miniseries, produced by Mark Burnett [VIDEO]and Roma Downey, products related to the film became an industry all their own.

The Anti-Defamation League and many Jewish leaders took exception to the angle of blame on Jewish rabbis in the film, and their fear was only heightened by Mel Gibson when he took off on an anti-Semitic, sexist and certainly off-color rant during a 2006 traffic arrest. His relationships with certain females have come to the rocky ground, too, such as the 2010 allegations of girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, for domestic violence and threatening comments. Jewish representatives insist that “scholarly and theological understanding” must be employed so that films like “Passion of the Christ” or its sequel do not “falsify history and fuel animus of those who hate Jews.”

Forget the hate

Jim Caviezel, for his part, certainly feels nothing but excitement for the follow-up film. The “Person of Interest” TV star has also portrayed numerous biblical figures and has been very open about his personal allegiance to faith. In a late 2016 interview, the actor then related that the project was “about three years out because it's a big subject.”

Caviezel insists that it will not be a hokey homage of “The Resurrection” (as it was then being titled by screenwriter Randall Wallace, who also penned “Braveheart”).

The actor elaborated that it will “enlighten” what the magnificent spiritual happening meant. Wallace has referred to the effort as “a huge and sacred subject.” Jim Caviezel embodies the apostle Paul in his most recent film, releasing March 28. The actor still has his chiseled physique from the original production and isn't shy about saying that this “Passion of the Christ” installment is “going to be the biggest film in history. It's that good.”

Hollywood has let go of any hard feelings for Mel Gibson. His Oscar nomination for 2016’s “Hacksaw Ridge” was evidence of his redemption among his peers. Predictably, though, snarky social media comments are running rampant. In these times when national leadership is tenuous and troubled, to say the least, and war, much less rumors of war, edges closer to reality every day, having a little boost in faith never hurts.

Jesus did teach to forgive “70 times 7," meaning infinitely, and Mel Gibson hasn’t approached that realm yet. With reports of over 2000 lies this year from the White House, lines at the DC box office might be long.