Last night was a new experience for me. I went to see a movie, in an actual movie theater, on opening night. Those who know me have probably fallen out of their chairs. I don’t particularly care for theaters. It’s nothing spiritual; I just don’t like hanging out in dark places with strangers where there are more germs than the bottom of my shoe. And, as far as I can remember, I have never gone to a movie on opening night. The last movie I saw in a theater was Passion of the Christ and I left half way through. So my first observation of my experience was…I didn’t die from anxiety.
Son of God, the movie, is told from the perspective of John’s Gospel. And if you are not familiar with the Bible, you may want to read (or at least skim) the Gospel according to John before you see this movie. I sat through it trying to remember what it was like being a new Christians with no Bible knowledge. I think I may have been confused if I didn’t have the knowledge I have now. But I should also clarify I did not see the Bible miniseries that was out last year. If you saw it, you may be able to follow along better.
My favorite version of the life of Christ has always been “Jesus of Nazareth” (1975). It was based on Matthew’s Gospel. However, the screen writers for “Son of God” did a great job bringing this movie up to date, so to speak. They wrote the lines in a more contemporary fashion so today’s audience would understand what was happening. I think it’s why the miniseries proved to be so popular among unchurched people and new Christians. Yet, the authors kept the words on the Cross in a traditional format. You can really see their effort to portray the crucifixion untarnished and unblemished.
“Jesus of Nazareth” may still be my favorite movie, but here is what I think “Son of God” contributes. First, they do a remarkable job portraying the political unrest between the Romans and the Jews. We often miss this context when we read the Bible. Second, they focus on Christ’s teachings as opposed to His miracles, which is consistent with John’s Gospel. John tells us about very few of His miracles in contrast to the other Gospel writers. Third, they highlight how Jesus includes the marginalized and disenfranchised probably better than any life of Christ movie I have ever seen.
If you are considering seeing this movie, the third highlight will be worth your money alone. My favorite scene in this entire movie; Jesus calling Matthew to come, follow Him. I am not going to spoil it for you.But if that scene doesn’t tug at your heart then you may want to check to see if it is still beating. I think the scene with Matthew, the tax collector, summarizes our culture’s heart cry. They desperately want to believe that Jesus still loves the sinners, the down-and-outers, the marginalized, the hurting, the hungry, the abandoned, and you.
“Son of God” stole my heart for this reason alone. I hope you hear the message of the Son of God; He loves you, He is calling you, He even has authority to forgive you.
Win in 2014!