Five of our MVNU students and I had the opportunity to see a screening of ‘Son of God’ Sunday night 2/23 at the 2014 National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, TN. On Saturday night, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey spoke briefly at NRB about the film, their inspiration to share what they believe, and the fact it was opening on 3,100 screens nationwide – huge for a faith-based film. Clearly, their success in producing ‘The Bible’ miniseries got the attention of the entertainment community.
This is my personal response to the film without spoiling too much:
First, it is shot and acted beautifully. It is of very high quality. If you are not aware, the movie tells the story from John’s perspective in the Gospel of John. He narrates the film from the opening scene from his exile at Patmos where he tells us, “in the beginning was the Word…” and away we go. If you saw ‘The Bible,’ you’ll recognize some of the flashbacks and opening montage.
There is no question the movie takes a few artistic liberties, but that’s to be expected. The scene with Lazarus is different in the fact that Jesus enters the tomb instead of calling from outside of it. There is an almost Jedi-like ‘force push’ in one scene that shows this Jesus is no ordinary man. You’ll find your own subtle differences with the script vs. the actual scripture.
Since I saw ‘Passion of the Christ’ in the theater, ‘Son of God’ was not as emotionally wrenching for me as I thought going in. ‘Passion’ was such an intense, raw depiction of the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Christ that it would be hard to duplicate that. Was it emotionally stirring? Yes. But the reality is, having seen this play out before on the big screen, it wasn’t as emotional for me.
What sets this film apart from ‘Passion’ is that it goes beyond Calvary to the resurrection, the appearance to Thomas and the others, and the Ascension. I loved that.
For the people dismissing it because they don’t trust Mark Burnett and Roma Downey…forget that. The film is not about them! Yes, Roma plays Mary, Mother of Jesus, but the point is, I didn’t see any mocking or blatant abuse of the biblical story. It doesn’t advance some crazy theological viewpoint.
Here’s what I keep coming back to:
1- Many of us have children who were too young to see ‘Passion.’ Our Rachel was 5, so she just wasn’t ready. But she can see this film and I want her to. There’s a 10-15 year range of our “Millenial or iY” children that haven’t experienced the story of Jesus played out on the big screen. They need to see this – with their friends and church leaders who can be ready to respond to them. They VERY LIKELY will be emotionally impacted by the violence of the trial and crucifixion. Be there for them!
2- As NRB President Dr. Jerry Johnson said this past weekend, we should be thankful that Hollywood wants to make faith-based films and recognizes that there is an audience for them. I would hope we would support those films. We, as the body of Christ, in the marketplace and in the work force, must be ready to answer the questions that will inevitably result. Answering those questions with truth and love, remembering when we discovered the beauty and majesty of Jesus ourselves, should drive us to intersect with those seeking or those who feel compelled to renew or re-ignite their relationship with Him!