Steve and I didn’t have cable last year and subsequently missed The Bible mini-series, so when I saw they were making a feature length film using the life of Jesus we were excited to check it out. I never know how I feel about reenactments of Jesus; of course they will never do Him justice, but if this movie was going to shed  light on the life He lived to reveal His mission and purpose, well, then I will support that effort.

The movie had my attention— it drew me in and caused my mind to continuously fact check what I knew to be true. It was “entertaining” yet still held a good amount Biblical integrity.

But then the crucifixion came. I hoped it wouldn’t duplicate what The Passion of the Christ had done so gruesomely. There was value in their imagery, but I longed for Son of God to find their theatrical climax elsewhere. Sadly, the flogging and crucifixion turned out to be the high note of the movie—and a good time to leave and use the little girls’ room.

It’s not that I doubt the crucifixion happened this way; there is a good chance what happened in real life was much worse. But it is awfully painful to watch a graphic representation of of what happened to Christ– my Savior and my King– and know this was a result of my sin.

After I peaked back in the door to make sure it was over, I hoped the movie would redeem itself, and express the true hope and joy that came after Jesus’ resurrection.

Yeah, it showed the stone rolled away, the doubt of the disciples and Jesus’ ascension, but that was pretty much it. The movie ended leaving a pit in my stomach—guilt, sadness, pain.

Jesus didn’t return to bring guilt, He returned to bring HOPE and JOY. The movie totally missed the fact that Jesus’ return to heaven meant believers now could have an even more intimate relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit, and that we would be better off now that Jesus was gone. Crazy, huh?!

“…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:15-18).  “But I tell you the truth: it is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).

Often times I long for what the disciples had—to walk with Jesus. But I always come back to these verses where Jesus explains this new and improved relationship we can have with him.

I wish the movie had expressed true joy, the next steps for Christians and this profound truth. Instead of leaving viewers with lingering guilt, it should have left us with an overwhelming sense of His love. Yes, Jesus experienced an atrocious death, but He is not asking for our guilt or apologies, instead, faith in Him. Our response to His sacrifice should not be burrowing in condemnation, but reminding ourselves of our victory in Christ, the fact that HE HAS OVERCOME and our freedom from sin and death. We have His Spirit inside of us, ready and able to help us move mountains in His name.

Honestly, I believe the church has diminished the importance of the Holy Spirit and quenched the true POWER it can have in our lives. I grew up believing it was a strange 3rd part of God, never really understanding His importance or value. If you are open to examining your view of the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend you check out Forgotten God by Francis Chan. It will open your eyes to profound truths the enemy has tried to diminish since the beginning of time.

So, I guess this wasn’t really a movie review, but a longing for the world to find hope and joy in Jesus instead of guilt and condemnation. As this Easter season draws near, I challenge you to draw near to the love displayed on the cross. Yes, Jesus’ death is a sad thing, but this sadness does not even compare to the what His resurrection means for us– LIFE, hope and true joy in Jesus.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

I would love to know your thoughts on the movie AND the book Forgotten God!