We went to see Son of God when it opened in theaters last Friday.
First of all, a couple of *non*-disclaimers. We paid full price for tickets and I am getting nothing in exchange for this review. We don’t have TV reception and have never seen The Bible on the History channel.
This is one of those movies where you will find something to criticize if that is your purpose. I’ve read reviews where people complain that it isn’t 100% true to biblical facts, and reviews where people complain that it is “same old same old” with no artistic liberties and nothing new. I’ve read reviews where the sole purpose was to expose the producers or the actors for frauds or anti-Christians or, God forbid, mere humans.
I’m thankful I didn’t read those reviews ahead of time.
I saw Jesus, the Son of God.
I was captivated. It wasn’t about the actors. It was about the Word.
I loved the way it began in the beginning, with clips of His story from the Word of Creation all the way up until the Word became flesh. I loved the way it ended, with the Word of Re-Creation.
Jesus was submissive and authoritative at the same time. He spoke - He was the Word. Yes, I’d heard the words before, but they became more vivid, more real, more meaningful. He clung to the cross, committed to His calling.
Sure, it didn’t read in the exact order of John. But John was never about the specific order, anyway. He was about revealing the Word in the flesh. Maybe Jesus didn’t really tell the story of the tax collector’s prayer in Matthew’s presence, but maybe He did, and even if he didn’t, Matthew’s gospel reveals that humbleness, that awe of the Master you see in this movie. I loved the added details, the strong supporting characters, that made the Word come alive. Yes, they were fictional, but they revealed a screen writer or producer who got it – who got the essence of what the gospel writers conveyed. The history – the Roman occupation – added a realistic dimension to the familiar words.
I appreciated how some controversial details were avoided. For instance, I’ve heard many debates on what day Christ was crucified. The movie simply captions the resurrection: three days later.
We took 6yo Esmé with us. That’s because of who she is: captivated by truth no matter the form. All the same, I won’t be showing the movie to her Kindergarten class. The crucifixion scene, while not ostentatiously gory, was brutally real.
One transforming message for me was the realization – once again - that Jesus was not a champion of causes, but of people. His Kingdom is made up of people. While He never compromised on truth, His compassion extended to Judas, to Caiaphas, to all who played a role in His story. I get caught up in the drama of causes each day, wondering when to speak up, when I’m only going to be right in the wrong way, when I should take the maxim to heart, “evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” And this movie leant me some clarity, or at least a measuring stick, on when to speak and how to speak. “Look at the person’s heart,” I hear in a still small voice. “See the person through His eyes. Speak words that will touch the person, not simply convince others of your ‘rightness.’”
Esmé walked away from the movie singing the words to “Mary, Did You Know?” Me – I walked away with a quiet tune in my head, one that wasn’t included in the movie score, but rang through loud and clear anyway.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.