Let’s talk movies for a change shall we? No, I don’t mean what you streamed last online or what is playing at your local movieplex. I’m referring to a very specific genre of film, and one that has very special and unique meaning for me: the Jesus movie. If you are a Christian you have certainly seen your share of these in your life, and based on your age, you probably have seen quite a few and a large variety. As a Christian and a lover of film, I find it fascinating how the nature of these films change over time, some more “Hollywoodish,” and some more simple and historically accurate.
For example, you can look at the blond haired/blue eyed, Jeffrey Hunter in King of Kings, the darker featured Max Von Sydow in The Greatest Story Ever Told, and of course everyone’s default favorite, the raw telling of the crucifixion in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. My personal favorite, however, is the lengthy 1977 epic Jesus of Nazareth, written and directed by Italian filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli. This is a version of Jesus’s life that I grew up with watching during holy week in the 1980s, and it was presented as a miniseries over two nights on Palm Sunday and then Easter Sunday. I have always enjoyed watching this film, and being a movie snob, I always felt it held up as a quality retelling of Jesus’s life with great acting and a well written screenplay.
I am reflecting on this as I prepare for a presentation at a special-needs ministry conference this month, and felt called to share a particular scene from this film, and thanks to the magic of the Internet, I get to both watch and share it. The scene takes place later in the film, and it is one that many Christian parents of special-needs children refer to when they speak of God’s grace and provision for our families.