Of course, I had seen still pictures, statues, and had the mental images my own mind created when reading the scripture. But none of that was as impacting as watching our Lord being led down the Via Dolorosa. Then seeing Him nailed to that cross while he was mocked and murdered.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is when Jesus told the thief on the cross next to him, "today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). The realization that all that is required for salvation is accepting Jesus as the Son of God, your savior, is phenomenal. It is recorded that the thief defended Jesus saying "He has done nothing wrong" and then the thief said “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”
What a glorious revelation to the world! So much was required of Jesus, but so little is required of us.
Jesus of Nazareth Movie Synopsis
Scriptural Accuracy vs. Artistic License
To this day, this is still my favorite movie about Jesus, and I have seen several. There are some areas where the movie deviates from scripture. Perhaps, that is for dramatic effect, or scripture interpretation. It may well be nothing more than combining scripture passages into one event. Regardless, it can be distracting. I recommend reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) for the complete truth.
Jesus of Nazareth
(40th Anniversary Edition)
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, VHS, or Prime Video In spite of the directors artistic liberties, I still recommend this movie. The main reason I prefer "Jesus of Nazareth" over others is because it starts before Jesus was born. Acknowledging the virgin birth and Joseph's obedience to God is unique and extremely important.
It includes Mary visiting Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, when they were both with child. The Bible says "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb". (Luke 1:41) That is truly a significant moment when you know that as an adult, John was a prophet that proclaimed the coming of the Messiah.
The movie includes the baptism of Jesus, preformed by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:13-17) However, the movie takes some liberties here that I am not too thrilled about. Scripture says: "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Instead of being scripturally accurate, the movie had John speak instead of God. That is a major difference for me. God did not speak through John.
For the most part, I liked the depiction of the disciples, as well as the choice of actors to play the parts. I know of nothing in the Bible that depicts Judas as graciously as this movie does. It is possible that Judas was tricked and deceived by people, but I haven't found that supported by scripture.
The last discrepancy that I would note about the movie, is with the discovery of the empty tomb. Scripture tells us that John and Peter ran to the tomb when Mary Magdalene told them the tomb was empty. (John 20:1-18) Sadly, that verification by John & Peter was omitted in the movie.
Scripture also records in John 20:17, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." Only a portion of this scripture was quoted in the movie.
I would also recommend reading about the multiple accounts of Jesus appearing and interacting with the disciples after his resurrection. This is an example of how the movie combined several events into one.
Why I Recommend Jesus of NazarethIn spite of the discrepancies above, I would still recommend watching "Jesus of Nazareth". The movie is a reminder of what happened on Good Friday and Easter. It also serves as an introduction that will, hopefully, cause anyone to seek further knowledge of Truth through the scripture.
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