Thursday, March 6, 2014

'Son of God' and Beyond

I have seen several movies about the life of Jesus, including The Passion of the Christ, the Matthew Project and King of Kings along with a few others, but I believe that ‘Son of God’ is my favorite. I left the theater so encouraged and moved that I decided to write a post about it and show you what I took away from it, or rather, what He gave me through it. The movie had an unbelievable soundtrack, (composed by my favorite composer, Hans Zimmer) and a powerful message that went far beyond John 3:16, all the way to its fulfillment in the last lines of the Bible in Revelation. I have neither the time nor the desire to discuss plot, storyline, actors, etc. the things people usually discuss when writing a review and seem to think are the most important. I wanted, rather, to tell you why I think it is the best Jesus movie I have seen, to discuss its Biblical accuracy and how it affected the viewer, and to show you how it impacted me and what it left me with. I hope that I will have the space to fit all that in.

So then, why do I think it is the best Jesus movie I have seen? Firstly, the exterior factors. The soundtrack had a lot to do with my opinion of the movie. To me, soundtrack is one of the most crucial factors in determining a persons overall response to a movie, especially my response to a movie. Putting the right music in at that right moment is key to getting the emotions of the viewer and making your movie well remembered. In a future post, I will go into that in further detail. Soundtrack, acting, set, and filming are the most important external factors, I suppose, but they are boring and while they contributed each in their little share to my conclusion about the movie, they were not crucial. I will move on to the more important factors.

I prefer to think of movies as stories, not movies and that goes for ‘Son of God’ especially. I believe that people get caught up in action, special effects, filming, and fan-girling. ‘Son of God’ is a perfect example of how relatively unknown actors can produce a very good movie, but ah! stop right there…It is not a movie. It is a story, the best story ever told. Do not see it as a collection of random actors and filmstrips. It is the most important story ever told. That must be clear. Now that it has been made clear, we will move on.

Historical accuracy is very important, and some people have complained that the movie did not follow the Bible precisely. On the one hand, I would agree, and say, no it did not, (like when Jesus went into the tomb to raise Lazarus from the dead) but on the other hand, for the other things, I would say, “What does it matter?” The things that were omitted, paraphrased or changed were not major changes and did not undermine in any way the context or message of the Scriptures. Honestly, we do not know the exact chronology of the events written down in the Gospels and that is okay. What really matters is what Jesus said and why, not exactly where He said it. Even with the mistake of having Him go into the tomb to raise Lazarus instead of calling him out, I do not think that should affect too much the fact that He still held the power to raise Lazarus from the dead! As John himself said in closing his book, And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” If you’re a Christian and up enough on your Bible trivia to know that something was left out or misplaced, but you also know that it did not take away from the message or twist Scripture, then that shouldn't matter that much. You know what’s being left out so you’re okay and the unbeliever coming in is not going to be thrilled with a three and a half hour long movie that details every miracle that Jesus performed or every word He said. I say this with the utmost respect, with the premise that Christ does not need three and a half hours to show the people His power.

I believe the directors realized that because there were so many Jesus movies, and the life of Jesus was so well known even among many secular circles in the modern world, it would be ‘just another preachy Jesus movie’ to many people. In that light, I think they did a fantastic job of producing a movie that broke some of the traditional boundaries set down in previous movies. The parables and words that Christ performed and preached were present at the right moment and the right time, allowing you to grasp their full power in light of the context they were presented in. I think they definitely produced a new Jesus figure, one whom I thought was far more accurate and like the Jesus of the Bible, not unlike him. That leads me back to the first point and also to the third topic, for they’re rather similar, the latter being the cause for the former. The things that stuck with me and made me give it a 5 star rating, are as follows.

Firstly, the power of Christ; not the power to perform miracles, but the power in His entire figure, His confidence in the message He had been sent to preach, His courage and joy amid His suffering. It is hard to explain the things one feels when they see that divine power. I struggle to control my disappointment and disgust with those who think that because Christ was meek, He was weak. Perhaps my anger is misplaced, but I do not believe it is unfounded. Christ is not weak. He is powerful and just because He took the form of a man, does not mean He was weak. Does He not say that He could ask the father and instantly have the aid of twelve legions of angels? A man, yes, but not a weak one.

I cried as the first five minutes of the movie flashed before my eyes, for it showed Christ’s power, and how He was there, with our ancestors, on Day 1 and what He left behind so that He could save us. I cried again as the last five minutes went by, for it showed that He will be there on the last day too. "It is done,” he says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end...Behold, I am coming quickly.” This was interesting and new for me, because although I had read this Scripture, I had never watched a Jesus movie where it was emphasized so much like it was at the end of this one. These movies tend to end everything at the Resurrection, as if everything was going to be fine and happy after that, but they do not mention His role in the end, and they leave you with that oft-quoted, but never explained and less studied, sentence, “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the Age.” It did not point ahead enough to what was coming like Alpha and Omega does and in the context of the movie, that sentence was powerful for me.
Another line that was put into ‘Son of God’, was in the last scene, when Christ appeared to John on the Island of Patmos. We do not know the exact details about this, but we do know that what Jesus said is straight from the book of Revelation. John was weeping and told Jesus that he had been waiting for Christ. Christ answered him with the second part of this verse: (verse 4) “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away…Behold I am making all things new.” I cried when I heard it. I took off my hat and cried as the movie closed and the credits rolled by to the song, Mary Did You Know?’ I had disliked that song before I saw this movie, but that was because I had not understood it fully. The version that played was incredible.

‘Son of God’ omitted the about the end of the age, like it did a few other famous translations of specific sentences Christ said that have become almost as famous as Christ Himself, as if changing it would somehow lessen their relevance. It would be silly to think that because John 3:16 says ‘For God loved the world so much’ instead of ‘For God so loved the world’ that somehow decreases or lessens the power of the verse. Paraphrasing did not take away from the movie, it added to it. It gave the movie that bit of originality to set it apart from the other movies and give you a new perspective, one that is the subject of my final point.

As we contemplate the life of Jesus, and how He was submissive and enduring of suffering and persecution, let us not forget that He could have called out to His Father at any time and that His Father would have “at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Perhaps you are not aware, but twelve legions is approximately 60,000 soldiers. Can you imagine what 60,000 heavenly angels could do to the entire Roman army? How much more could they do to the feeble Temple guard? Remember this when you study the humility of Christ. Do not forget Christ’s power as you study His love, for God is both the Lion and the Lamb, the Judge and the Redeemer, the King and the Sacrifice. This post is far too long as it is, and I apologize for that, but I wished to address every possible objection raised against the movie and to share some more besides. I will close with these words from our King, ““Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end…Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him.”

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”


  1. Great post! I haven't seen the movie yet and didn't really care to, since it looked kind of corny to me. But after reading your post I definitely will watch it now. I completely agree with what you said about the soundtrack; it really does make or break a movie. Oh and Hans Zimmer is amazing, I love him I even have a Hans Zimmer Pandora station! lol. I started a new blog, you should come check it out!

  2. Thank-you! No, it is definitely not corny. I was very moved and struck by it. Yes, Hans Zimmer is amazing. I have the entire soundtrack on my Spotify and listened to if for weeks. Do you have a Spotify yet?

    I will definitely check out your blog!