My Favorite Jesus Film

The ten to fifteen hours of weekly sermon preparation have made posting a blog quite a challenge. I enjoy writing, but my teaching and preaching in the local congregation to which God called me must come first.

The other week I was asked by one of our life group leaders if I could recommend any films that have redemption as their theme. While going through the DVDs on the shelf and scanning online streaming services, I spotted my favorite Jesus film. The Gospel of John film may be the best films on the life of Jesus. The virtues of the film are many, but the two that stand out to me are:

  1. It is entirely grounded in the text of Scripture (the “script” is essentially the Gospel of John, word-for-word from the Good News Translation).
  2. Henry Ian Cusick’s portrayal of Jesus. It takes superb acting skills to combine the compelling toughness and tenderness of Jesus—and it’s here that many of the Jesus films are disappointing.

Here is the scene reenacting John 4, where Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Each time I watch this scene and others like it in the film I am reminded afresh how the gospel becomes clearer and clearer until it becomes REAL in the heart of the believer:

The first time I saw this scene I was knocked over realizing visually that Jesus was pointing to the Samaritans running toward him. Up to that point I thought that when Jesus said “harvest” and “fields”, “reaps” and “plants” he was using the literal fields around them as illustration. Now I saw how “harvest” was linked to the people hungry for the gospel!

An excellent film. If you decide to get it, get the the two DVD version for the entire gospel narrative.

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