Going to the Movies with Jesus

Which Jesus is the real one?  Every time I go see another Jesus movie, I am faced with a new version of the Son of God, and I have to ask myself, which is the best?  Which is closest to the real thing, and more importantly, why are they all so different?

All of these films show us Jesus through the eyes of a certain time and place.  Though they have the same subject and similar plot every decision, every casting, every word in the screenplay is made by people who have a particular understanding of Jesus.  From the pacifist Jesus in the 1961 King of Kings to the Hippie Jesus in Godspell, we see much more than Jesus, we see how Jesus looks to the creative hearts of the writers, directors, and actors.  
 
The first talking american film that focused on Jesus as the primary character and story was produced in 1961.  Directed by Samuel Bronson, King of Kings tells the story by expanding the roles of four of the supporting characters in the Gospel.  Through the Roman soldier who saw Jesus die on the cross (here names Lucius), Barrabbas (the Jewish prisoner released by Pilate), Judas (the disciple who betrays Jesus), and Mary (mother of Jesus), we see a messiah of peace and love who lives much closer to the side of pacifism than the oppressive political environment portrayed by the setting in a Roman-ruled province.  

It is a fascinating and incredibly entertaining depiction of this powerful story that everyone should have the pleasure of seeing and it is the first film in the line up for the Imago Dei Film Festival we are hosting at our church.  

Whether or not you live in Mobile and can come watch movies with us, looking at these films is important.  It's important because through these films we not only get to explore the story of Jesus but see how far too often we re-make Jesus in our own image so that he fits comfortably in our life.  We discover parts of Jesus' story we have forgotten along the way in the service of our own re-make.  

Maybe after looking at Jesus through so many different lenses, we might be able to get a good idea of who the real Jesus is and how he is challenging us to live in our world.

Question for the Comments:  What Jesus Movie is Your Favorite?  

>>> Read More: I Don't Like Christian Art (usually)

Star Trek and Biblical Disfiguration: A Discussion Guide

star trek.jpg

Logic vs. moxy, protocol vs. passion, ego vs. superego.  It is the core of one of the most brilliant pairings in all of cinematic history: Spock and Captain Kirk. In the latest (and BEST EVER!) installment of the Star Trek saga, we watch as Spock’s slavery to the rules of his logic endanger his life and career repeatedly.

In one way, this film is about Spock leaving that slavery for something better (and more logical in my opinion).  By the end, he has been able to hold onto logic while embracing a bit more of his human side. What a great parallel to the scripture!

When Jesus enters the scene, the place is rife with the same type of slavery: slavery to rules.  Not only were they obeying the 613 rules in the Old Testament, but the rabbis had set in place what they referred to as a “wall around the torah” that consisted of hundreds and hundreds more laws that backed up from the ones in the Bible so that no one would even get close to breaking the Biblical law. They were enslaved.

Then, Jesus walks in and makes a caricature of the whole thing.  He says things like, “If your eye causes you to sin, don’t just stop looking at bad stuff, or going where the bad stuff is.  I mean, guys if we are going to build a wall around it, let’s really build a wall! Let’s really get serious about holiness! If you are having a problem with eye-sinning, pluck it out!”

Right.  So, how many men are left in that situation with eyes?  Maybe a couple women, but if One Direction has anything to do with it, maybe not many girls in your youth group.

What is going on here?  A whole lot, but one of the things is that Jesus is pointing out how ridiculous an obsession with keeping all the law is.  The law is not where the power is, it is pointing to the power.  In the Old Testament, the Law is pointing to God and ultimately Jesus.  The whole thing is a big blinking arrow pointing at Jesus.

And that’s the lesson.  I know you needed a reason to justify taking your students to the movies again, so here’s a couple questions to ask after the movie is over... Maybe read Matthew 8:19 first and explain about the wall around the Torah.

  • What is it in the beginning of the movie that is enslaving Spock?
  • What does he have to to inside himself to be able to make the decisions that save everything at the end?
  • How is Spock like the teachers of the law in the New Testament?
  • What do you think Jesus would say to Spock?
  • How can we make the same transformation we see in Spock?
  • What is a first step you could take on that path today?

From: YouthWorker Movement

The Avengers and The Body of Christ

This discussion/lesson guide originally appeared on the

Youthworker Movement

site

Yet another blockbuster movie has been able to get your students to skip the youth fundraiser and spend their $15 on a ticket.  Of course the main reason you were upset about it was because you were stuck at the church doing yet another fundraiser instead of being where everyone else wanted to be this weekend: The Avengers.  I won't spend a lot of time making this into a review.  So, I will review the move in one made-up word: Incredibleawesometacular. Now that my bias is clear, here's a list of questions to get students thinking and talking about the movie: Fun Creative Exercise: Ask students in the group to think about themselves and decide what some of their strengths and weaknesses are.  Then tell them you want them to exaggerate those strengths and weakness and come up with their own super-hero persona.  Name, Logo, whatever they can think of but the most important part is their main 1-3 super powers and their main weakness.  Take a moment to allow them to share with the group.

Openers:

  1. What was your favorite part of the movie?
  2. What was the funniest line in the movie?
  3. Where did you see God or Christianity reflected in the movie?

The Super-hero theme:

  1. What is it about super heroes that makes people get excited?
  2. What need does that point to inside us as humans?
  3. What about villains?  What is it about them being so incredibly evil that makes these movies so good?

This group of super-heroes/villian:

  1. Every super hero has a strength and weakness.  What are they for each of the avengers?
  2. How do their strengths and weaknesses support each other?  Where do you see that happen in the movie?
  3. Think about their personalities.  Do you think their personalities help each of them or hurt them?
  4. How do their different personalities compliment each other?  Where do you see that happen in the movie?
  5. What do you think motivated Loki to attack earth?

Avengers Scripture:

  1. Read Romans 12:3-8
  2. How can the difference in strengths and weaknesses in The Avengers help us understand this scripture?
  3. If the body of christ were a super-hero group, what do you think Paul would say is the key to it being effective?
  4. What is one thing you can do over the next week to be more supportive of/connected to the Body of Christ?