Last week, I viewed the newest film on Jesus: Risen, and while it did not rise to the occasion of my expectations (I had great hopes for it), I did come away with a few highlights (I try not to focus on negatives). Here’s what I mean:
—–1. All about the Resurrection. We have a film on the Passion of Christ, and here is one about the implications of a man coming back from the dead. Many of us, Christian and non-believer alike, seem to forget that people do not do this: nobody comes back to life after being definitively dead, entombed, and decaying (you bet decay started after three days!) No near-death-experience is possible after a person’s heart is lanced and his body is wrung of blood and water.
Yet here Jesus is, alive (yes, we Christians believe this absolutely, even to the point of death), and not merely a resuscitated zombie of a corpse with gangrenous flesh. Jesus is healthy, strong, powerful, and yet still gentle and smiling. Jesus is glorified.
I don’t know about you, but if my friends abandoned and betrayed me, and my enemies tortured and massacred me, first thing I would do after my resurrection would be vengeance. Vengeance! (Be thankful I’m not God.)
But Jesus? He actually lived (and lives again) what He preached. He loves His friends and His enemies. We see this in the film especially when He even welcomes Clavius, the tribune who ordered Jesus’ heart stabbed, to join Him and His Apostles on their journey.
—–2. Which brings me to the point about Clavius when he says what he wants most in life: “a day without death, peace.” Isn’t that what we all want? A day when life kills death? When death no longer has the final say? When death is not the end? Well, that is exactly what Clavius and we have now in Christ.
Once the resurrection happened, death lost its final say: death died. It means that God is greater than death, that death is nothing, that we should not fear death since Jesus can flick it away like it was a leaf. Imagine Jesus: Oh, I’m dead… boo hoo, what can I do, what can I do… hmmm… I know — I’ll just get up!
It’s really that easy for God. And if He can raise Himself up, what makes anyone think He cannot raise others?
—–3. Lastly, now that Jesus is resurrected, that also means that everything He teaches and says is true (and we gotta follow Him). He really is God. Because if He died and stayed dead, even though He said He would rise, then we would just dismiss Him as a liar or an idiot. But He actually came back. Just remember this: God not only became a human for you, not only was born for you, not only lived for you, suffered and died for you, but He even came back from the dead for you, to love you.
You must be pretty special to Him, for Him to go through all that trouble for little old you…
—–4. So go see Risen if you wanna. Nothing in it really put me off or can make me ward you off, but one thing’s for sure: once I saw it, I don’t think I’ll ever make time for another viewing. It wasn’t that special. The book is definitely better. And yet for a better and more thoughtful review, please see Dr. Taylor Marshall’s here.
I completely disagree with you, Evan. Up until the final quarter of the film I found Risen to be an intelligent and completely plausible film. But even that last quarter was about as well done as it could’ve been if one was going to place Clavius in the midst of Christ and His disciples. I took away from it that the dialogue was thoughtfully written and that nearly each scene as played out made logical sense. I could easily believe events unfolding very near as was depicted.
Personally, I think you should give it another chance. It is, most part, an excellent film of its type and truly deserves to be seen. Thus far, however, I and my wife are the only two people I know who have watched it. And frankly, if Christians do not support worthy cinema entries such as this, we receive the lack of films and the tripe which is typically offered that we deserve.
Hi John, thanks for the comment! And happy Easter!
I’m not sure what you mean by “‘completely’ disagree” with me, after all, I’m talking about Jesus’ Resurrection and how His rising alters all history and everyone, forever. And you are right, the film is not bad, but it just does not measure up to the level I had hoped for it (perhaps my hopes were far too high). I don’t see this becoming a classic. However, perhaps you are more responding to the review by Dr. Marshall and Deacon Greydanus? Theirs are far less favorable than mine. Nonetheless, being a person with limited time as it is to read Scripture, I think I’ll pass on another viewing and just contemplate the Gospels in prayer with the Holy Spirit. Thanks again, and may God bless you and your wife.
-Greydanus’ review: http://decentfilms.com/reviews/risen
-Marshall’s review: http://maccabeesociety.com/risen-movie-review/