I recently had the opportunity to take my wife to the movies. No kiddos, just my wife! Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the movies with my kids, but sometimes it’s nice to watch a grown up movie in the theatre. We saw Saving Mr. Banks, and it was a great movie. Tom Hanks is a genius on the big screen!
This post, however, isn’t about the accolades of Tom Hanks, as great of an actor as he may be. It is about a preview that came on before the movie started. Another movie portraying the life of Jesus. The movie “Son of God” comes out in February 2014. You can read about it here:
This morning as I read Matthew 5:43-48, I thought of that movie preview. Hollywood actually gets it right a lot more than you may think. Often times, without even knowing it, they are proclaiming the biblical messages of depravity, redemption, love etc. Sometimes you have to look hard to see it, but it is there. Ironically, it is when Hollywood tries to do a biblical movie, that they miss the mark. Jesus is frequently portrayed in a feminine light, or simply mischaracterized as just a great example and not the Saviour of sinners. You probably know what C.S. Lewis had to say about that in his great ‘Lord, liar, lunatic’ polemic.
But even when Jesus spoke words that people think they love to hear (such as The Sermon on the Mount), the heart of the message is often difficult.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you , love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Hollywood can present a “beautiful” Jesus to try and water down messages like this, but at the end of the day it is true believers who understand that Jesus spoke difficult words that the glamour and glitz of the big screen will never get right. Hollywood is better off sticking to movies where they proclaim gospel messages without even really realizing it, because when they try to do the real thing they usually just make a mess of it. So if you’re looking for Jesus with popcorn and a coke, I hope at least you enjoy your snack.