Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
I did see this interesting Iranian movie at the Philadelphia Film Festival this weekend. Jesus, Spirit of God (2007) directed by Nader Talabzadeh, dramatizes the life of Jesus as written in the Koran and the Gospel of Bartholomew. Jesus is a spacy long haired messiah figure who actually heals people. One of the most dramatic parts of the movie is when he raises Lazurus from the dead, and removes his death mask. He also raises a small boy from the dead. No expense was spared in getting these miracles to look realistic – this movie cost over five million dollars to make. The problem with these miracles is that it causes people to think that he is either God or the Son of God, when actually he is a prophet!
The teachings of Christ in the Bible are replaced with teachings from Islam. Jesus is trying to point people to a greater prophet who will be a son of Ishmael rather than the son of Isaac and will bring in a universal kingdom of God. He tells people he is not God, but just a prophet of God. He is confused that nobody gets this.
The movie has two endings – the traditional Christian one (without the resurrection) and a version according to the Koran and an apocraphical gospel, where Jesus is translated to heaven the day before the crucifiction and Judas is tranformed to look exactly like Jesus to Judas’s horror. That is why Peter says “that man is not my teacher” three times because he was in the know about the change.
So this movie is entertaining – but is it right?
Let us believe that there are prophets. What did the prophets say about Jesus? I am looking at Isaiah 53. This is clearly prophesy about a suffering messiah.
He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
This is clearly seen in this movie.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our sufferings, yet we consider him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
Nope. This is not what we see in this movie. Judas takes the punishment. Jesus is rescued.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and through the LORD makes his life an offering for sin.
The movie gets it wrong again. Jesus does not die to bear our iniquities. God’s righteous servant does not justify many. He cannot resurrect because in this movie he never dies. You have to die to raise from the dead. It is a good movie, but the director just got the story wrong.
The movie does get some things right – Jesus does do miracles, Jesus is still eternal, Jesus raises people from the dead. He forgives the woman caught in adultery, and points out hypocrisy on the part of the people trying to stone her. It leaves out a crucial prophesied detail. Jesus, and not Judas, must die to forgive our sins.
Who has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Jews? Moslems? Christians?
It has been revealed to all – to Jews, Moslems, Christians, Asians, Africans, Arab, white, black, male, female, rich, poor. It has been revealed globally to all. It has been revealed to you.
Read Isaiah 53!