For many days, I pondered over the television mini-series, “Jesus: His Life.” It is inspiring… an innocent child, sent by God, led a mission to save mankind. God’s other attempts to instill His word to unbelievers failed, so His new plan involved sending an image of Himself to save the world from its own corruption. After watching this program, related to the upcoming season of Easter, I felt it imperative to write this message.
The summation of my writing today is not about the life story of Jesus here on earth, but rather the way those who took part in the film interpreted it. Before I proceed, I want to state I’m not sure where to place blame – the movie producer, Film Editing, or the famous evangelical pastor who made this controversial statement. But, whoever is responsible has lost contact with reality. Please allow me to go into detail.
THE CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT
Throughout this beautiful movie, the distinguished televangelist, Joel Osteen, repeated the quote, “Jesus faced what we face today, and felt what we feel today.” Why in the world would a pastor of great faith compare Jesus’ hardships to our struggles today? How can this preacher, who lives in a twenty-million-dollar mansion, have a clue what Jesus experienced; he knows nothing about suffering as Jesus did in His life. What great perils, like Jesus, does he face? Capitalizing on people’s fears is hardly a Christlike way of saving sinners!
PERILS OF JESUS
The Holy Spirit placed Jesus on earth to change the way the world spun two thousand years ago and into the future. He sent Him to save us from our own sins. The struggles were insurmountable for He had to prove to Himself, and people in adjoining cities, He was, in fact, the Messiah. Born a child from His virgin mother’s womb, it was inconceivable He was filled with the power of God. Jesus fought physically and mentally every day to save sinners from the world’s persecution. How many ordained leaders, today, are stalked and prosecuted by the Roman Empire for preaching God’s word? How many would physically fight for the sinful nature of humans because it was Jesus’ duty to right this world? I assure you not one minister would expose such vulnerability to the public! Their bodyguards would step in before such an incident occurred in any country.
The personal hardships Jesus endured were many and certainly not faced by our pastors today. He lived in caves or the middle of a desert for fear of His life; He walked local markets always looking over His shoulder and attended to bodily functions in a public manner. Jesus strolled the deplorable alleyways and through the back streets of towns to perform miracles. He drew the attention of those who didn’t adhere to God’s standards. Everyone watched and waited for the Romans to hunt Him down, for at times, He insulted their religion and faith. Word spread fast that one man was trying to make a statement. Jesus stood out like a sore thumb as he moved from city to city and fled to other countries. His life was more like Bonnie and Clyde than a rich man living on an expensive estate. The only persons today who live in danger while spreading the religious word are missionaries.
WE DO NOT FACE WHAT JESUS FACED!
We cannot conceive what Christ’s brutal life was like on earth. He didn’t live in the lap of luxury or even have a home. Modern persecution of Christians, though they suffered tragically, still cannot compare to God’s son who hung on a cross with stakes through his hands and feet. He was beaten, dragged through the streets, stabbed, and ridiculed. Jesus was mercilessly crucified in the most painful and shameful way a man could devise, for you and I, just so we may join Him, one day, in heaven. Our gracious hearts honor Him in love.
It is prevalent in the making of movies that films can be edited in such a way to provoke emotion. The statement I dispute in this blog may be one such case. I cannot comprehend a pastor would speak those words with the true meaning behind it. I sincerely hope he didn’t mean those exact words! If I speak these words in error, I wish someone involved with the film would come forward to make my horror right. I take strong offense to anyone who compares their life today to that of Jesus’ life on earth. Perhaps they focused on the technical data too much; they tried to make viewers believe Christians, today, suffer similarly to Jesus at the hands of God. Maybe someone lost sight of the larger picture: that our Savior severely suffered for us. No one can or ever will walk in His shoes!
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