The Plugged In Show, Episode 71: Resurrection and What to Consider About Jesus Movies

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Godless Hollywood? Not when it comes to movies about Jesus, it ain’t.

Jesus has been the subject of probably more movies than anyone in history: Since the first Jesus-centric film was made in 1906 (The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ), more than 100 movies have been made about Jesus, and it was joined by yet another this year: Resurrection, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and airing, even as you read this, on Discovery+.

I had a chance to talk with Downey about her latest movie, and she told me she’d love to see families gather ‘round the television and watch this together, just as she used to watch religious-themed movies with her own family when she was a kid. She and the movie’s other makers wanted Resurrection to be both accurate to the Scriptures and reverent for the viewers—a film that both Christians and the spiritually curious could embrace.

But even the most devout films about Jesus, and the ones that adhere to the Bible most tightly, can still have issues for families to navigate.

First, practically every cinematic treatment of Christ goes a bit beyond Scripture, too—filling in areas that the Gospels don’t elaborate on. And second, there’s the issue of the crucifixion itself—an inherently bloody, torturous moment in the narrative that’s nevertheless absolutely critical to the story. How should viewers, especially families, think about those elements?

We bat that question around in our latest podcast, and we talk about some of our own favorite Jesus films, too. Join us, if you will—and be sure to check out these links to everything we talk about.

Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

2 Responses

  1. -I find movies about Jesus to feel different from other movies I watch. One reason is that the actors are often not Middle-eastern and the movies are often not actually filmed in Israel, but another is that it is worrisome to wonder if the movie will misquote the Bible because I might memorize it and accidentally misquote Jesus in Bible study or Sunday School class.
    I have wanted to watch the Passion of the Christ, but I have not gotten the courage yet. Violent movies that are based on real life make me cry easily. I cried a lot after I Am Not Ashamed and also some after Silence – a movie about Japanese martyrs (and I had to look away from the screen a number of times).
    Maybe I am needlessly concerned and I should just watch some of the Passion of the Christ and just stop it if it gets to be too much.

    1. -The Passion is brutal, but they do give you ‘outs’ by looking away from the violence a lot of the time and focusing on other things (characters’ faces, the symbolism of the scene, flashbacks to Jesus’ earlier life, etc).

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