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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jesus of Nazareth

Every Christmas and Easter we, as a family, watch the 1977 epic movie "Jesus of Nazareth" with Robert Powell as "Jesus," Olivia Hussey as "Mary," Anne Bancroft, Ian McShane, and Laurence Olivier, just to name a few of the incredible cast.  The movie is extremely powerful, and every year it is as though I am watching it again for the first time.  The production, cast, and story, bring to life the life of Jesus beginning before the Nativity and extending through the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Below is an excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount:

All the majesty and sweeping drama of the life of Jesus as told in the Gospels is played out in such dramatic detail that I promise you will learn something and be changed by the movie.  The film provides the setting and background for the birth, childhood, baptism, teaching, and many miracles of the Messiah, culminating in the Divine Resurrection.  If you have never seen this movie, I highly recommend you make this a "must" for your Easter viewing.  It will delight you with the Word of our Lord and inspire you from beginning to end.  We have made this movie a family tradition for 17 years and we continue to learn from the Biblical message as it is portrayed in this movie.

What amazes me the most is that it reflects what I envision the experience would have been, almost as if the images in my mind from reading the stories in the New Testament are being played out in living detail in this film.  It is truly amazing. 

The movie has 2 discs.  We watch most of the 1st disc during Christmas which is the birth of Christ and his childhood.  Then we stop.  Over the Easter weekend, we watch the remainder of disc 1 beginning with scene 31 which begins with Jesus baptism from John the Baptist , and then move on to disc 2 continuing thru all 91 scenes up to Jesus' Resurrection. 

The movie is the quintessential biography of Christ. Spanning the entire life of Jesus, as documented in the Gospels.  It features a commanding and dynamic performance by Robert Powell as Jesus.  It was originally created in 1977 as a mini-series, accurately and passionately exploring the life and death of Jesus Christ in a way that remains timeless and undeniably significant. 


10 of the Best Quotes from "Jesus of Nazareth":

1. Love Your Enemies!

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?" - (Matthew 5:43-47 )

2. Don’t Worry About The Future

Sometimes insightful sayings seem obvious once you hear them - I think that is the case here. Live in the moment you’re in!

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." - (Matthew 6:34)

3. How To Treat Others

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets." - (Matthew 7:12)

4. The Most Important Commandment

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” - (Matthew 22:36-40)

5. Spiritual Greatness

“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” - (Mark 10:42-45)

6. Gaining The World, Losing Your Soul

Here, Jesus highlights that the eternal and spiritual dimension is more important than the temporal physical one. Those who choose to follow His teaching will make physical sacrifices for spiritual rewards.

Then, calling the crowd to join His disciples, He said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And ,what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in the Glory of His Father with the Holy Angels.” - (Mark 8:34-38)

7. The Kingdom Of God Is Not Physical

Christian faith should not be militant, things like the crusades were not in line with what Jesus taught, or even the concept of Christendom. He also taught that the Kingdom of God was in the hearts of men.

The statement below was said in response to questioning in His trial before the Roman Govenor.

“My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”  - (John 18:36)

8. God Loves Everyone

This well known passage is actually a quote from Jesus.

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him."  - (John 3:16-17)

9. Ask, Seek, Knock

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."  - (Luke 11:9-10)

10. His Claim To Be God

While it seems Jesus didn’t make a point of telling everyone that He was God, He did make it clear on a few documented occasions. This quote is taken from Jesus’ court trial, from which the resulting conviction of ‘blasphemy’ led to His crucifixion.

I include this quote, not because it’s a great teaching, but because it affects how one perceives His teaching. It’s hard to think of Jesus as [just] a good moral teacher when you know that He thought himself to be God. (And I know him to be God)

Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God - tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  - (Matthew 26:63-64)


Truly the best movie ever made about the life and teachings of Jesus.  I've added this image link above so that you can add this movie to your DVD collection and begin a tradition with your own family that will be as meaningful and inspirational to your own family as it is to mine. 

Happy Easter!  And Many Blessings!

I hope that all of my readers have a blessed Easter, remembering Christ's sacrifice for all.


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