May 12, 2016
By imagining portions of Christ's time in the wilderness, Last Days in the Desert gives us a more personal Jesus.
Instead of describing "Christianity ... as a religion of action rather than one of words or ideas," I would describe Christianity as a religion rooted people and events in actual human history. That is to say, Jesus Christ was a real person, who was really born of a virgin, who really died as described, who really rose from the dead, who was really tempted as described, etc.
I'm not at all enthusiastic about movies that present some artist's creative thinking resulting in the artist's freely imagined image of who Jesus Christ is (or what the myth of Jesus is, assuming it matters), and then expresses that creative notion as if real history and not real history are options, one as good as the other. They are not options, as this movie implies to the point of insisting.
I have to disagree with Doug in the comments with regards to artists' depictions of Jesus, particularly the parts of His life left untold in the Gospels. John stayed that the world could not contain all the books that could be written about the things Jesus said and did. This, in itself, leads readers, and particularly artists, to use their God-given talents to imagine what those other things might have been.
Luke states that Jesus grew in wisdom...to me this means that Jesus didn't have all the answers all at once, but needed to learn as men do. To imagine Him mumbling instruction to Himself does not make me think He is less historical OR less divine. It simply points me to Luke's account of how Jesus grew.
I often have discussions with people about things like what Jesus did for 40 days in the wilderness as He was being tempted (the assumption being He was being tempted in every way as we are, yet without sinning). Scripture only gives us three examples at the end of the 40 days. What happened the rest of the time?
As long as the artist does not draw conclusions that are anti-scriptural, I think it's OK to ask "what if."
I'm generally skeptical of movies about the life of Jesus, but I'm reassured to hear that this one emphasizes action over words -- and thus, I would guess, compels the viewer to respond to the film in action and not only in "belief". I'll have to go see it. Thanks for the review!
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