Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Gospel of John Movie (2003)

This dramatization of The Gospel According to St. John is a work of art, beautifully staged and acted, the words coming directly from Sacred Scripture, the American Bible Society’s Good News Bible, nothing omitted and nothing added. A viewer can read along with the movie. Simply summarized, it is a pure proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. It begins with creation, placing Jesus, the Word, with God and actually being God, at the creation, and ends with his post resurrection, pre ascension, appearances to the disciples. Scottish actor Henry Cusick and Canadian actor Daniel Kash are excellent as Jesus and Simon Peter. Christopher Plummer is the narrator.

I don’t remember when I first heard of the movie or watched it, but I found it very helpful a dozen or so years ago with Lutheran Confirmation classes of students around age 12. They were spellbound. And I found it to be a perfect aid and conversation stimulator in an Adult Bible Study of John’s Gospel.  The faintest praise I have read is an Associated Press quote on the DVD box: “Thought Provoking Entertainment.” I suggest it may also be, for some viewers, Life Changing Entertainment resulting from belated realization of who Jesus was and is and what He did and does, and what He asks of his followers.

This Wikipedia article gives details of backers, artists, cast, and musical score and points out the one controversial and sometimes questioned scene in the movie, the silent presence of Mary Magdalene at the Last Supper. I would guess she was not present there, but the Gospel of John certainly considers her a prominent member of the close followers of Jesus. And, in writings of the first century and earlier, it was not unusual to omit mention of women. The scene at the Wedding at Cana, Mary, Mother of Jesus, instructing the servers to “Do whatever he tells you,” the dialogue with the woman at the well and her resulting evangelization of her community, the interactions with Mary and Martha, and the important role of the women at his resurrection all speak to the importance and prominence of the women followers of Jesus.

Check out the movie. If you get through Jesus’s dialogue with the Samaritan Woman at the Well in John Chapter 4, I predict you will be hooked and will end up watching the movie more than once. And of course, it is no longer necessary to buy the DVD (photo above) since the movie is free on Amazon Prime (Average Rating of 4.5) and on YouTube as well.