I thank God for the opportunity to speak and share the love of Jesus in that setting. The first time was in 1993, just after The Gospel of Matthew was released. Folks were blown away to see Jesus portrayed as a man of joy. They were amazed to see Jesus with his forehead glistening with sweat, sleeves rolled up and hair a wind-tossed mop, down on His knees in the sand crying tears over broken people. Audiences were stunned to see Him take those people in His arms and literally love them - as opposed to stand at a distance with arms outstretched and just tell them He loves them haha! But there I was last night, and as I shared, those same surprises swept over the students. There were even tears.
You know, with all these Jesus movies coming out recently (and more in the making) I often think, "What on earth am I doing this for?" I learned a long time ago to take that kind of thinking straight to my knees because if there's one thing the "enemy" loves to do its discourage you and me from seeing our visions through. But last night, as I saw these precious students so blown away by the depth of Jesus' love and care for them, I "re-realized" what our Jesus movie is all about - what we bring to the table that is not being done otherwise: the love in a depth that takes your breath away; the care for people that takes Jesus to his knees in the dirt with them; the heartache for people's pain/lostness that sends tears streaming down His cheeks - the joy and heroism that sends Him belly-laughing, bigger than life.
We're not about VFX here - we can't match the VFX that are already being done. We're not about panoramic cinema and thousands of extras and detailed recreations of Herod's Temple. We can see those wonderful things in other wonderful movies. What we're about... is Him. His heart. His love. His character. Who He is... and the salvation that pours from every drop of His blood.
I'm praying these days about NJM being a "smaller" production that originally planned. One that focuses less on dazzling cinema... and entirely on Jesus. Stay tuned!