The Jesus Film
IMAGINE THE MYSTERY and delight of not only hearing but seeing the story of Jesus for the first time, almost as an eyewitness.
That’s what happened to a primitive tribe in the jungles of East Asia, when missionaries showed them the Jesus film. Not only had these people never heard of Jesus, they had never seen a motion picture. Then, all at once, on one unforgettable evening, they saw it all—the gospel in their own language, visible and real.
Imagine again, then, how it would feel to see for the first time this good man Jesus, who healed the sick and was adored by children, held without trial and beaten by jeering soldiers. As they watched this, the people came unglued. They stood up and began to shout at the cruel men on the screen, demanding this outrage stop. When nothing happened, they attacked the missionary running the projector. Perhaps he was responsible for this injustice! He was forced to stop the film and explain that the story wasn’t over yet, that there was more. So they settled back onto the ground, holding their emotions in tenuous check.
Then came the Crucifixion. Again, the people could not hold back. They began to weep and wail with such loud grief that once again the film had to be stopped. Again the missionary tried to calm them, explaining that the story still wasn’t over yet, that there was more. So once again they composed themselves and sat down to see what happened next. Then came the Resurrection. Pandemonium broke out this time, but for a different reason. The gathering had spontaneously erupted into a party. The noise now was of jubilation, and it was deafening. The people were dancing and slapping each other on the back. The missionary again had to shut off the projector. But this time he didn’t tell them to calm down and wait for what was next. In a sense, all that was supposed to happen—in the story and in their lives—was happening.