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The ‘Son of God’ Movie

About 20 people from our church went to see ‘The Son of God’ movie on its opening night.

I honestly didn’t think it was a great movie from a ‘technical’ perspective, but I think the intent was great.  The crucifixion portion really struck me.  I’ve read the Biblical account many, many times, but I’m not used to seeing it acted out.  Seeing and hearing the portrayal of Jesus suffering for my sins made the account a little more real for me, and made me a little more appreciative of what He did for me and all mankind.

Afterwards, we discussed the movie, and people had varying opinions.  Everyone was asked to rate the move on a scale of 1 to 10.  I gave it a 5-6; others rated it as low as 2 or as high as 8…

My wife is on Naghmeh Abedini’s Facebook list.  Naghmeh’s husband Saeed is the pastor being held in an Iranian prison because he is a Christian.  She posted her views on the movie in two separate Facebook entries.  She apparently received some criticism for the first note that she wrote.

I was convicted by the opinion of this Christian sister who is suffering so much for her faith.  It reminded me of my skewed perspective as a privileged American, growing up in a country with freedoms that I have never had to earn or pay for.  Naghmeh may never see her beloved husband again this side of heaven.  Her children may never see their Daddy again here.  In present day America my wife and kids never worry about that.  In fact, I can be very public and even draw a salary by preaching the Gospel.  How fortunate we are – but how skewed we can become.

Here are Naghmeh’s two posts pertaining to the movie…

Naghmeh Abedini, Facebook Entry #1, 3/3/14

“This has to be one of the most powerful movies I have watched in a long time!  I wept and rejoiced watching this movie knowing that the early disciples were persecuted by simply following Jesus (a revolutionary in Love), my husband is suffering in Iranian prison because of the Son of God Who came into the world to die for the sins of the world.  Over 2,000 years later, Jesus still has the same impact and transforms each life that chooses to accept Him and submit to Him.

The movie ends with Jesus saying that He is coming back soon…  Interesting…  When Saeed had a vision / encounter with Jesus, He told Saeed that He was coming back soon and to preach His Gospel.  This is and continues to be Saeed’s calling and for each of us as believers.  To Preach the Good News of Jesus.

For those of you that are upset by this movie and are commenting on it here is my response:

I am not sure what is being said about the makers of the movie.  But the movie was powerful and pointed to Jesus being the Son of God and God in human flesh and shared the Gospel message which made me happy.  There are always criticisms, but as Jesus said, as long as He is being preached, let them do it!  Mark 9:38-41…” [which she then quotes]

Naghmeh Abedini, Facebook Entry #2, 3/3/14

“Today I shared how moved and touched I was by the movie ‘Son of God’ and I got so much feedback that I was shocked and truly saddened.

The image we have portrayed to the outside world has been one of judgment and throwing stones at the ‘sinners’ and even amongst ourselves.  We are ready to throw stones at each other and those that do not fit into our idea of Who Christ and Christianity is.  We are ready to find false prophets and false teaching.  We have lost sight of the love and teaching of Jesus and the life of Jesus that is summarized in love.  We have forgotten to live radically in Love.  Therefore our personal lives are falling apart, our country is falling apart, and ‘sinners’ are running farther and farther from us…  Something is wrong here.  Jesus was a friend of sinners.

Jesus let the adulteress go when He could have and should have stoned her.  The more I know Him, the more I am overcome by His radical love.  If we are to win the world (starting with our families) it has to be through radical selfless sacrificial love that comes from above.  Love overcomes.

I would be the first to speak up if/when I see a false teacher, but too many times we are pursuing things that are wasting our time and energy.  There are other battles that we can choose to fight and spend our energy on.  I did not see false teaching in the movie and was glad that the God I love and adore was on the big screen.  This was so refreshing to see in comparison with so much violence and sexuality out there. 

I am thankful that I live in a country where I can state what I like and don’t like and what movie has blessed me.  Thank you!  God bless you all.  Naghmeh”

We in America have the privilege of being able to communicate freely our opinions, without fear of reprisal.  Iran and many other countries without a Christian foundation cannot claim this.  Yet I think that living in such freedom which we didn’t need to go to war or prison for has created a profoundly unhealthy mindset that must be fought against constantly.

We have the privilege to sit around a cup of coffee and ‘kibitz’.  We can ‘solve the world’s problems’, or to get into intense, heated debates about issues that are ‘safe’ for us personally.  The threat of jail or death for our beliefs doesn’t hang over our heads today in America.  We can be ‘scholarly’ about issues, debate emotionally, and then go home to our warm homes with our refrigerators filled with food.  We can go to our comfortable, warm beds feeling good about ourselves for our passionately stated opinions.  We’re not up half the night praying for souls that are lost and going to hell.  We need our rest so we can wake up tomorrow and fill our bloated stomachs with more food, to give us the strength to post more blogs.  If times do change in America, we may face the choice to die for our faith; or to simply hide and disappear from view.  That is when our true motives and spiritual health will become clear.

The Gospel becomes so sanitized, and theoretical, and elite.  And while we have our debates, millions of people slip into eternity every day.  I can preach a good message on Sunday and go home and fall asleep in my comfortable bed and not think about those souls that are slipping away.

Ephesians 5:15 says that we are to speak the truth in love.  John 17:17 says that God’s Word is truth.  1 John 3:16 says that Jesus’ death on the cross defines love, and we His followers are supposed to do the same for our brothers.

But I’m too busy to do these things as I ought to.  I have somehow concluded that my calling in life is to convince the rest of Christianity why I’m right and they’re not.  I need to explain to them what Bible translation to use; what songs and instruments to use for worship; and how to perform church services correctly.  May God forgive me for this.

I need Jesus’ help to love my brothers, and to touch the world.  May He help me to do so.  When I get to heaven someday, I want to be met by people whose lives were touched by God working through me.  I want to be surprised at how many there are.  Jesus will get all of the glory, because it’s only by Him flowing through me and His other saints that this can occur.  That is my calling, and my worship to Jesus.

 

May God bless you,
Pastor Mark Siena

3/6/14

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2090 Bowen Road
Elma, NY 14059
(716) 684-9065

Calvary Chapel Niagara Frontier