RISEN: Movie Review
(NOTE: SPOILER ALERT)
A friend and I went to see the movie Risen when it released in theaters. The movie is a fictional account of how the resurrection of Jesus Christ might be seen through the eyes of a Roman soldier. Clavius is a battle-weary military officer who took part in Jesus’s crucifixion. In this regard, the movie is quite unique. The filmmakers do a terrific job in character and plot development, as well as visual effects. Further, the actors provide a compelling performance. Overall, I found the movie inspiring and enjoyable.
However, while I understand the need for creative license and recognize this is a fictional account, there are some scenes that clearly go against Scripture. One of the more obvious is the portrayal of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute when in fact, she had been demon-possessed (Luke 8:1-2). For years, this inaccurate description of Mary has been passed along, whereas even a brief examination of Scripture would expose the error. Nevertheless, the movie presents the beauty of a transformed life. The message of the gospel is centered on God’s unconditional love which transforms us so that we are never the same again.
Near the end of the movie, we see a truly touching scene where Jesus heals a diseased-ridden leper. It’s too bad that the scene is placed after the Lord’s resurrection. One of the primary purposes for Jesus repeatedly displaying His power to heal prior to the resurrection was in order to prove that He was Who He claimed to be: the Son of God who came to give His life for the sin of the world. His resurrection, rather than a man healed of physical disease, is meant to serve as final proof of that claim.
The Miracles Prove Jesus Was Who He Said He Was
Jesus said, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works [miracles] themselves.” (John 14:10-11 ESV)
The miracle of the resurrection was the miracle of all miracles. If that did not convince someone that Jesus was Who He said He was, nothing would. This is not to say that Jesus does not still heal today. He certainly does! However, during the time Jesus was physically on the earth, His miracles served a primary purpose: To prove He was Who He claimed to be. The resurrection being the greatest proof of all.
There are a few other curious scenes in the movie as well, such as the image on Jesus’s face cloth. Yet overall, Risen beautifully captures the message that the love of Jesus extends to everyone – even those who took part in nailing Him to the Cross. This is truly a precious reminder because the fact of the matter is that we all took part. The Bible teaches,
“[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.“ (1 John 2:2 NIV)
In summary, Risen is entertaining and thought-provoking. If it piques the interest of viewers to explore the Bible for themselves, then it has done its job.
- Rating for entertainment and quality: 4 of 5 stars
- Rating for Biblical accuracy: 2.5 of 5 star
“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said!” Hallelujah!
Did you know that in the gospel of Mark, the Roman executioner is the ONLY human to proclaim that Jesus ‘truly was the Son of God’? Also, the FIRST evangelist was a man rescued from an army of demons? Explore the fascinating story in my Bible study, LEGION: Rediscovering the God Who Rescues Me.
Shadia is a passionate Bible teacher, author and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She holds a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary and is author of several books and Bible studies, including HAGAR and LEGION and a new study coming out in October 2021. Sign up for updates to learn more about her next study!