By Pastor Tommy Pophin
Have you noticed the number of Christian themed movies this year? They include “Son of God,” “God’s Not Dead,” and “Heaven is For Real.” Among these three movies, theaters have had multiple “sell out” showings. My family and I have seen all three. Among the three, I originally thought that “Son of God” was the best.
I use a smart phone application called “Fandango” to help me look up movie times and locations. All I must do is click on the “icon.” Besides telling me when and where the movie is showing, it also gives two kinds of movie reviews. One is the “fan’s” review and the other is the “critic’s” review. After watching “Son of God,” I clicked on the “Critic’s” review and initially hated what I read. The critics wrote that Jesus was too “GQ” (as in a male model from “Gentleman’s Quarterly”) and had a Hollywood smile. When I first read that, it bothered me because I think Jesus did smile, especially around children. In so many “Jesus” movies, He is portrayed as being religious but not relational. But as I read the critics and gained their perspective, they stated that the real Jesus would be more gritty, dirty and common among the people of His time. After all, that’s what the prophet Isaiah told us (Isaiah 53). As I considered the critics opinion, I understood - they were both right and wrong. The fact is, Jesus is too multidimensional to even begin to be captured on film. After all, He is God.
The movie “Heaven is For Real” captured another essence of our Christian lives. It is the idea of seeing and experiencing Heaven. Throughout the Bible, we see time and again where those who originally trusted in the Lord went through a cycle of forgetting the Lord; being judged by the Lord; turning back to the Lord; and then having a renewed desire for the Lord, worship of the Lord, and Heavenly encounter.