Friday, March 11, 2016

The Young Messiah


11 March 2016: Seven days ago I went to see RISEN. Today, at the same time and same theater as last week I went to see The Young Messiah

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie, a novel account of Jesus when he was 7 or 8 years old and had just returned from an exile in Egypt with his family. Once again, a central figure in pursuit of Jesus there is a Roman centurion serving under Herod Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, who had ordered Jesus' death upon learning of his birth from the three Magoi who came from Persia.

This movie, even though a fictional account, is soundly couched in Scripture throughout, both Old Testament and New Testament. This movie unequivocally proclaims Jesus Christ is the Messiah, Son of the Living God. There is no bone I can or will pick with this film. It's message is very strong and in that sense it was magnificent.

Two Friday evenings in succession and two movies about our Lord Jesus Christ showing simultaneously in the same theater. I cannot recall a time where this has occurred previously. I highly recommend this film, I want to go see it again; I will purchase the Blu-ray DVD when it is released.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sean,

I saw "The Young Messiah" tonight and had an entirely different take on it. According to the Bible, Yeshua's 1st miracle was at the Wedding He attended as an adult when He changed water into wine. This movie has young Yeshua raising the dead, both animal and a young boy, and healing the sick and blind, all of which didn't happen until much later per the scriptures. His mother Mary looks like she is in constant fear and Joseph appears to be having some issues with the whole Messiahship of young Yeshua as well. I know it is fiction, but when it has Yeshua performing miracles BEFORE the Bible says He started, I find concern about that. "Risen" was fictional as well, but didn't come into conflict with the Biblical accounts of Yeshua's resurrection and the last 42 days on earth. I do agree they did get the fact that Yeshua was the 'Only Begotten Son of God', right, but everything else was questionable to just wrong. Even James who is depicted as being a "Cousin" of Yeshua who was older and at the Birth of Yeshua, then adopted by Joseph & Nary, is wrong. The movie, despite being wrong in most accounts other than Yeshua was the Begotten Son of YHVH, born of a Virgin, and they did live in Egypt for a while, until Herod died, then came back, was well made. But can't give my recommendations to go see this thing. Of course that is my opinion. It looks like we'll have to disagree on this one.

Maranatha! Mark

Sean Osborne said...

Mark,

It looks you missed the initial comments on this subject, and that's almost certainly because they were posted yesterday afternoon at the bottom of the RISEN post comments section. I will re-post two of them here for brevity sake.

"...In looking at this movie further I see it is based upon at book, the novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" by Anne Rice.

This story takes place 5 years prior to Jesus at the Jerusalem temple according to the Gospel of Luke, which is the only thing known about Jesus youth. That Scripture in Luke tells much about what Anne Rice may have been able to put into her novel, such as the fact that Jesus knew exactly who and what He was at a very early age.

****

We know from Scripture that Joseph was instructed by an angel of the Lord to flee to Egypt. Herod had been given the time of Jesus' birth by the Magoi, and he had immediately then ordered that all 2-year old males and younger were to be killed. This flight of Joseph with young baby Jesus into Egypt was clearly some years prior to Herod the Great's death which history records as occurring when he was 69/70 years of age in 4/3 BC.

This means that when Joseph learned of Herod's death and if he immediately began the move back to Judah this movement at its earliest would have been in 4/3 BC. We also know that Herod the Great's sons were rulers of the Roman tetrarchy that ruled the territories of ancient Israel following his death.

Joseph skipped returning to Bethlehem in Judah because he feared exposing Jesus to Herod Archelaus who ruled that region, and opted instead to go to the region of Galilee, to Nazareth, where a half-brother of Archelaus, Herod Antipas, was the ruler. Both of these sons of Herod the Great assumed their kingdoms in 4/3BC.

If Jesus was 2 years old when he Magoi arrived at the Bethlehem manger (it could well have taken the Magoi 2 years to travel the distance they traveled from the east), then Jesus at the time of Herod the Great's death would have been 4 or 5 years old, meaning His birth might have been circa 9/8 BC.

****

One other thing ... this film is based upon a novel which has some Scripture as a point of reference.

How many books beloved by millions of Christians are there today which are novels or works of fiction based upon Scripture as a point of reference? Or those with Jesus as the point of context?

The entire 'Left Behind' series for starters. Beyond that there are thousands of others, some even on a par with 'The Hunt for Red October'
"

****

Now, that repeated, I also want to say that you can disagree with me on this fictional film's value to your heart's content. However, I also feel the need to inform you that The Young Messiah" was not "wrong" to depict James as Jesus' cousin, and you are mistaken in what you wrote.

The fact-of-the-matter is that James most certainly was Jesus' first cousin, just as John was also Jesus first cousin because they were brothers.

To come to understand this fact one must give a closer reading to Scripture and then collate the Scriptures into the big picture which details the relationships between these Biblical personages.

A.) Matthew 4:21 clearly states that Zebedee was the father of James and John.

B.) Matthew 27:56 clearly identifies the mother of Zebedee's children as one of the three women at the crucifixion of our Lord.

C.) Mark 15:40 provide the full identification of these women, and gives us the name of the mother of James and John as Salome.

and finally we go to the Gospel of John to complete the big picture:

D.) John 19:25 identifies Salome as as Mary's (mother of Jesus) sister.

No doubt about it. Since Salome and Mary the mother of Jesus were sisters, then James and Jesus were without question first cousins. Zebedee and Salome were husband and wife.

This also makes Salome Jesus' aunt, and explains why she went to His tomb to with the two Mary's to anoint his body with oil according to Mark 16:1.

Sean Osborne said...

I've been informed that what I posted on March 11 (in the RISEN comments section) prior to seeing The Young Messiah is nearly identical to what conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said in his opening comments about this film during his radio program on that same day.

No, I absolutely did not listen to Rush Limbaugh's program on Friday, nor did anyone tell me what he had said on his program.

Yes, we are both operating with one-half of our brains tied behind our backs with talent on loan from God. (That's a joke and pun intended)

And Limbaugh, I am told, went on to say something that I was also aware of but chose not to put into my comments. And that was how secular and news media were trashing this film BEFORE any regular folks had gotten a chance to see it.

The reason for the hatred is blatantly obvious - it's because THIS movie, even though it is based upon a novel by Anne Rice, is about Jesus Christ, and it confirms the reality of His being the only begotten Son of God, by the action of the Holy Spirit.

That's the same reason, in case anyone is or remains confused about this, why the secular world hates anything and everything to do with Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit.

And just as it was so powerfully depicted in The Young Messiah, behind all of the hatred you will find the very real Satan as its instigating author. So, there is more reality behind this novel-based film than might catch one's attention.

I am also informed that prior to its official release, the working title for this film was Christ the Lord. Well, that cinches it, the blatant hatred for this film and its subject plot line was entirely predictable even while it was still in production. That's a no-brainer.

Trash this movie? Tell folks not to go see it for themselves?

Rubbish! Go see this movie!

Sean Osborne said...

A couple more tidbits I've picked up that need to be mentioned.

CBN has posted its review (written by Senior Producer Hannah Goodwyn) of The Young Messiah. Right off the get-go the CBN review states a Biblical and historical fact about the young Jesus that is not much discussed.

Until His return to the land of Israel, Egypt was the only home young Jesus knew. Whether Joseph took his family by caravan all the way to Alexandria is irrelevant because Egypt is Egypt.

Second thing, given the time of year that this journey was undertaken circa 11 and 9 BC, the arduous on-foot walk from Bethlehem to Egypt, at a minimum, was well over 200 miles on dirt and sand paths, and through the desert of Sinai. They would have had to follow a known track which provided regular stops for fresh water for the entire party and the beasts of burden. This journey could easily have taken the better part of a full year to complete. And since the return did not commence until some unknown amount of time after Herod the great's death in 4 BC, well, placing Jesus age in this movie as 7-years old is quite reasonable. His actual return to Galilee (an even longer trip) might well have occurred when he was 8-years old. Yes, an age of 7 or 8 is quite reasonable.

Now for CBN's good and bad take on this film.

1. This fictional account is plausible. (I agree)
2. Controversy will arise around the scenes of Jesus as a child performing miracles, and the baptism-like scene of young Jesus and Zebedee in the Jordan River. (It has)
3.Even though a fictional account - these scenes in the movie are inspiring. (I agree)
4. Dealing as Mary and Joseph would have with the questions that arose in Jesus was something that no parent in the history of this earth has ever had to deal with and never will.

CBN Bottom Line: "The Young Messiah transcends expectation. [Cyrus]Nowrasteh's film takes you on an inspirational journey, discovering the innocence and divinity of Jesus – just as He begins to uncover his true identity himself."

Sean Osborne said...

This film brought a question to my mind that required an answer.

Why did God allow the murderous Herod the Great's wanton slaughter of innocent male babies, 2 year olds to infants, in his attempt to murder the baby Jesus in the region of Bethlehem and vicinity? (Matthew 2:16)

History does not record this, but it is in the Bible and by faith I believe it happened exactly as described. Hebrews 11:1-3. And it doesn't matter if it was one innocent babe or many, one was too many, right?

So, why was it allowed to happen?

Well, they are all blameless and in Heaven, no doubt. I suppose some of them would have been raised to reject Jesus as Messiah. So the fact that all of them are innocents who are in Heaven is the answer for this that I accept.

jmoll106 said...

I always found it unnerving that this happened too.
Also I found it interesting that Rachel was laid to rest in Bethlehem in Genesis 48 and Jeremiah 31 prophecy of Matthews quote also has the future of Israel and Judah in the Millennial reign of Jesus as a more sure hope.

To me, God was show He knows the end from the beginning, the ways of the wicked he already knows.
Also Sean, I'm glad the innocents then and now are with him as todays would not have been raised to know Jesus and would have perished also.
Come Lord Jesus for all our sake.

Sean Osborne said...

Amen jmoll106!

Rhonda said...

Hi Sean,
Isn't it wonderful how there are more Christian films being made right now. My
family and I went to see the "Young Messiah" Sunday afternoon. I join you in applauding the movie and recommending it to others. The young boy who played Jesus
was so authentic, so lovable. I believe the Holy Spirit was there in the making of
this film. I have to add here in my comments that I do not believe Jesus was being
hunted by the political and religious authorities until the time came for Jesus'
ministry. I base this thought process on Matthew 2:19,20 - But when Herod died,
behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Egypt, and said, "Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; FOR THOSE WHO SOUGHT THE CHILD'S LIFE ARE DEAD." Even though I don't agree with everything in it, it is a wonderful movie to bring those who need to know the Savior! The movie clearly shows that Jesus is God's Son and has the powers of God Himself. Many tears
fell while watching our precious Lord as a child and wondering when He realized
He was different from the other children?

Sean Osborne said...

Rhonda,

I agree completely, it is wonderful and a blessing, especially in this day and age, that Christian films are still being produced. So many rightfully rail against the trash 'Hollywood' produces for the silver-screen and TV, but when a film like this comes along they dismiss it because it is not as perfect as Scripture is perfect. Saddens me very much.

I want to point something out with respect to your comment that "I do not believe Jesus was being hunted by the political and religious authorities until the time came for Jesus' ministry" which you have rightfully based upon Matthew 2:19-20.

Do you reject what is stated in Matthew 2:22?

"But when he [Joseph] heard that [Herod] Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod [the Great], he [Joseph] was afraid to go there [Judea]: NOTWITHSTANDING, BEING WARNED BY GOD IN A DREAM, he [Joseph] turned aside into the region of Galilee." (KJV)

The words "turned aside" are from the word anachōreōwhich fully carries the meaning of "those who through fear seek some other place."

God warned Joseph not to return to Judah, and this warning caused Joseph to fear for the life of Jesus and they avoided traveling through Judah in order to reach Galilee, Nazareth in particular, so that the prophecies of multiple prophets would be fulfilled.

This Scripture was faithfully depicted although embellished in this film.

Now, we know from from a book published by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck in 1985, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, that Nazareth served as the garrison of the Roman Legion for the whole of Galilee. Because of this there were very few Jews who lived in Nazareth; perhaps just a thousand or so. Jews in Jesus' day avoided the town due to the strong Roman military presence. This Roman presence and the common Jewish hatred for the Roman Army is what lies behind Nathanael's comment to Philip in John 1:46.

Also, just 13 years ago archaeologists discovered, really quite by accident, a gigantic and near fully intact Roman bathhouse from 2000 years ago in Nazareth. The only purpose for such a massive bathhouse would be to serve a very large Roman garrison, a least a cohort or two of Roman soldiers. Very possibly soldiers of the 6th Legion Ferrata (The Ironclad). The 10th Legion (Fretensis) HQ was at Jerusalem.

It was in this environment that young Jesus, after growing up in His earliest years in Egypt among Egyptians, grew up in the rest of His life to adulthood living among the heavy military presence of the Roman Army of Galilee in northern Israel. Moreover, with such a small Jewish population in the vicinity of Nazareth, who exactly was it that Joseph, and eventually Jesus, worked for as carpenters? Odds are very high they made their living working as carpenters and meeting those word-working needs of the Roman garrison.

This gives evidence that Joseph's fear and the warning from God to avoid Judah was mostly to avoid the Jews of Jerusalem; and they ended up nestling in the relative safety of a garrison of the Roman Army.

Rhonda said...

Sean, I have learned so much history and information from you over the time I've been visiting your blog! I am happy to learn new information and especially facts concerning the Bible and Bible prophecy. I did read Matthew 2:22 and of course would not reject it. The verse is further proof of God's sovereign choice where He wanted Jesus to grow up. Maybe part of the reason God sent them to Nazareth with the Roman garrison presence was to teach Jesus how far humanity had fallen from the paradise of the Garden AND the very apparent need we humans have for a savior. Jesus obviously grew up with dangers all around Him, but it is just something I know in my heart that God would not have wanted Joseph, Mary and Jesus to be in a constant state of fear. I truly believe God the Father protected Jesus' identity as a child so He could grow up happy, healthy and loved. I guess what I'm trying to get at is, if God allowed Jesus to be in constant fear growing up, why would Jesus willingly die for humanity? We don't know how old He was when He realized He was sent to die on our behalf, but we know He could have refused to die on that cross but He didn't refuse because He loved the people around Him. He wasn't bitter or afraid. He willingly took the cup of sin and death because He loved humanity. Because of the life God had given Jesus He knew we were worth dying for.
After watching the movie, I thought about the two times Jesus dwelt with a dove.
The first time He brought a dove back to life probably symbolized His resurrection and when it flew away, His ascension. The second time He freed a less than perfect dove from a cage probably symbolizing our release from the bondage of sin, death and the devil. Just a thought. Go see the film everyone, wonderful!

Sean Osborne said...

Rhonda,

Amen sister!

It is an easy thing for people to read or to say or to write that they would not fear being in such a circumstance as Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the extended family found themselves in.

However, talk is cheap, and I believe I can guarantee that anyone would have displayed the fearful trepidation that Mary's face evidenced in this film were they to be confronted so directly with the military force of an occupying enemy army.

For example, anyone walking out of their front door tomorrow only to be confronted by heavily armed foreign soldiers pointing assault rifles at their head would very suddenly experience a fear-caused near total paralysis until they were able to collect their wits.

I can say this because I've "been there and done that." Such fear is overcome gradually by acclimation to the threat, or by anger and outrage in the face of an atrocity. Afterwards one praises and thanks the Lord that they have survived the ordeal. It's a very human thing.

I think Jesus in His youth, about the time this film depicts, clearly understood a great deal about who He was and what He was here to do. Yet, even He in this knowledge in full adulthood made the cry to God that He did at the ninth hour while on the Cross (Matthew 27:46).