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Ask A Pastor: Is it ok to watch shows that depict Jesus?

Question:

Is it okay to watch The Chosen or other shows/movies that have depictions of Jesus?


Answer:

The answer is no, it’s not okay. The Bible both teaches and explains this too, why no one may “play” the person and role of Jesus Christ. A main reason is the second commandment in which God forbids emphatically to make any likeness of God for whatever reason. (J.I Packer explains this well in his classic book, Knowing God in the fourth chapter, entitled, “The Only True God”.)


At bottom, to think and promote we can depict Jesus in pictures and statues, and play-acting in movies, especially in gospel communication and evangelism reflects several abysmal failures:


One, it amounts to not realizing sufficiently the awful sinfulness of mankind, even of the godliest Christian still on this side of heaven. How dare any sinful person depict the sinless Christ?!


Two, it inexcusably minimizes the infinite holiness of God, including of Jesus in His human nature when living here on earth among us. With the debate on this question in general, time and again people try to separate the human and divine natures of Christ and so to defend depictions of Jesus in pictures and playacting. But Jesus’ two natures are inseparable though always distinct, and He is since the Incarnation, God come in the flesh; Emmanuel, God with us!  When this is understood rightly, who would dare to picture and play act Him as sinful human being?  It is crucial to realize here that any and every picture or movie depiction of Jesus in whatever way is always a gross insult against Jesus’ holy Person and Ministry. Consider in this regard also Isaiah 40:18&25 in its context!



Three, it fails to take seriously God’s design and expressed will that by the Word preached, read, and taught, and meditated upon the Lord is pleased to reveal Himself to His people by His Spirit according to His sovereign good pleasure. Think here of Romans 10:17. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Four, it discounts as not so serious the ways inevitably that God’s word is added to or taken from when we come up with our own imagined pictures and play-acting of Scripture. Especially is this the case in regards to our depictions of Jesus, regardless the best of intentions from us.


Reading from the following review on the movie series entitled ‘The Chosen’ written by Chris Hutchison and posted on the Tim Challies’ blog of April 19, 2021, confirms the above response to the question raised. Quoting from that article, Chris writes:


“….I have a lot of concerns about “The Chosen,” especially because some of the things it portrays Jesus saying and doing flatly contradict some of what we do see in Scripture. I think this kind of thing is especially dangerous these days when so many Christians know so little of the Bible itself.…This caution grows even more when we’re dealing with movies or shows that portray Jesus saying and doing things which aren’t found in the Bible. I’m thinking of “The Chosen” here, which has been really popular lately. I have a lot of concerns about ‘The Chosen,’ especially because some of the things it portrays Jesus saying and doing flatly contradict some of what we do see in Scripture….


….Here’s the big idea here: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are books about Jesus, and this is not by accident. Getting to know Jesus on His own terms means reading and studying and thinking deeply about the written word…. You might be surprised that many Christians throughout history, especially around the time of the Reformation, have expressed this same caution over making images of Jesus….[Yes, see for example, HCLD 35, page 72 in the back of the Psalter!]”


Conclusion: Ultimately, it comes down to this, doesn’t it? Humble submission to Scripture alone, yea or nay. God help you, dear young people, also as up and coming generation to be faithful to God and His Word knowing by God’s grace and Spirit the power of God’s word. See II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 3:16-21, Psalm 19:7-14, Psalm 119, I Corinthians 2:1-5, II Timothy 4:1-5, and Ephesians 6:17b.


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