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Cinema & The Arts as Sermons: Last Days in the Desert

Video from MovieClips Trailers

IMDB’s plot summary: “An imagined chapter from Jesus’ forty days of fasting and praying in the desert — on his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis.” The film uses this brief fictional episode, taking place within Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, to contemplate the nature of father-son relationships, especially Jesus’ relationship with the Heavenly Father.

The director/writer Rodrigo García said back in a 2016 Christianity Today article: “By choosing Jesus, I know what the end is,” he says. “I have some freedoms because [the film is] an invented chapter, but I have to obey the origin and obey the destiny.” In another interview Ewan McGregor said the film is “about fathers and sons. Jesus and God are the ultimate father and son relationship.” Many have already noted how the film possibly contains possibly the best portrayal of Jesus’ humanity in film history.

Another unexpected benefit of the film is it is a great analogy of something that millions of Christians experience: spiritual “dry seasons,” or “desert seasons,” or the dark night of the soul where a person who has enjoyed years of joyful fellowship with God, long, fruitful seasons of spiritual fellowship suddenly finds themselves in a dry desert, a place where every attempt to find and come near to God is frustrated.

We see in this film the humanity of Christ, he got frustrated, he stubbed his toe, had aches and pains, was emotionally upset, felt alone. We have this false notion that the humanity of Christ was impeccable. Christ was and Is human.

McGregor’s Yeshua walks through extraordinary desert scenes, places both barren and beautiful (you need to see the film to appreciate). As Christ walks on you can remember the lonely days and nights in your own life when the nearness of God seemed far away. You feel a connection with the Yeshua on-screen as he looks quietly back at you, the powerful and alluring desert noise captured on-location in Anza-Borrego rustles and sifts around you. Christ knows how we feel.

The movie gets Satan right with a Doppelganger of Ewan McGregor as Lucifer, a visual duplicate of Yeshua, but this Lucifer is slick with jewelry, vain pretense, cleaner than the real Yeshua. He is the accuser, he is prideful and self-aggrandizing, always irritable with a short fuse and shamelessly promotes the misery and destruction of everything and everybody. Satan is the Father of Lies and Lucifer even agrees in one scene that he is always lying.

This was the first time I have seen it and I will watch it again soon. See it at least once it is an excellent portrayal of the humanity of Christ.

The movie can be viewed at no cost on Crackle.

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