Please welcome today’s guest writer, Sophia Medewar. Sophia loves art, in every sense of the word. She graduated with degrees in theatre, religion, and philosophy and moved promptly to Chicago, Illinois. She now lives in a small apartment above a flower shop where she writes, pursues theatre, eats mac and cheese, and catches up on the sleep she lost in undergrad.
I know I speak for many of you when I say I am sick of bad Jesus movies.
Now I know it’s an exhausted topic, the whole “why is Jesus Aryan” issue—I get it. The wavy, mouse-brown hair, blue eyes, Dutch height, perfectly manicured beard, porcelain skin, slightly bored expression on his face… that’s our Jesus, all right.
And to be fair, there has been a turn in culture in how Jesus is depicted in various forms of media. Directors and artists have certainly made an effort to try and be at least a little bit more ethnically aware when it comes to casting our Lord and Savior—at least in comparison to the ignorant and elitist Renaissance painters. And still, Jesus’s ambiguous (or else horribly inaccurate) ethnicity isn’t even my main problem with most of the ways Jesus is depicted in media. It’s that he’s often ridiculously and unbearably boring. Pay close attention to Jesus’s face next time you watch an old movie about him; watch how he blinks slowly, speaks monotonously, and moves his limbs like he’s wearing sand bags but floating in water. We all know the Incarnation is an inexplicable paradox of the Son’s human and Divine nature in perfect unity, but honestly, this doesn’t mean Jesus has to look like he’s high (unless it’s in reference to lifting His name).
That being said, I’m always hopeful that someone will crawl out of the woodwork and give us a Jesus that is not only Middle-Eastern looking (as difficult as that apparently seems to be), but that is also able to give us a Jesus who actually has a personality. A Jesus who is not just flesh and blood, but who embraces and participates in the vastness of human nature—fart noises and all.
All that being said, I did not have terribly high expectations when I sat down to watch The Chosen for the first time. The Chosen is a new film series about the story of Jesus (like we need another one, right?). Well, this one was different. For the first time, I saw Jesus acting like an actual person—somebody with a sense of humor, who got frustrated, who was close and affectionate with people, who had trouble starting a fire—and who made fart noises!
In episode three, the director chose to focus particularly closely on Jesus’s relationship with children. This was a unique artistic liberty that the director took because the actions and events that take place in this episode were not originated in Scripture. However, I believe it accurately captures Jesus’s attitude and love towards the “littlest of these.”
When a couple kids were lingering outside the area where Jesus was set up to camp, He made fart noises with His mouth in order to ease the children to come to Him—upon which He warmly accepted them, ministered to them, joked with them, protected them, and loved them.
This is the Jesus that I love. The Jesus who camps in the woods knowing that some children are nearby who need love and attention; the Jesus who knows all our individual needs, but doesn’t approach them with an attitude of fixing them, but filling them; the Jesus who treats little children with an equal amount of humor and playfulness, balanced with the sacredness and respect of intelligent and growing individuals. This is the Jesus that I want to embrace and be like; the holy and beautiful Lord of the universe is the same holy and beautiful Lord of tree forts and fart noises.