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Was Jesus the Divine Son of God or simply a daring revolutionary? There have always been questions concerning Jesus and who He really was, and therefore, there will probably always be films about Him and His ministry on Earth. Whether or not Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Savior of the world, one thing is certain: He is alive in the hearts of millions, and this film helped capture the spirit of the Christian beliefs, making Jesus not so much an icon but a living, breathing Son of God, perfect in every way, Who loved us enough to die for our sins.
There have been many versions of the life of Christ, and many actors who have brought their own personalities to the part. William Defoe was a fearless leader in "The Last Temptation of Christ." Brian Deacon was friendly and cheerful in "Jesus." Max Von Sydow spoke with authority and passion in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Jurgen Prochnow was cold and mysterious in "The Seventh Sign." Jeffrey Hunter was untouchable and almost with little personality except to complete the mission assigned to him in "King of Kings." All of these men have contributed, but I would have to say that none of them were truly convincing, just because there are so many aspects to Jesus, and, being human, they were unable to really portray the Son of God affectively.
Enter Robert Powell. This man looks as if he were born to play Jesus, from the physical features to the very heart and soul of the Son of Man. He manages to combine the elements of his peers who attempted the role, and you don't see the actor....you see Jesus Christ. You can sence the love and the passion flowing through Him, and at the same time, you can see His authority and discipline. For the first time, we have a Jesus who is "one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God."
This is also possibly the longest movie I've ever sat through, but it held my attention, nevertheless. Zeffirelli manages to keep it captivating, with a powerful soundtract and a cast of famous actors that are jam-packed but never overused. Not only do you see an affective Jesus, but you also see a wonderful group of people who were affected by Him. If the real Jesus was anything like the way Robert Powell portrayed Him, then I don't have any problem wondering how Christianity has managed to grow and be spread, impacting countless lives....including mine.
"Jesus of Nazareth"....you do your title-name proud. Truly this Man WAS the Son of God.
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