Conservative Christians Will Find “The Young Messiah” Inspiring, Entertaining

(PHOTO: FOCUS FEATURES) Film still from "The Young Messiah," 2016.
Film still from “The Young Messiah,” 2016.

Often, when I talk to my kids about Jesus, I ask them playful and even thought-provoking questions about Christ as a child, helping them understand that this Messiah we worship — the Creator of the world — once was their age, likely doing some of the very things they do.

“Do you think Jesus chased His friends?” (Yes! — they’ll respond)

“Do you think Jesus laughed and playfully wrestled with His siblings?” (Yes!)

Then I’ll toss a curve ball: “Do you think Jesus ever disobeyed His parents?” (No!)

Scripture is mostly silent about Jesus’ childhood, but a film opening this weekend — “The Young Messiah” (PG-13) — tells the story of Christ as a 7-year-old boy, exploring what life might have been like not only for Him but also for Mary, Joseph and the surrounding community.

While the movie is almost entirely fiction, the writers and the director made every effort to keep it theologically sound — ensuring, for example, that the young Jesus did not do anything that could be construed as sin.

It is loosely based on Anne Rice’s book “Christ The Lord: Out Of Egypt,” although major changes were made to some of her more controversial scenes so as to keep it acceptable to conservative audiences.

No doubt, plenty of Christians will view “The Young Messiah” with skepticism, wondering how a film with little supporting text in Scripture can be, well, acceptable. I, too, was skeptical at first, but after watching it walked away moved, inspired and even entertained. It is every bit as good as “Risen,” another film of biblical fiction that has been well-received by moviegoers.

Young actor Adam Greaves-Neal is simply outstanding as a boy Jesus who carries all the traits we read about in Scripture with the adult Jesus. He is kind, loving, considerate, compassionate and humble. But He is also a boy — and the filmmakers did a nice job of captivating what it might have been like to watch Jesus grow “in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52).

We see the human side of Jesus.

“Tell me about the angel,” Jesus asks Mary during one emotional scene at the end of the movie, wanting to hear the story of how she discovered she was pregnant.

We also see the divine side of Jesus.

The Christ child in “The Young Messiah” performs a few miracles — Mary, at the end, urges him to stop doing them, out of fear for His safety — and He also displays authority over Satan. In the film, Jesus can visually see Satan around him, even though others can’t. During one poignant, powerful moment, Satan creeps near Jesus in bed when the Christ child commands: “Don’t touch me! … Never, ever lay your hands on me.” And Satan doesn’t.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Michael Foust has covered the Christian film industry for a decade and has been a full-time editor and writer for 20 years. He blogs at him on Twitter @MichaelFoust