The Young Messiah was recently released and is the latest in bible based movies. It portrays Jesus as a seven year old boy who has not learned that he is the Son of God or what his purpose in life is yet. It has gotten great reviews and people generally seem to like the movie. Is it worth seeing?
If you have a well formed understanding of your faith and can separate fact from entertainment you will probably do ok seeing this movie. If your theology changes every time you watch something on TV you might want to avoid this movie.
This movie is well acted and well filmed and is entertaining. As a movie goes it is a good movie. As a source of Christian instruction it is horrible. It is worse than horrible. It is heresy. Heresy is any belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious doctrine. The heresy in this movie is that Jesus did not know who he was until his mother sat him down and told him. He was just a normal human kid living a normal human life until Mary told him he was God. This is contrary to Catholic doctrine.
This movie wrestles with one of the great mysteries of Christianity, the dual nature of Jesus. Most of the popular heresies in Christian history have revolved around this subject. To begin to have some sort of understanding on this we have to first start by understanding the difference between a person and a nature.
A person is a unique entity or being. There are only three types of persons – divine, angelic, and human. A divine person is God and we have three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. More correctly stated we have the Father, the Word, and the Holy Breath. From the Father came the Breath and one word was uttered – Jesus.
An angelic person is a completely spiritual being created with full knowledge to be servants and messengers of God. These are the angels and the fallen angels or the demons.
Last in the pecking order we have the human person who is an incarnated spirit. We are not spirits trapped in flesh who get released when we die. Nor do we become angels. We are spirits joined with flesh and we will have physical bodies for eternity after the final judgment.
Jesus is not a human person. Jesus is solely a divine person. When we say that Jesus is fully human and fully divine we are speaking of his nature or the essence of his being. The second person of the Trinity took on a human nature when the Word became flesh. It is this dual nature that has confounded people since Jesus came on the scene. Something cannot be 100% one thing and 100% another. That is if we view nature as a physical substance. Think of nature to be more like light.
Imagine for a moment a room with a box in the middle of it. On the left is a bright red light. On the right is a bright blue light. When we turn on just the red light the box turns red. When we turn on just the blue light the box turns blue. When we turn on both lights an interesting thing occurs. When we view the box from the left the box is red. When we view the box from the right the box is blue. When we view the box from the middle where both lights are shinning on it equally the box is purple. The box is 100% red and 100% blue at the same time. The red light does not displace the blue light and the blue does not displace the red. They exist equally.
The red light represents Christ’s divine nature. The blue represents his human nature. There are times where Jesus’ divine nature shines through, like when he is healing or forgiving sins. There are times when Jesus’ human nature shines through, like when he laments in the garden of Gethsemane. Most of the time in scripture we see the two natures shining together.
Equally as difficult to understand is what knowledge Jesus had during his time on earth. Some believe that as a divine person he was omnipotent and had all of the same knowledge as the Father. Others believe the exact opposite; that Jesus only knew what he was taught. We can cherry pick individual scripture passages that will support either belief.
I believe that, like with his dual nature, Jesus had dual knowledge. Jesus is a divine person and knew his divinity. He and the Father were one. Jesus knew who he was, what he was, and why he was here. Yet, Jesus could not tell you whether or not it would rain the next day. When Jesus became incarnate he became like us in all things except sin. He set aside his omnipotence and was obliged to know only that which the Father revealed to him. He had to learn human things the way a human does. He was not born knowing how to speak, to feed or dress himself. He had to learn to go to the bathroom.
Think for a moment of all of the knowledge that God posses as being contained in one book. This book represents the tree of life from the story of the Garden of Eden. God told man not to open the book. We did and we fell. When Jesus became man he closed the book and handed it to his Father. Jesus then only read the pages that his Father gave him to read and not one word more. From the very beginning Jesus had the divine knowledge of who he was and only the human knowledge he learned or was given for a specific task.
The major heresy in The Young Messiah is that Jesus did not know who he was until he was told by his mother. He was also able to create and restore life at seven. It makes for a good movie but does not reflect the teaching passed down through the centuries by the Church Jesus founded.
So what is the danger in it? It’s only a movie right? Unfortunately people these days believe what they see on a screen, whether that be from the internet on a computer screen, a non-Christian documentary on the T.V., or a religious based movie on the big screen. In the days of the eleven second attention span people learn through the images that enter through the eyes. And the devil knows this all too well.
How do you get a dog to take a pill? Usually you wrap it in a piece of cheese or some peanut butter and give it to them. They swallow the pill with the prize. Satan uses this same trick with us. He takes something morally corrosive and wraps it in gooey goodness. Take a heresy and wrap it up in a good film about the god boy and people will eat it up. Wasn’t it just darling the way he made doves out of clay and brought them to life? See, he had the power to resurrect people even when he was that young. Once you get someone walking down the wrong road it becomes easy to slowly wind that road completely away from God without the wanderer ever knowing the better.
We are instructed to avoid the near occasion of sin. We are to avoid those places that make it easier for us to fall into sin. Going to a movie such as this one with a questionable understanding of your faith puts you in the near occasion of sin. It should be avoided. If you are well founded in your faith and can see this as nothing more than entertainment then by all means go enjoy.
My heart is full because the tomb is empty.