“It is finished.” These words reverberated in many churches across the nation this past weekend as Christians everywhere celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here at GateWay these words were thoughtfully and accessibly presented in an excellent Easter Sunday sermon. Many, myself included, also celebrated family, food and fun. I believe Jesus smiles when we lovingly get together with family. I also believe Jesus rejoices when we take His resurrection power and apply it in our workplaces, schools, clubs, rush hour commutes and especially, in our relationships, starting with my relationship to myself. And all in the Heavenly realms, God certainly, cheer outrageously, when we understand there is no other event more important or critical to life than the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Ed’s first sermon point, “Don’t Quit,” leads me to a quickie movie review and a plea to go and see it. The Case for Christ opened April 7 and is currently playing at the downtown theater. This is the story of Lee Strobel, award-winning investigative journalist with the Chicago Tribune and currently noted author and pastor. Strobel, life-long atheist, found himself cataclysmically confronted by an incident involving his daughter and the subsequent faith awakening of his wife. He is challenged to pursue an “investigative” report on the subject of Jesus Christ to prove his wife wrong and return to his idealized state of life. The central focus of Strobel’s search is to expose the death and resurrection of Christ as the hoax and myth he believes it is as the faith of Christians will rise or fall on the truth of this event. During the course of his investigative research, Lee’s wife, despairs as their relationship begins to unravel. She despairs but does not quit on God or Lee. This is a story of facts, faith and relationship.
The movie is very thoughtful and clear although I found it slow moving from a dramatic point of view. It is well acted and the production values are first class and there is nothing that will say this is another low budget Christian movie. This said I feel this is a movie only Christ-followers will love as the story line and characters evoke thoughts of one’s own personal spiritual journey. For those with no Christian experience it will be a reach. Is this worth going to see? I say a resounding YES. Here are four reasons to go see it.
#4 – It is difficult to get movies with a “religious” content made and even more so if it is a Christian one. Movies with a clear and distinct Christian message must be supported by the public or those who govern the economics of entertainment will not produce such movies. The non-believing patrons will not go see them. We who do believe have to step up and go. It doesn’t take a tsunami to get the “Hollywood” executives to take note of box office receipts. The spiritually themed movie The Shack is a good example. The Shack grossed $16 million ranking number 4 on the top ten list on opening weekend and very favorably surprised many media moguls. It has done well in subsequent weeks. By contrast, the number one movie opening that weekend was Beauty and the Beast, with $170 million in box office receipts. So even at one tenth the gross, The Shack surprised the experts. We Christians can make a difference in Hollywood.
#3 – We believers can always benefit from encouragement and affirmation of our faith. When it is portrayed on the big screen or on a big world stage, it is all the more special. The Case for Christ will encourage and affirm.
#2 – The primacy of the resurrection of Christ is clearly portrayed. There are facts and there are logical reason why this is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Strobel’s search highlights these things and every believer in Jesus should know this. This movie only scratches the surface of the ocean of information available but it is a great start in stimulating an in depth pursuit. You might consider reading the book, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.
#1 – In reaching others for Christ, I firmly believe we need a full tool box to get the job done. The Holy Spirit is essential. Master Carpenter Norm Abram’s on This Old House says, “The right tool for the right job.” The Case for Christ movie may be the right tool to help someone you know who has questions on the validity and authenticity of the resurrection. Perhaps you know of a friend who grew up in “church” and needs a fresh look at the central point of Christianity. Go see it together. It definitely can be a conversation stimulant and can open the way for you to share your God story because it all comes down to the relationship, not just the facts, ma’am.