ODJ: mixed reviews

March 2, 2015 

READ: John 5:31-47 

You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! (v.39).

A recent spate of God-related films led to surprising success at the box office. Reviews, however, were decidedly mixed.

Noah is one such film. The writer-director is an atheist who calls his project “the least biblical film ever made”, causing many Christians to revile the film. Others said, “An atheist is getting people to talk about God. How cool is that!”

We could surmise any number of reasons why Jesus revealed Himself as the Word instead of the video. He could have visited our planet in say, the 1940s, or divinely arranged for the Romans to invent celluloid by the first century. But He didn’t.

When Jesus arrived in the flesh, He met mixed reviews. Sinners loved Him. The religious leaders? Not so much. They hated the way He painted outside their clearly drawn lines, hanging out with the untouchables, redefining the Sabbath and claiming equality with God.

But Jesus didn’t care about His ratings. Rather, He told the religious leaders: “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (John 5:39). Then He added, “Your approval means nothing to me” (v.41).

Jesus still gets mixed reviews. Regardless, God is being discussed in our popular culture, which affords us a chance to engage in healthy dialogue with our friends. So how do we do that? We don’t have to praise or hate films or win arguments. We simply need to tell our story and the way it merges with Jesus’ story.

There’s a line in another recent film about faith, God’s Not Dead, that applies here: “Don’t try to be clever. Be content to tell the truth.” You may not get great reviews, but you’ll be in good company! —Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: Joshua 5:13-6:27

Read John 1:5,10-11 and consider how it relates to John 5:37-40. 
How can you use popular religious-themed books, music and films to tell others about God? What has He done in your life that you can share with unbelievers today?