"The Visual Bible" put out a four-volume video series several years ago of the Gospel of Matthew. My mother purchased it. I had watched bits and pieces, and I once used a portion of the Sermon on the Mount for a Bible study class. Yesterday I pulled it out looking for something for Palm Sunday. (It is available on DVD now--sure wish I had that instead.) I I found myself captivated by something in Bruce Marchiano's portrayal of Jesus. I did a little research and found this statement:
"He researched the character of Jesus and discovered a very human personality trait: joy. Instead of depicting Jesus as pious and aloof, Bruce based his portrayal on the cornerstone of joy."
That was it! How often we have seen Jesus portrayed as "aloof"-- a trait that does not draw crowds, children, or hurting people. Marchiano portrays Jesus with a broad range of emotions, and Jesus smiles a great deal, laughs aloud at a blind man's healing, and tells parables with humor.
Yesterday I watched the scene of the Last Supper. As Jesus says to Judas, "You are the man" his eyes fill with tears, and he hugs Judas and weeps silently as he caresses his face. Judas has travelled as one of Jesus' close friends, and now he is going to betray him. Would Jesus have sat stoically and intone, "You are the man" with an emotionless face? Probably not.
Anyway, I am highly recommending the series. The script is the NIV version of Matthew, verse by verse. Bruce Marchiano hopes to produce a Gospel of John if the money can be raised. I hope it happens.
I'm posting a promotional clip below. It's an advertisement, and it is a bit exaggerated and pompous, but it will give you a taste of what I'm talking about. If you would like to see the triumphal entry section, we'll be watching it as part of our worship service. :-)