Film Friday Reflection: The Last Temptation

I’ll be the first to admit that this film is strange in places, an unusual retelling of the life of Jesus. However, it also has some fantastic moments. Like the time Jesus spits into his hands so he can heal a man who can’t see. You can find the account in John 9 v 6-7. It’s the kind of scene that might make you want to go, ‘Ugh!’ Not a reaction you often get when the account is read in church. But the spit in this movie is real, gloopy, sticky stuff. Not some otherworldly, sparkly, shiny spit, with a bit of fairy dust sprinkled on top. This is the real deal. Because Jesus was fully human and fully alive. With real saliva in his mouth. I sometimes wonder whether I can be over-reverential in my faith, keeping God at a polite distance. And the thing is, God refused to keep his distance. He burst into the neighbourhood, into this world of sweat, stress, strain and spit. Looking all too genuinely earthy and earthly. Malcolm Muggeridge once said something like – religion can be our way of keeping God at bay. Well, he wouldn’t be kept at bay. We were too important too him. You were too important to him. He wasn’t afraid of our darkness or despair or duplicity, or demanding ways. This was God in jeans and a hoodie. Not looking like God at all. Instead spending his time laughing, crying, listening, transforming the lives of the lost and the ordinary and the loveless. Entrusting himself to us, and to every inch of our brilliant, grumpy, glorious, shambling, critical, cynical, money-haunted, sewer-strewn, hungry world. Oh yes.

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  1. Mark Roques says:

    Thanks so much for this great blog Dave. You really capture some vital features of the incarnation. This was God in jeans and a hoodie. Great line. I appreciate the imagination in your work Dave. It helps people like me who preach sermons and engage in mission and discipleship.

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