A Homosexual Jesus film?
Recently, a reader and listener sent an urgent report, warning of a soon-to-be-released film depicting Jesus as a homosexual. As always, I try to check things out before making any comment. Here is what I found, with some thoughts:
The Urban Legend
Ever since the stage play called “Corpus Christi” was brought out in the late 1990s, this rumor has circulated on the internet. This has resulted in petitions and letter writing campaigns to various legislators and attorneys general. In spite of several attempts to quell the rumor, it continues to this day.
Just a thought on this: I am not so sure that we as Christians, in our zeal, do not give the enemies of Christ ideas with which to attack the truth of Christ. If we keep a rumor alive for years and fight against a false narrative, why would those who hate Christ not say, “Why not go ahead and do it? They’ve already spent all their energy and tactics—what more can they do?”
Corpus Christi, the Documentary
Now it appears there is a “documentary” to be released in late April called Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. This is not a movie, but rather a study of the actors who played in the “bold and daring” stage play, and the “bigotry and hostility” they faced for daring to seek to show compassion toward homosexuals. I seriously doubt if any of these actors would care to star in a “bold and daring” play mocking Muhammad. Instead of criticism, it just might get them killed!
This foul stage play is indeed blasphemous toward our Lord and Savior. I believe we all, as those who love and believe in Jesus Christ, need to stand up and take immediate action. However, I believe it is crucial to distinguish between spiritual versus social and political action. We need to remember “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but … spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). The actions that I would recommend will shock some and anger others. That seems to be my lot in life, so here goes:
A Biblical Response
1. First of all, we ought to examine our own lives, and root out all that is shameful and offensive to our Lord. I recently saw a bumper sticker that said something to the effect, “Christian: don’t preach to me if you can’t live it.” Now, the sentiment behind that statement is misguided, for the fundamental issue of our message to the lost is the Gospel. It is not what we do, but what Jesus Christ has done. However, in all our outrage at the degeneracy around us (and it is rampant), we would win more if we followed Jesus’ counsel in Mat 7:5: remove the speck in our own eye, and at least make a genuine effort—by faith—to be a true reflection of our Lord and Savior.
2. In light of the last sentence above, we could begin by following the example of Jesus, “Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1Pe 2:23–24). I am reminded that when Jesus was confronting the Pharisees, and in anger they retorted with the implication that He was a bastard child, His mild response was, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me” (Joh 8:42). Yes, it is true that He later, in Joh 8:44, tells them “You are of your father the devil,” and we love to focus on this as His angry retort. I do not believe He meant it that way. (For in truth, we all come into this world “… according to the prince of the power of the air … the sons of disobedience,” Eph 2:2.) Jesus’ statement was the explanation for His earlier rhetorical question, “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word” (Joh 8:43), and He then ends the debate with the words, “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear; because you are not of God” (Joh 8:47). It appears to me that His argument, and His voice, if we could have heard it, was full of pathos. This leads to the next consideration.
3. The blind cannot be expected to see. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “the god of this age has blinded [the minds of those] who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2Co 4:4). The Lord Jesus did not curse those who were physically blind—instead, He healed them. Nowhere do I find in His conduct, with those who were spiritually blind, an attitude of hatred. While His wrath—at times—flamed forth against the hardness of their hearts, He was always appealing to them to come into His mercy by humble faith. I wonder what would happen if, instead of petitions and campaigns, we Christians would exercise the mighty power given to us as priests of the order of Melchizedek by identifying with the sinner, having compassion on the blind, and interceding on their behalf before the throne of grace. Remember that the task of the priest was to first take care of his own sin, and then for that of the sinner (Heb 5:5, Heb 9:7). I believe with all my heart that more would be achieved if we took the names of those involved in the play—just as we ought to do for our national leaders—and lift them up before the throne, praying for the conviction and illumination which the Spirit of God alone can give, that they might be healed.
4. Finally, if we are aflame with a desire that the Body of Christ not be blasphemed, let us learn to exercise forgiveness and love toward fellow members of His Body–the Church. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:31–32). I believe that there is nothing in all the whole wide world as magnetic as the love of Christ. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] to Myself” (Joh 12:32). According to Jesus, it is the secret to changing the world—one soul at a time. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (Joh 13:35). The world looks at the Church—divided along a thousand lines, hating and attacking one another—and scoffs at the mockery of the love of Christ. Not only is the love of Christ magnetic, it is mighty beyond the power of words to describe. None of us can produce it. It can only be received as we allow the Spirit of God to produce His fruit in our lives (Gal 5:22–23). In this pursuit, we can spend the rest of our lives.
I do not write any of the above as a reproof or correction to anyone else. My own life gives me all the need for rebuke and correction I can find.
I am convinced that whatever benefit campaigning, picketing, or letter writing will accomplish, it will not be lasting, apart from the spiritual steps I outlined above. I believe this is true whether we speak of taking action in the spiritual realm, or in the political arena. God works in mighty ways, and through invisible means, using weak and flawed vessels, to achieve His eternal purposes. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out” (Rom 11:33).
While our Lord walked this earth, He bore every form of insult, shame, and accusation. He lived as an outcast and a stranger—“a mighty one who cannot save” because of the unbelief of those He came to die for (Jer 14:8–9; Mat 8:20). Yet the scorn and contempt of this world could not tarnish His majesty and nobility, nor ever goad Him into defensive outbursts of anger.
Rather, throughout His whole life, He kept His goal in view, and “for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). And as He died for those who scorned and hated Him, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luk 23:34).
If we are to err, let us pray to err on the side of His mercy and compassion for the blind, the lost, and the perishing.
That I may know Him,