We went to see this latest movie, including actor, Jim Caviezal as the physician, Luke. It depicts times of terrible persecution within the early Christian community in Rome. Paul is in prison when Luke is called to write down Paul’s story before his impending execution. James Faulkner plays the part of the aging and soon to be killed, Paul.
The beauty of his conversion, his time spent in the wilderness as a student of Jesus, Christ, the change from murderer/terrorist are all played out in flash backs as Paul and Luke sit in a solitary cell within the darkness of his small cell. Paul dictates – Luke writes what will become the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible.
Luke was a medical man. He could diagnose and cure most diseases with the help of God. He always gave the credit for the healings to his Creator, God. As he listened to Paul’s story, he has doubts about his own Christian conviction. When he learns that Paul was once destroying Christians with as much zeal as Nero, and then suddenly stopped because of an appearance by the One he was persecuting, it opened his eyes to God’s love and mercy even for his enemies. It gave him new hope of the promise of salvation he had available to him.
The characters of the movie are played with great believability. None of them appears any different than the average guy on the streets of Rome. The story tells of courage under the most difficult persecutions of Nero. People were burned and used as human torches to light the city streets. They were beheaded, crucified and tortured. When Nero’s circus began, the first act included the devouring of Christians by wild animals. Still they remained courageous, knowing that death wasn’t the end for them.
Caviezal and Faulkner carry on ordinary conversations, but delve into subjects of God’s love for man and man’s love of his fellow man. Love and forgiveness seem to be the common thread of the story related on the screen. We’re listening in on ordinary men and women who were used by God to do extraordinary things in their lives – even unto dying for their beliefs. The deeds they accomplished were through God’s grace and care of His children, but also for the spreading of the Gospel message throughout the world.
Most people will start out thinking it’s just another blood bathed story of Christianity, but I think it’s more than that. There are some gory scenes that make you cringe, but still forgiveness even for those sins was carried out. Christians are under attack today as they were then. ISIS is killing, torturing and brutalizing those that will never deny their beliefs. The film was dedicated to all those Christians who have perished through persecution.
If you have a chance, this is the perfect flick for Holy Week.