Was Jesus that joyful?

I’ll never forget the first time we viewed The Gospel of Matthew over fifteen years ago. The joyful portrayal with which Bruce Marchiano seemed almost, well, sacrilegious.

After all, I’d grown up watching Jesus of Nazareth. For years, I subconsciously carried Robert Powell’s somber portrayal in the back of my mind.

 

Bruce Marchiano, The Gospel of Matthew

Bruce Marchiano made me realize how I’d underestimated the emotional side of Jesus. Yes, He was on a mission, walking earth with intentionality, but Scripture also reveals He was full of joy. So why did Bruce’s outbursts of laughter catch me off guard? A smile, okay — but a belly laugh? No!

My naivete is embarrassing.

 

Robert Powell, Jesus of Nazareth

One need only look to the Word to see that Jesus is the very definition of joy.

It was with joy that He chose to leave His place in heaven and take ours here on earth. (Luke 10:21,22)

It was with joy that He dwelt among us, loving the unlovely, and holding children close. (Mt. 13:15-19)

It was with joy that Jesus endured the cross. (Heb. 12:2)

The Word gives us all we could ever hope to know Him but seeing the biblical versions played out on screen helped me to visualize the emotions He experienced as the One who was clothed in flesh—and full of joy.

How about you? Have you always imagined Jesus to be joyful? And who, in your opinion, has best portrayed Jesus in a film? 

 

My personal favorite, Brian Deacon’s portrayal of Jesus in the JESUS film project.
“I have told you this so that My joy may
be in you and that your joy may be
complete.”
John 15:11

 

 

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