Many people are familiar with the story of the Apostle Paul, but there is something about bringing a story to life through film. Recently, Sony Pictures released Paul, Apostle of Christ.
Paul, played by James Faulkner, of Downton Abbey, goes from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Christ’s most influential apostle. He is spending his last days in a dark and bleak prison cell awaiting execution by Emperor Nero. Luke, played by Jim Caviezel of Passion of the Christ, his friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into Rome to visit him. Paul is under the watchful eye of Mauritius played by Olivier Martinez, the prison’s prefect, who seeks to understand how this broken old man can pose such a threat. But before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. Their faith challenged an empire. But their words changed the world.
Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He has survived so much – floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger, thirst, cold and exposure – yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten, “and if he has the strength to finish well.
Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world.
Richard Glickstein, former president of the National Bible Association shares how the movie impacted him.
“I was deeply moved by this film. The characterization of Paul played by James Faulkner is outstanding. The faithfulness to the Scriptures is powerful both in the spoken word and the actions of the characters. The depiction about how the Book of Acts could have been written is believable. For me, the most moving part of the film is the relationship between Paul and Luke, the physician. Great acting made their relationship so real and touching. By the end of the film, I was moved by their final moments.”by th
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14
eir final moments.”
Kevin DeVries, Founder and President of Grace Explorations reflects on how the movie impacted him.
“Paul, Apostle of Christ reminds us the greatest thorn in life is not what we see or cannot see with our open eyes in the day, but rather what we see when our eyes are closed at night – the painful regrets that prevent our resurrection from our past. In Paul, Apostle of Christ, God’s grace transformed Paul’s pain into a pen that powerfully sets us free from the prison of our past. The last scene is an unflinching reminder to stop punishing our past or fearing our future because God’s grace is always sufficient in the present. Now I know why God trusted Paul with His power – the only thing left for Paul to be proud of was God’s grace. God’s Grace will be with while you watch this deeply moving film.”
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Host a movie night. Invite your small group, friends from church, and even friends that might be seeking out spiritual answers over to your house for a movie night. Show Paul, Apostle of Christ or another faith-based movie that the group will enjoy but also be challenged in their personal walks too. Make an evening or event of it. Have everyone bring a dessert, appetizer or snack to share. After the movie is over, discuss what you learned and what impacted you the most. There is a discussion guide for Paul, Apostle of Christ that can help you guide your conversation. http://www.paulmovie.com/site/resources
Pray for the persecuted. There are believers all over the world that are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Some have been excommunicated by their family and friends. Others have suffered physically and some have even been murdered for their faith. Pray that God would give them faith to continue on even in spite of being persecuted. Ask God to provide for their needs physically, mentally and spiritually. If they are fleeing their country or home, pray that God would provide refuge for them.
Pray for the persecutors. Ask God to move in the hearts of those that are persecuting Christians. Whether it is someone who criticizes or harms an individual or a leader who has the authority to make legislation that will impact others, pray that they would come to know Christ. Pray that the leaders of countries that persecute Christians would have a spiritual revelation and encounter Jesus similar to Paul.
We were given a copy of Paul, Apostle of Christ by Frontgate Media. All of our thoughts and opinions are our own.