All week long, passing through the forty days of Lent I have been consumed with one story. Uniquely the very age we live and the time I write this on Good Friday, the Holy Week being observed is coming to the end, I have been thinking about Jesus Christ and what He did for us. The Bible study I chose to "take on" and read /'for this season from YOU VERSION has been both challenging and reflective. Never would I have dreamed during this time of the year and in this season of my life so many things would change in my world.
Reading the account of God's word as it relates to His son has always been fascinating to me. As a young man, I remember hearing someone say something about this time of the year. They shared, "There will only be one thing which is not perfect in heaven, it will be the nail prints in Jesus hands.". I will never forget this statement as we use this day to "symbolically represent" the day of His crucifixion.
Because my chosen "calling" and profession which has been in film and using the visual language to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ and all He represents, I am humbled by the enormous amount of believers in Hollywood who continue to make programming depicting the most cruel and incredible story of the ages. A special thanks in my heart goes to Dr. Bill Bright, the real visionary which began this entire process.
THE JESUS FILM a project created by Campus Crusade for Christ has been the benchmark where all filmmakers pointed for decades since the movie was made about fifty years ago. At that time, the film production cost was 20 million dollars and it was financed by Bunker Hunt. Bill told me before he passed to remember one thing in my plight of making films, "Kevin, never compromise on how much money you spend to make a movie, because we have to do things right if we are going to make an impact on culture".
Do you realize how much money it was to fund a picture fifty years ago at 20 million? It would be like a major theatrical feature today! No matter what the financial costs were would be involved in Killing Jesus from the NATGEO channel, to NBC on A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES or the History Channel on THE BIBLE MINI-SERIES or other great projects to tell the story of all stories, it pales in comparison to the cost of what He did for us.
I want us all to stop and think of the miracle of Easter.
What began as a man who changed the world with His teachings of loving God and loving others was brutally attacked and created the worst execution of all. This man named Jesus was the revolutionary and he was all man, but He was also all God. He was interrupted to create miracles, He didn't grandstand to please the masses. He did not use God's power which calmed the sea to even save Himself from His accusers.
The Passion Play in Eureka Springs called me this week to talk with me about helping them and the director Randall Christy had been in my home thanks to Arch Bonnema from Texas to see LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE. He is looking for robes and Biblical costumes to continue to improve the outdoor experience he is trying to convey and he is under grave spiritual attack. The community around him has witchcraft, sorcery and sexual prevision and they all hate him and they hate the story of Jesus.
Eddie DeGarmo and I have a dream to make HERO THE ROCK OPERA into a feature film. Its the musical of Jesus told in an allegory where if Jesus had never been born and he was raised in Harlem how different the world would have been today. The concept of this incredible allegory which I began praying about over six years ago is absolutely powerful. Eddie told me, "If Jesus had been here today, he would have quietly gone to hospitals where patients were dying with AIDS and healed them, just like He did the lepers". I wish the world could see this kind of love. If God sees it well, I plan to make this dream a reality with some of the finest musicians anywhere.
Jim Gromer looked over a decade to find me and talk about his screenplay JESUS THE LAST SUPPER because he spent five years writing a story about the last week of Christ and how Jesus would wash the feet of the disciples to begin this epic Biblical adventure for feature films. When I read his screenplay, I wept and Jim donated this screenplay to our non profit VERITAS MISSION FILMS ASSOCIATION because he and his wife believed in our approach and humility toward sharing the gospel.
These dreams are incredible, but they dwarf the amazing story of His love for us when He willingly agreed to be taken, to be tried in a court system which was corrupt and through betrayal from a friend was scourged, whipped almost to death and then crucified on a cruel cross. Its such an amazing story no man could have created this kind of adventure in writing. No screenwriter or filmmaker could ever possibly epic the power of what truly happened.
Mel Gibson felt the attacks when he developed THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. His twelve years of vigil to make this movie would forever change His life. When he came to our company EVERY TRIBE ENTERTAINMENT, i suggested we fund the P&A for the picture, but the owners did not feel this was a good idea. So often, when an idea is not yours, there is an underpinning to pass. However, I could not have picked a more powerful picture to fund.
Here is the reality. Most people don't have the stomach to want to portray something so horrific as what happened on Good Friday, during the final week of His life or anything Biblical. Only the greatest champions would dare to get behind a HERO THE ROCK OPERA or a JESUS THE LAST SUPPER. Plus, if you try to attempt to tell the story of the miracle of Easter or the aftermath of the Savior, your entire "reputation" is forever scarred by Hollywood's elite.
What Christ did for me this week would pale in comparison of anything I could ever do for Him. I don't deserve His grace and His love, but I am so forever thankful He loved me enough to do this horrible thing. I have accepted Him into my life and call Him my Master. I have chosen to follow His red letter teachings and am not just enchanted by His words, but moved to change my life because of Him. I may not always do the right thing, but I am totally accepting He is alive today, He is with my mother and our family, friends and people I have lost who know His love.
Today, I celebrate He is risen and He is risen indeed! The miracle of Easter lives. It does not need a movie, a song or another book to convince me. May our lives be a reflection of His love more than any property we ever create. May we have the courage to do more for Him than we could ever imagine or believe through His power alone. May we never take credit for anything, but give ALL the credit to a Savior who loved us so completely.
This story of the miracle of Easter is living. Make it part of your life and let it live in you...forever.
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.