As Sonoma Christian Home heads to L.A. for the premiere of Ben-Hur, there is much in the current news about the latest Ben-Hur trailer for this most anticipated summer movie. Sonoma Christian Home is excited to report that the new Ben-Hur movie features more of Jesus. CSN News observes that on his journey back to Jerusalem Judah Ben-Hur has several encounters with Jesus (Rodrigo Santoro). The new trailer starts with the scripture found in Jeremiah 40:4: “Now, behold, I release you today from the chains on your hands.” “My life, I give it freely,” Jesus tells Ben-Hur. He encourages Ben-Hur to love rather than hate.
The “Ben-Hur” movies are based on the novel that is in the public domain. The current re-make project began when MGM acquired Keith Clarke’s script, an adaption of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” The story focuses on Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem, and his friend Messala, a friend from childhood that returns home as a commanding officer of the Roman legions and then betrays the Ben-Hur family.
The movies and novel display encounters between Ben-Hur and Christ. One of these meetings is described in the novel, ” Thereupon a youth who came up with Joseph, but had stood behind him unobserved, laid down an axe he had been carrying, and, going to the great stone standing by the well, took from it a pitcher of water. The action was so quiet that before the guard could interfere, had they been disposed to do so, he was stooping over the prisoner, and offering him drink.
The hand laid kindly upon his shoulder awoke the unfortunate Judah, and, looking up, he saw a face he never forgot–the face of a boy about his own age, shaded by locks of yellowish bright chestnut hair; a face lighted by dark-blue eyes, at the time so soft, so appealing, so full of love and holy purpose, that they had all the power of command and will. The spirit of the Jew, hardened though it was by days and nights of suffering, and so embittered by wrong that its dreams of revenge took in all the world, melted under the stranger’s look, and became as a child’s. He put his lips to the pitcher, and drank long and deep. Not a word was said to him, nor did he say a word.
When the draught was finished, the hand that had been resting upon the sufferer’s shoulder was placed upon his head, and stayed there in the dusty locks time enough to say a blessing; the stranger then returned the pitcher to its place on the stone, and, taking his axe again, went back to Rabbi Joseph. All eyes went with him, the decurion’s as well as those of the villagers.
This was the end of the scene at the well. When the men had drunk, and the horses, the march was resumed. But the temper of the decurion was not as it had been; he himself raised the prisoner from the dust, and helped him on a horse behind a soldier. The Nazarenes went to their houses–among them Rabbi Joseph and his apprentice.
And so, for the first time, Judah and the son of Mary met and parted.”
The history of Union, Civil War, General Lew Wallace and his writing Ben-Hur is fascinating. YouTube presents an overview of this intriguing.
The remake of this epic movie is timely in its themes of violence and vengeance in contrast with the overcoming, sovereign love of Christ.