On Easter, we remember the glorious day, three days after He willingly gave His life, that Jesus rose from the dead. He overcame the power of sin. He stood victorious over death. His unconditional, sacrificial love broke through, allowing us to have a deep, personal relationship with God Himself. This Easter, be amazed at how great God is! In the spirit of this season, Sonoma Christian Home highlights 5 timeless Christian movies for Easter.
Each of these monumental films points to Christ and glorifies His name above all others. Bringing to life the events surrounding the incredible life of Jesus Christ, these five films are timeless masterpieces that are perfect for your home collection!
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
This film is probably the most well-known on our list and certainly earned its fame. From the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Mel Gibson (Braveheart), the film was extremely successful. On a budget of only $30 million, The Passion of the Christ made an astounding $612 million at the box office, blowing away predictions and proving that God can, and will, use film to advance His kingdom. The movie explores the life and story of Jesus (played by Jim Caviezel), from the early years of His ministry, continuing through His momentous death on a cross.
The beautiful cinematography and musical score, written by one of the most successful composers in the movie field, John Debney (The Jungle Book, Hacksaw Ridge), are both bold, gripping, and help viewers imagine the scope and scale of the story. The accurate depictions of Jesus’ torture are graphic and emotionally charged, helping believers and non-believers alike comprehend the depth and magnitude of His sacrifice. God has undeniably used The Passion of the Christ to drastically change the lives of countless people, drawing them nearer to Him.
The Passion of the Christ is a prelude to the resurrection, one that dynamically illustrates the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. Mel Gibson recently hinted at plans to create a sequel, entitled Resurrection. Only time will tell if those rumors are true, but this movie will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans worldwide!
Son of God (2014)
Produced by the award-winning team of Mark Burnett, whose projects have accumulated 98 Emmy nominations (Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, The Apprentice), and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel), Son of God tells the extraordinary story of Jesus’ life and death. With dazzling special effects, as well as powerful performances from actors such as Diogo Morgado (as Jesus) and Darwin Shaw (as Peter), the production quality of Son of God is exceptional in every way. Composers Lorne Balfe and Oscar winner Hans Zimmer (Lion King) created a breathtaking soundtrack, capturing the culture and significance of the time.
The Jewish Sanhedrin’s power and religious authority over Jerusalem are endangered when Jesus arrives. As Jesus begins to perform miracles, delivering the ultimate message of hope and salvation to the people, the religious leaders become fearful of Him. Though His mission is not to acquire political power, the high priests and the Pharisees worry He will do just that. Eventually, they convince the Romans to crucify Him on a cross, but it was all part of God’s perfect plan of redemption!
This accurate retelling of the story is a compelling and inspiring piece that will leave viewers in awe of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. As He hung on that cross, few could imagine that He would be walking in their very midst in three short days!
The epic 2016 remake of Ben-Hur is truly spectacular. With the aid of modern technology, scenes depicting the shipwreck and chariot race draw you in, making you feel as if you are standing among the thousands of chanting, bloodthirsty spectators in the heat of the ancient Roman Coliseum. The chariot race has you on the edge of your seat, with suspense building until the last moment. The memorable soundtrack drives the plot forward and sets the tone for the entire film. Veteran actors, including Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur (Twilight, The Longest Ride), Toby Kebbell as Messala (Prince of Persia, Planet of the Apes), and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman as Sheik Ilderim, provide a depth and character to the film that engages viewers throughout. Above all, the reimagining of Ben-Hur puts the message of Jesus front and center.
This adaptation of Ben-Hur tells the fictional story of the Charles Heston classic, but with a liberating and forgiving ending. The character of Jesus is given much more screen time in this interpretation, and forgiveness is the central theme of the story. Judah Ben-Hur spends half his life trying to repay his old friend Messala for his ruinous misdeeds against his beloved mother, sister, and family reputation, and finally gets the chance for retribution in a crushing, brutal chariot race. In the original film, that’s where it ends – Messala dies as a result of the chariot race, and vengeance is complete. However, the remake ends quite differently. While Messala is wounded, the hate and revenge that Judah Ben-Hur had on his heart melts away a when he encounters the overwhelming love of Christ.w
Risen is a perfect film to watch on Easter! The movie centers on the investigation to find the missing body of Jesus by a team of Roman soldiers, led by the clever and commanding Clavius (Joseph Fiennes). With pressure building on every side, from his superiors as well as the men he commands, the investigation threatens to damage both his pride and his reputation. Something he originally thought would be easy eventually proves to be impossible. The soldier’s search to disprove the resurrection of Christ escalates until one day when he sees Jesus with his own eyes. His struggle to negate rumors of a risen Jesus cause him to question his own beliefs and everything he thought was true. Risen is a suspenseful, intriguing, and overall brilliant movie that reveals more of who Jesus was, and the events that may have surrounded His resurrection!
Paul: Apostle of Christ
Affirm Films’ (Miracles from Heaven, Risen) new movie Paul: Apostle of Christ is a great fit for Easter. It focuses on the lives of Paul and Luke the physician, as well as the struggles of the early church. It will be in theaters over Easter weekend, so it’s the perfect film to watch! The movie stays true to the Bible. While most of the dialogue and details are fictional, the filmmakers went out of their way to make it as accurate as possible. The message behind this movie is simple: love.
Movies like these help us see and understand what Jesus did for us on a whole new level. The words on the pages of the Bible are incredibly moving and powerful, containing truth that could never fully be expressed through the screen. However, films allow us to experience the incredibly personal story visually, in a way that we never could otherwise. We are given the opportunity to fully appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice for us. That’s what Easter is all about.
Open your eyes and realize there’s so much more to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ than you could ever imagine! Enjoy your Easter, and be sure to spend time with your family reflecting on the awesome story of Jesus!