“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
I read an article Mark Walsh wrote. It’s a review of the movie Paul Apostle of Christ. Click here to read his article. After reading it, I was kind of disappointed thinking the film would not highlight some of most significant journey’s Paul took in sharing the gospel with the world. However, after seeing the movie I was not disappointed, in fact, I was moved by how powerful some of the scenes were. The movie did seem slow in parts, but upon reflection, those were the moments that most affected me. I think if there had been a ton of action scenes you would not have been able to reflect on what was really transpiring at the end of Paul’s life. Of course, we can not fully know every detail. But to imagine is a powerful thing.
A vast majority of Paul’s lines were taken directly from scripture which was even more powerful. Especially if you knew those verses by heart. It was like if you were standing in front of the apostle and hearing him speak to you, speaking into your life. When reading the letters from Paul, we are often focused on his current situation, his surroundings, and his thoughts to us from his prison cells. We hardly ever think of the man facing death with all of the regrets and memories swirling around inside of his mind.
He said in Philippians that he forgets what is behind and reaches for what is ahead.
“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Why would he have to say that to us? To remind us that our past sometimes can plague us. That if we focus on what is back there, then we lose our focus on what God has given to us to do. His power in and through us comes in our weakness. And Paul reminds us over and over, we can do nothing without him.
The movie is worth seeing. Don’t go with any expectations. Let God use it to show you, where you are now in your faith walk, what He can do through suffering and sacrifice. I probably cried the last 30 minutes of the movie. It seemed to me that God used this film to show me how one day we all will have to make a stand for him. And it will cost us much. Will we be ready for the day, will I? Will we walk to it with grace? Will we give of ourselves with hands open or closed?
He drove home the point that Christianity is not something to mock or dismiss. It is not something we can pretend at or use as some magic rock to get things we want or to lift ourselves up as pious.
It is a calling. It is a way of life. It is Jesus Christ in you. In me!