Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus of Nazareth
Director: Franco Zefferelli
Robert Powell
Ian Holm, [Best Actor]
James Farantino
Ernest Borginine
Michael York
Anne Bancroft
Rod Steiger
Anthony Quinn
James Mason
Christopher Plummer
Stacy Keach
Olivia Hussey
Peter Ustinov

Scribe, Zarah
The Centurian
John the Baptist
Mary Magdeline
Pontius Pilate
Herod II
Herod I
This is the finest film about the Messiah of Israel that I have witnessed.

Blessings I have Received from this film

1. Place in the Actual Cultural Setting

       On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit of God descended from Heaven to infill His body of believers... no new relgion was formed but rather the fulfillment of the law and of the prophets of a well established faith of Israel in the one and only true God, YHVH. Jesus of Nazareth, God's Messiah came into the world and did the fulfilling and was now baptising believers in His Spirit to empower them. All 3,120 that day who were baptised in the Holy Ghost and in His name were children of Israel. It would not be until much later during Peter's vision of Acts 10 that the first Gentiles would be saved.

       It is in this setting of Jewish believers in the promised Messiah that would come that we find this film well laid. Joseph the carpenter and Mary his espoused wife begin the awesome revelation of the Messiah to man. Much attention is paid to their Jewish heritage, and that of Jesus born of the tribe of Judah. Mary's experience with Gabriel and the following overshadowing results in a surprized Joseph discussing with the Rabbis the situation, until he himself is blessed by a visitation of an angel of God and told of the glory that he would soon take part in.

       The culture of the ancient Jews is perfectly depicted in the marriage of Joseph and Mary and their wedding ceremony and feast are a joy to watch. The clothing, the music, the vows all are well set in the tradition of the Jewish faith.

       When Jesus is depicted as a young child, he is taught in the Jewish community in which he lives in Nazareth of the traditions, customs of his heritage which above all includes the fear of the Lord. At the appointed time, Jesus is Bar Mizvahed, within the local temple congregation.

       But when Jesus begins his ministry at the approximate age of thirty, Robert Powell begins an inspired performance of the Christ who (as close as is possible by a mortal man) portrays the teachings of the Christ is a powerful way. In the film, he begins his ministry with his reading (of Himself) from Isaiah 61, as is recorded in Luke chapter 4's account of his life. The beginning of his ministry totally shocks the local congregation, as it normally would. Some consider it to be blasphemy.

       As the film continues, Jesus assembles his disciples and again being true to the times and the culture from which Jesus came into the world the Jewish lifestyles of the disciples are well illustrated. The actor playing John has all the appearance that one would imagine John to have, in that his Gospel is different than all the others focusing on the loving relationship of Messiah to the world.
       James Farantino in the role of Peter is excellent! Must be seen! He was a strong fisherman and a natural leader, however his need for the Messiah is made absolutely clear throughout the film.

2. Place in the Actual Cultural Setting

       The political setting of the times, that of Roman domination of Judea (and the rest of the world) is recreated along with the presentation of the spirit of those longing to be free from Rome. This context reveals in the film the outlook that many people of that time would have on the coming of Messiah and what they would have expected from Him. This -- in contrast to the Godly purpose of Messiah, the redemption of man.

       The performance by Ian Holm as Zarah the chief scribe of the temple is one of the most stunning and realistic portrayals of character that reaches the level of bringing understanding to the viewer about the political implications that Jesus of Nazareth introduced into His society, and that society's reaction to it. Ian Holm was simply brilliant.

3. Directed with a Santity of Spirit

       The actor portraying the Christ does so with a compelling sanctity which would draw any believer to the praise and glory of Jesus of Nazareth as well as bringing many to faith. The screenplay dialogue is a close match to the holy scriptures, thus the film being an actual presentation of the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah.

I can't say enough good things about this film, which is highly recommended to all.


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 Web Author:Michael Stevenson Updated: 12/17/2004 1:27PM