John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told

John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

Our family movie night this week featured the 1965 classic, The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Featuring Max von Sydow as Jesus and Charlton Heston as John the Baptist, this film was one of my favorites growing up.

Yes, the actor playing Jesus has funny hair. My son Eli was quick to point that out. 

But I want to key in on Heston’s portrayal of John the Baptist here.

John Lazarus Mullet, Lauren’s and my youngest son, turned 3-years-old this week. And part of the tradition in our house for birthday dinners has been for my wife and I to take turns telling the story behind the naming of our children, and also to tell the story of our children being born.

And it just so happened that in my telling the story of how we came to name John as we did, I found myself recalling John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Thus the inclination to watch the movie for the first time ever with my kids.

Posing as Jesus

This brings up some interesting questions, though. How much do portrayals of Jesus and the gospels influence our impression of the Biblical text? And how much does an actor’s performance color and shape the way we perceive our Savior and God’s Word?

As Christians, we are supposed to be imitators of Christ especially, and God’s faithful servants secondarily at least in some form or fashion. And I could insert here some cliché about the life and testimony of Christians being the only sermon some people will ever hear. But I won’t.

All the same, we do well to be Bereans about how Jesus is portrayed in any and every medium. Whether we embrace or reject certain aspects of portrayals as entirely faithful, there is a value in the process of evaluating in light of the Scriptures.

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