It’s been said that how we picture Jesus is the most important thing about us - but that picture sometimes never leaves the page. We’ve got to respond how the Bible says Jesus really is. I think it’s pretty interesting looking around at culture and seeing how the world views him - especially Will Ferrell.
In the film Talladega Nights (2006), as the family sits down to pray, Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) and Cal Naughton Jr (John Reilly) begin to throw ideas back and forth of who they think Jesus is:
“I like to picture Jesus as a figure skater. He wears like a white outfit, and He does interpretive ice dances of my life’s journey”
“I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger”
“I like to think of Jesus like with giant eagles wings, and singin’ lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band and I’m in the front row and I’m hammered drunk”
“I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party”
To be honest, although this is undoubtedly a comedy, it could also begin to serve as an interesting parody of our culture, as we love to focus on the Jesus that we envision to be a pretty good guy.
As Will Ferrell begins to pray and begins to think of Jesus, he wants a Jesus that will suit him. So Jesus went to parties (Matt. 11:19), loved his Mum (John 19:26-27), encouraged others (Matt. 12:41-44), got stoked on joy (Luke 10:21-24) and yes he even told jokes! (Matt. 23:24)
But most people don’t want to hear that “Jesus was fully man and fully God” (John 1:1, 1:14). We begin to think how on earth do we even tell someone that: ”Hey man, so I know this guy. He was broke, homeless, betrayed by a friend and got murdered. Oh, and he was also God”.
So we like to chew on the ‘easy to swallow’ portions of our ideas of Jesus, as the writers of Talladega Nights may have unintentionally noticed, irrespective of how they view him.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4: 3-4)
We may surround ourselves with the Jesus we want to hear, instead of the Jesus the Bible speaks of.
So instead in periods of trouble, we don’t call on his as Supreme, but rather call on Jesus as a temporary remedy to make us feel good about ourselves.
We receive Jesus as a “get out of jail free” card, as we love being pain free. We receive Jesus as sin-forgiver, as we love being guilt-free. We receive Jesus as prosperity-giver, as we love being debt-free and wealthy.
This is symptoms of a failing system unless we accept Jesus worth more than anything in our lives.
”I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:7)
The apostle Paul realises the worth of knowing Jesus, that everything else not is even worth comparing! But he has lost all things for him - just to know him as he really is!
Jesus tells of a parable in Matthew 13:44 in which he describes a man who realised the infinite glory and value of Jesus:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”
I pray that we place value on Jesus, that he was not only fully man as our culture would like to think, but he was also fully God. As Paul writes in 2 Timothy of a culture turning their ears away from the truth, let us be a generation that turns our ears to the truth - and let it spread!
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)
At the start of 2011, let’s pick up the Word and read the gospels of who Jesus is, and how unbelievably valuable the gift of Grace is - that while we are still sinners, and had no reason to love us, he yet chose to save us! Now that’s the Jesus I want to worship!
Here is my Extension 2 English Film I completed for my 2010 HSC, I was blessed to receive 100% for it! I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think, as I’m always learning and just want to do what I’m passionate about.
Also if you’re doing Extension 2 this year, or just interested in my reflection statement in which I deconstruct the philosophical, theological and contextual underpinnings of The Common Hours film, I’d be more than happy to email it to you, just message me on Facebook or Twitter!
Also I posted a blog earlier below on this page which will briefly explain the film also!
This year I completed the Extension 2 English course for the HSC, which is pretty straight out a major work! I’m passionate about film-making, so I decided to do a film. However I felt even more passionate about somehow incorporating my faith.
Initially most teachers I talked with advised religion as being a very risky topic for the HSC. But I came to the conclusion that if my faith was going to become something to become risky to proclaim - I’m in!
This prelude is to serve as to uncover some symbolism and the storyline of the film. After the film is released online in the coming days, I’ll also post my reflection statement - it’s pretty wordy in the nature of the course, but if you’re interested in the further symbolism and philosophy - check it out!
The title The Common Hours originated from the thought that while every person is completely different, the one thing we all have in common is - time. However, what you choose to do with your time is different. The main character, Jonah, seeks to contribute to a greater cause than himself through using the limited time we have in this life.
This concept is contextualised in a late 21st century dystopian/post-apocalytpic future Australia. As the world becomes increasingly integrated, so does countries such as Australia rise in the diversity of religion.
In this diversity, religious extremism sets in. As each religion believes that they are the one true way, friction is caused within the nation. Therefore the government outlaws all religion - whether Islamic, Hindu, Christian.. all religious activity is banned in the name of peace. Jonah, led a new resurgence movement to bring hope to this lost nation, where he is persecuted for his faith and sentenced to isolation.
So I hope that simply uncovers the premise of the film!
The reason for this prelude note was such that the film was constructed according to the syllabus of the Extension 2 English course, where it tends to be unnecessarily complicated in building concepts, so my aim is that you’ll have a feel of the film before you see it so you get some of the symbolism that happens!
We’ve had some pretty crazy adventures, and hilarious stories to tell from filming The Common Hours. From carrying a camera crane through the bush for half an hour in 30 degree heat, to losing Nisal off a cliff as he was getting into character, to being accused by security guards for filming a skating film on private property. Fun times haha, all in all it’s been an amazing experience and can’t wait for you to all see it!
Jonah - Nisal Karunaratne
Jordan - Cam McDonald
Harry Logan - Camera Crane
Luka Bosnjak - Audio Boom
Jos Eastwood - Technical Assistance
Tim Wilson - Lending us the Audio Boom!
Jordan Munns - Designing the cover art and the use of his camera!
All the above people have been absolutely incredible in giving up their time and investing their skill into making this film happen! So blessed to have worked with such an amazing team!
On Thursday at 6pm the film will be online! I’d love for you to check it out!
Tonight, I was going through my iTunes library, checking out some bands I haven’t listened to in an incredibly long time. Until recently, I wouldn’t be the guy that would really pay attention to the lyrics of songs - unless Bohemian Rhapsody was playing, which when played where ever you are must immediately drop everything and pour out your heart into a rock opera reminiscent of Wayne’s World, but that’s another blog. Upon searching, I began listening to the lyrics of some of the bands - until I heard this one line which I just can’t get over - “We stare at broken clocks”.
This band had literally encapsulated the desperate cry of a generation - and they may not have even realised it. The greatest problem is that we think we’ve got time in this life - when we don’t. Life looks incredibly different when seen through the lens that is eternity.
This world has veiled the eyes of humanity that they have all the time in the world. I would talk to a friend about Jesus, and they’d reply “on my deathbed I’ll need Jesus, but now I don’t”. Satan has a very simple agenda - to keep people lost. If he can keep them lost till the end of their unforeseen demise without one opportunity taken for salvation, then there’s one more person lost for eternity.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” [Acts 20:24]
We’ve been given the task of testifying the gospel of God’s grace, where “he is with us always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). If He, the eternal God who breathes stars into existence, is with me for the period of my microscopic lifetime to tell people He exists - the odds must be for us!
Lets not call ourselves believers any longer if believers only believe. But be disciples committed to action (Acts 11:26). We’ve been given a task to testify the gospel in these final days of the Earth’s existence, not to simply believe and keep to ourselves.
There’s a specific reason why Ecclesiastes 12:1 was put in the Word of God, it’s not one of my poor topic sentences in an English exam to fool the marker that I actually know what I’m talking about. But it’s God-breathed and chosen specifically for us from God. Ecclesiastes 12:1 reads “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth”. The choice of the phrase “in the days” in it’s original language (Hebrew) means only “a day” or in greater depth means “in the warm hours” or the final hours. The significance of this today, is that the Saviour of the world is crying out for you to remember Him, most importantly in the days when you’re most likely to drift away. Current statistics compiled by researcher Thom Rainer has shown that over 70% of youth will leave church by the age of 22, in such a small period of time so many people can slip away.
We’re called to testify the gospel to a generation staring at broken clocks. A generation that doesn’t see the scope of eternity. I’m constantly reminded how broken we all really are, we can never stop preaching love too much. Jesus Christ didn’t come to Earth to make God’s love possible, but to make it visible. Let’s be committed to loving with our actions, visibly showing the Grace that has saved us from an agenda of lies. As soon as the Gospel loses relevance in our lives, is as soon as we fail to see it’s relevance in those around us.
“Have you noticed everyone who is for abortion is born?” - Rick Warren
Jesus Christ was the only saviour to ever be raised from the dead. We are not saved by how much we go to church, how many times we pray, or even if we’ve done the most greatest of things wrong - but where sin increased, grace increased all the more (Romans 5:20). Today was the day Christ conquered death, so that we can live.
If our God is for us, who could ever stop us now.
Check out Romans 6:11-14.
Good Friday. After 18 years of growing in and out of church, most people understand the event: Jesus Christ died on a cross today.
Each year I’ve almost sat in the church service like it was a TV re-run, sing songs, look at the cross, take communion, sing more songs, listen to the story, sing even more songs, then leave. The magnitude of the crucifixion, the unceasingly monumental event of eternal proportions, the piercing of the hands of a trinitarian God that bears nothing but absolute love for his children that drive nails into his arms of Grace seemed distant. Not due to the church, the message, or anything other than it was yet to be revealed to me and understood deeply this love that was shown.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet his still didn’t open his mouth;
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent -
so he did not open his mouth” [Isaiah 53:7]
Last night I went to one of my best friends party, had the greatest time shreddin’ some classic Toto, Rage, and without a doubt Nirvana had to be played (holdin’ the line alright haha). Met up with friends I hadn’t seen in months and had a good laugh in attempting to bring out a pit as The Thrash gods took the stage. I remember taking a step back, and looking around to notice the diversity and the sheer amount of people that I’ve grown to know and love for so long.
- The looks of the frontman stopping the ground before breaking out into a LadyGaga cover - the same guy that on Monday mornings in Year 8 would be the only other person there with me at 8am and we’d always share dreams of starting the most epic band on the history of the planet haha.
- The questionable glances of a girl on the outside of the now growing pit, laughing with her friends as the frontman breaks out into the moonwalk - the same girl that organised one of the most epic events to ever happen at school resulting in friends giving their lives to Jesus.
- The guy out the back leaning on his car looking out over the chaos that ensues before him - the same guy that has helped me in my hardest of times and still has a sense of humour haha.
- I noticed the girl in the center nudging the odd guy that might cross her path haha - the same girl who has such a heart for people through her art and spends hours tirelessly designing the most incredible pieces i’ve ever seen.
- The emperor dressed in a toga off to the side of stage - the same guy we’d wrestle for a donut in Year 9 or talk about our struggles with family, we learnt donuts solve everything.
The many other people there, that in an immediate moment, I could list all these things that would remind me of times shared that have made me grown to love each and every one of them. I can’t help but not love them, we’ve grown up together, we’ve experienced life together, and they’re some of the greatest people I will ever meet. In the words of C. S Lewis “Because we love something else more than this world, we love even this world more than those who know no other”.
After the music finished, we all migrated to different parts of the house. In the best of good times, it’s so easy to look back on the other good times - yet in understanding why you love something so much is through the not so great times. I learnt a greater understanding last night of the price He paid.
I love these people, and walking outside my heart broke for friends as some compromised to feel a god that could be inhaled, a god that could be washed through their body to feel fresh, a god that could feel as close as their skin - to allow human nature to push God to feel as far as the moon. This temptation is what we have become wired to, it echoes every fibre of our body.
I’ve been reading in Galatians 2, where the apostle Peter lets his guard down - in a moment he turns away from God to favour the fear of man. No matter whether you are in fact an apostle of the Gospel, or waking up beside a guy you think you’ve never seen before - we all belong to the temptations of sin, yet everyone has fallen.
In this situation in Hebrew 4, I cry out for those to run to grace, manifested in the complete man and God - Jesus Christ. “We don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”.
As I sat next to a girl rolling up her first smoke, my heart broke for my friends. In hours, the sun will rise and it will be Good Friday - the day that the Son of Man hung for this. The day that would be the pinnacle in history for the world, that although we are in this world, we are surrendered to the saving power and grace that is found through the resurrection from death of Jesus Christ.
I felt that I understood the power of the crucifixion. I felt I knew the magnitude of what He did for us. I felt it was greater revealed to me how the Son of Man felt looking down to his friends from the Cross - seeing each of them and the times they shared. His heart broken for them, with the words “It is finished” he bowed his head and gave up his life.
In His life, he was tested by the Pharisees as to whether he was who he really said he was. In Matthew 12:40, Jesus prophesied his crucifixion “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. Jesus Christ made right what Jonah couldn’t. Jonah was disobedient but Jesus was perfectly obedient, Jonah was unwilling to go to Nineveh but Jesus was willing to come to earth, Jonah was a sinner who needed to be saved but Jesus is a sinless saviour, Jonah suffered for his own sin but Jesus suffered for our sin.
Jesus Christ is the completion of anything we could ever do. It’s not use trying to do it on our own anymore, it doesn’t work - it leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth. He came to us dead in our transgressions to make us alive in Him. He came, he parted these ribs like the the sea and made this stone beat. We were dead, and now we are alive in the Grace of Christ.
Come and live again.