Jesus of Nazareth - The Sermon On The Mount https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm5AAywYQT4
We respect the rights of all people to have beliefs. I am not recommending showing films about Jesus or not showing them in your class; that is a decision for your school.
But beginning in Middle School, at least in the State of California, there are many passages from the Bible, and the New Testament in particular, that are considered worthy of literary consideration. The Book of Job, the Psalms, the Sermon on the Mount, parables. The King James version, which recently celebrated its 500th birthday, is considered a masterpiece itself. It is said Shakespeare made a contribution to it.
And this is a pretty good time of year to show portions of the Jesus story if you're going to. Even the History Channel, liberal bastion of cable TV, frequently shows the television film of "Jesus of Nazareth" in entirety, Jesus being a central person of historical interest. That's why this is the year 2012.
|Mary, the mother of Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ."|
|"The Passion of the Christ" 2004|
|"The Kings of Kings" 1961|
|"The Greatest Story Ever Told" 1965|
Several Bible-themed movies came out in the sixties with blue-eyed Jesus actors quoting the King James Bible. Jeffrey Hunter was in the "Kings of Kings," a remake from the Cecil B. DeMille's 1927 version.
Max von Sydow played Jesus in 1965 in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." The films are sympathetically presented, especially toward poor little misunderstood Judas, who is frequently the most interesting character. These films have a respectful mood if not accuracy, and for the viewer who is looking to connect with the words of Jesus quoted in the Bible, these films are very effective. Children who are familiar with the story should be okay with the crucifixion scenes which are not too graphic, but kids have to be prepared.
As children watch a film about Jesus, it is very intense. Jesus is a lovable and sympathetic character whether He is considered in a religious sense or not. Kids really have to be prepared for the story to transpire. I was invited by a friend to a theatre full of viewers from her Baptist church to see "The Passion of the Christ." All adults, all in tears (both men and women) by the end. It is just a really tough and sad story for both believer and non-believer.
|"Jesus of Nazareth" miniseries 1977|
My preferred film about Jesus to view with children is the television miniseries, "Jesus of Nazareth." (1977). It is frequently on television at the Christmas and Easter seasons. Visually, there are lots of references to famous works of art, and the music is sort of mysterioso in a supernatural sense that a good something, maybe a miracle, is going to happen; that something supernatural isn't always sinister. Jesus is compassionate, powerful and somehow one-of-the-guys while being divine. Peter is great with his bumbling, yet strong and sincere personality. Mary was a little young being portrayed by Olivia Hussey. Judas was indecisive until he was creepy and betrayed his best friend. I personally don't think Judas was sorry after he did that. Laurence Olivier portrayed Nicodemus.
|Nicodemus quoting Isaiah 53 as Jesus is on the cross.|
|Jesus hangin' with His homies, for which He was criticized severely.|
Here is the Prodigal Son, put up on youtube.
The person who put up this video also included a little music, not from the film.
I would like to share a song that I still find marvelous. This was written during the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s and presents the case for Christianity at its most basic and radical. Which pretty much describes the Jesus Movement, and how Jesus happened in my life then, too. Enjoy.
|Good ole fashioned Jesus music from good ole fashioned Jesus People @1972|
The Way http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Way_%28band%29