Movie of the Week: The King of Kings by Cecil B. DeMille 1927
Clip: 15:00 – 19:30
Old Testament: 2 Kings 6:15-17
New Testament: Matthew 5:13-16
The first time Jesus is shown to the audience in DeMille’s movie is when his face gradually appears through the fading blindness of a girl Jesus heals. Juxtaposed on the screen with the words of John 8:12 – “I am the light of the world,” this short scene provides a powerful image worthy of our reflection. Our prayer throughout Lent is that we would come to know Jesus, to see him emerge from the darkness of our own spiritual blindness.
These words theologian Stanley Hauerwas writes reflecting on another of Jesus’ healings provide a powerful message.
“Learning to see Jesus entails a training that challenges our presumption that we are already in the light. The man born blind is able to see Jesus because he had the advantage of being born blind. We fail to see Jesus because we have the disadvantage of being enlightened. It turns out, moreover, that we cannot will our way out of our enlightened darkness. Rather we must be confronted by a light so brilliant that we are able to see the darkness our pride mistakes as light. An extraordinary claim, but what do you expect? We are Christians after all. We worship a crucified God – that takes some getting used to.”
At the heart of our struggle is having to overcome the fact that we think we already know Jesus. He no longer shocks us, he doesn’t surprise us, and he doesn’t challenge us. We are comfortable with his teachings, we’ve heard all his parables before, and we know that in the end he dies on the cross. Tell us something that we don’t already know. We have domesticated him in our own image, and we are comfortable with that. The challenge before us this Lent is to open our eyes anew and try to see who Jesus really is through fresh eyes. Let him shock us and surprise us again. Remind us of his audacity and the claims that he made. Spend some time in prayer today asking Jesus to reveal himself to you that he might help us to see him every moment of today. But consider yourself warned, if we open our eyes to him anew, there’s a good chance he’ll make us uncomfortable.
 Stanley Hauerwas, A Cross-Shattered Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2009), 35.