the new movie Jesus Revolution last night, starring Kelsey Grammer, and
to begin with I want to harken back to something I preached on in my sermon on
Sunday. In the book of Revelation Jesus rebukes the faithful and strong
Ephesian Church, who had defended their doctrine, with this incredible
statement, “4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you
had at first” (Rev. 2:4). Other translations say, “you have abandoned your
What is this
first love that they have abandoned? That initial love and exuberance for
Christ that flows out of a believer and infects others around them. That love
for knowing Jesus, sharing Jesus, learning about Jesus, studying his word and
letting this overflow into every aspect of your life. The excitement about
worship, the joy at seeing others getting to know Christ. That first love is a
powerful time in the life of every believer, and it is sad when people let it
die down and especially if they let this go too long.
If you are
in this bracket, if the joy of your salvation is not what you remember it
being, then go see Jesus Revolution. This movie is tailor made to reignite that
passion in your heart for who Jesus is, what Jesus can do, and who Jesus can
save. And it does it all in a way that can be summed up as beautiful.
going into too much of the plot or story, the movie tells the true story of how
revival came to small church in California that was dying. The movie follows the
intersecting stories of the Christian hippie Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie,
from Chosen), pastor Church Smith (Kelsey Grammer), and youth pastor Chuck Laurie
As a pastor
here are the things in this movie that really struck me.
pastor is reminded of his need to be a light to the world, not just a manager
of people, this really resonated with me. It is easy in ministry to forget what
everything is about, and the movie conveys this very well from the perspective
of the pastor. You never want to forget this first love, and seeing it rekindled
in a man fans the flame of passion in your own heart.
of drugs, both the highs and lows, is presented very accurately. Drugs have an
allure for a reason, as one person I know puts it, sin is tempting, because sin
is often fun, or at least feels good…for a time. It then turns towards serious
destruction and the movie conveys this in a way that is realistic and not corny
at all. Though this does mean that you might not want to take children who are
presentation of the characters is realistic, inspirational, challenging, and
most importantly, interesting. It helps a lot that the acting from everyone in
the movie was top shelf. Especially Kelsey Grammer, who is a veteran in the
craft. But each character arc is authentic, realistic and engaging. You wanted
to see them succeed, you feel for them when they fail, you resonate with them
when you see the struggles of their lives, and you laugh when they do something
to make you laugh. The movie really does make good use of natural humour.
The story was
also very well told. The movie is based on a book by the same name, I have not
read the book, so I can’t speak to it. But the movie focuses on story not
agenda. Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt the movie makers want you to know
about Jesus, to be inspired by Jesus, to want to seek to know Jesus more. But
the movie focuses on its characters and allows their stories being told in an
authentic and genuine way to do all the heavy lifting for inspiring you to look
for Jesus. It uses the subtle art of story-telling to achieve this rather than
the blunt tool of preaching. If you are a pastor you want to be revitalized
like Chuck Smith. If you are a believer, you want to be able to engage with the
broken like Lonnie Frisbee. You want to see Greg Laurie’s character overcome
his challenges. A good way to describe this movie is refreshing. It is powerful,
entertaining, interesting, and humourous all at the same time, in the way that
so many movies at the theatres are not any more. It is also unique because it
tells the story of unique characters.
just one of the best Christian movies I have seen in a while, it is one of the
best movies I have seen in a while. I reminds me of the inspiring tale in Amazing
Grace about William Wilberforce, and of the highs and lows of many
redemption stories I have seen over the years of various kinds.
might quibble with the doctrine of some of the main characters, or with how the
gospel is presented more subtly rather than in a straight up sermon style. But
this movie is not a sermon, it is a story, a well told story, and I would like
to see more movies like this. I encourage you to go and see it, you will be
inspired and encouraged, because you will be reminded about how God saves
flawed people through flawed people. One of the best lines in the movie that
really stuck with me, which I will paraphrase is this: “Don’t be so arrogant as
to think your mistakes can get in the way of God working.” Such is the grace of
our God, is it not?
Revolution is a
reminder of what the cinemas can be at their best. Not just Christian movies,
but movies in general. They can be heart-warming and inspiring tales of our
fellow human beings, flaws and all, overcoming their circumstances. And for Christians
this movie especially reminds us of the transcendent cause we are called to:
the witness of Jesus Christ, our first love. Don’t you want this first love to
be kindled and inspired again?
The movie is
out in cinemas on April 20th 2023.