How the Media Portrays Jesus, Part I: Introduction

I was on Steam the other day buying Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. For frame of reference, this is the game that got me started on gaming. I remember trying to get gold medals on every level. I still feel the irritation of protecting three AT-PT’s from a legion of tanks, walkers, and bombers over the frozen tundra of Fest. I remember the joy of razing the Imperial garrisons of Kyle II from the cockpit of my Y-Wing. The sense of failure still courses through my fingers when I accidentally destroy a blue Tabana gas tank on Taloraan. I got high on destroying an entire squadron of TIE Fighters with a single rocket from my V-Wing. And for the last three days, I have been reliving the glory of crushing the Empire in airborne warfare. This is the pinnacle of video gaming, ladies and gentlemen. All other flight simulators—nay, all other video games pale in comparison to Rogue Squadron.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Steam.

I was poking around the games they had to offer in the “Free to Play” section. I came across a little game called Jesus Christ RPG Trilogy. From what I saw, it lets you play through the Gospel as Jesus, one or two of his apostles, and Mary Magdalene in a turn-based RPG in the style of Final Fantasy.

Of course, I brushed it off. I don’t need a possibly heretical turn-based game when I just bought Rogue Squadron. Besides, if I want an RPG, I can go back and finish Earthbound.

But the idea of this game stuck with me last weekend, and it made me think about how the media chooses to portray the Son of God. After spending a few days ruminating on the subject, this is what I came up with.

In this four-part post, I will be unpacking three iterations and adaptations of Jesus in film and TV. And, for the sake of argument, I’ll ignore the ones I haven’t seen/played—like Passion of the Christ and Jesus Christ RPG—and the ones where Jesus is an invisible-yet-omnipotent deity—like any movie where a character prays to Jesus and gets an answer.

To reiterate, this will be four parts. I have a lot to say on this subject. I have already posted Part II. Part III will go up on the 11th, and Part IV will go up on the 13th. This to say: I’m breaking from my normal schedule.


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