By Samuel Lam
In the movie “End of the Spear,” missionaries try to convert natives and tell them about Jesus. It was tough because not only was there a language and cultural barrier, but one of the main characters is the son of a missionary that was murdered by one of the natives in the tribe. Struggling to separate his vengeance and forgiveness, it ended up being a great powerful plot to a movie based on a true story.
(I am trying to paraphrase and remember this movie since I saw it when it was released almost 10 years ago.)
During the movie, the missionaries tried to explain Jesus to the tribe. The story of Jesus, however, had no meaning to these natives since they had their own beliefs. It was a tough situation because everything they did to try to explain about Jesus didn’t get through. Then, the missionaries took time to understand the natives and their traditions and learned that the tribe was at war with another group. It was a war where many people died and many were sacrificed.
The missionaries then decided to explain Jesus to them in a different way: Their God saw the war between the two tribes and did not want anymore bloodshed. Their God wanted peace. God decided to send down a child to earth, who would be the ultimate sacrifice. This child would carry all the burdens of the war. His death would bring peace between the two tribes.
That story, told with words, characters and visuals that the natives would understand, broke through and they finally got to understand who Jesus was. Of course, their interpretation of Jesus isn’t the same as what the Bible says. But for them, it was exactly what they needed and it painted Jesus exactly who He is. It was a new way to share and understand the Gospel.
What does Jesus look like? Is Jesus the exact replica as what the Bible says?
(This isn’t a post that’s objectifying Jesus. Rather this post is about giving Jesus characteristics outside of what movies or songs tell us we should know of Him. We all follow the same guy, but He’s a different guy for all us.)
What’s great about “End of the Spear” is that the movie reminded me that my view of Jesus doesn’t have to be the same as your view of Jesus. We all see and understand Jesus differently. We all met Jesus in different settings. We all follow the same Jesus, but He’s different for all of us.
So tell me about the Jesus you know.
The Jesus I know is the guy who likes to dance. He’s a party-goer. He wants to enjoy being with me and having fun.
The Jesus I know gives me a high-five when times are good and gives me a hug when times are tough. He understands my pain and comforts me when I need it the most.
The Jesus I know totally gets me. I love being free and uninhibited and Jesus encourages me to go out there and pursue the challenges in life. He is by me every step of the way.
The Jesus I know, at the end of the day, reminds me not to worry. “I got you,” He would always say to me. And He has always got me.
It may not be the exact replica of what the Bible says, but that’s who Jesus is to me and that’s what He’s done for me.
I think that it’s kind of hard to explain Jesus to people sometimes. We usually pull our own experiences and hope that the other person gets it. Sometimes they don’t.
Other times we try to tell them that the Jesus in the Bible is the only way we can understand Jesus. Even though the Bible tells us who Jesus is, our savior won’t mean anything until He is experienced.
For me, my Jesus is those experiences. He’s my party dude. He’s my high-fiver and hugger. He’s my encourager. He’s got my back. That’s how I met and got to know Jesus. He’s everything that the Bible says, but He’s a lot more on a personal level.
My experience of Jesus may be different from your experience of Jesus and that’s OK. Like the movie, we all took different paths to meet and understand Him — but we all will be with him in the end. For the natives, Jesus is a gift from God to put an end to a bitter war and bring peace.
So who is the Jesus you know? Whatever it may be, however different it is, it’s beautiful. That’s what Jesus is all about. He is for everyone no matter how different you see and know Him.
Who is Jesus and what’s He like? Tell us your story.
Samuel Lam: Samuel is a Bay Area native living in Southern California working in sports media. He blogs on many topics, including sports, music, movies, travel and especially faith. Sam also runs his own personal sports blog on his free time. Check him out at: Green Eggs and Lam & But At The End Of The Day.