Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ"...A Book Review


There's a scene in the 1959 movie Ben-Hur that I think I'll never forget. In the movie Judah Ben-Hur is at the Sermon on the Mount while people are gathering to hear from Jesus. Ben-Hur had met Christ before as a slave being led to Rome, but a lot had changed from that time to when the two men were together again. The scene is filmed so we see the back of Christ's head (if I remember, we never actually see Jesus's face in the film...) and as Ben-Hur walks around the outer edge of the gathering crowd, Christ turns, as if he's following Judah as he's leaving.

There's many people on the hill, but Christ focuses on the one man who's leaving. For some reason, the scene was powerful to me. To me, it showed that Christ knows all of us, even when we're walking away from him.

This week I finished the very long audiobook of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. A couple of weeks ago I finished The Robe. I guess I'm prepping for Easter. These are two books I probably should have read years ago. "Better late than ever," as some say. Even though both books center on Christ and his mission, the one begins with Christ's death, the other ends with it.

The book had a few things different from the film. In the book Judah is a teenager when he's accused of trying to kill the Roman representative and he meets Christ on the trail as a young man. Also the Three Wise Men actually arrive when the Baby Jesus is born--on the 25th of December. I'm not a bible scholar by any stretch, but I believe that Christ was born in the spring and I heard that it took years for the Wise Men to find Christ. 

The book expounded on much of why I loved the story. A poor boy is wrongly accused, saves the life of a Roman who adopts him as his own. He enacts revenge against his boyhood friend in the famous chariot race, returns to his home and finds his mother and sister who are lepers. Then, since this is a book about Jesus Christ, Judah witnesses Christ's crucifixion. Judah is us, we see it all through his eyes.

I'm glad I finally read the book. It is a classic. We know the story and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ allows us to live it with him.

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