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The Last Temptation of Christ

Jesus was never confused about his dual humanity and divinity.

Text: Luke 4:1–14
Topic: Why the novel and film The Last Temptation of Christ are controversial

Introduction

I think we all know who the candidates for vice-president are. But if we were to go back 12 years, we might have difficulty remembering. That is an American problem, but being British I also have to admit that, while I know Queen Victoria died around about the turn of the century, I would have to concentrate to figure out which kings and queens followed her, and in what order. It's amazing how quickly people in the public eye disappear from the public consciousness.

I was thinking about this the other day when I got my copy of Time magazine. On the front I discovered Jesus of Nazareth. Inside, I discovered he was on the cover of Time magazine for the 16th time—surely a record for somebody who was around 1,900 years ago!

Isn't it amazing the sheer fascination that Jesus Christ has for people today? Why does he have this fascination for millions? And why is it that 1,900 years after he moved on this earth in a very obscure region, traveled very little, wrote no books, he still makes an impact on human society like no other person?

Of course we all know he made the cover of Time this particular instance because a movie has come out recently, entitled The Last Temptation of Christ. This movie is highly controversial. I think it would be true to say that any movie based on the life of Jesus Christ is bound to be controversial, for the simple reason that he himself is at the very center of controversy in human thinking.

I'm well aware of the fact that, as Ezekiel the prophet trod among thorns and scorpions, I may be doing a similar thing this morning. And I have made inquiries as to other job possibilities as of ...

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Stuart Briscoe is minister-at-large of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and author of several books, including What Works When Life Doesn't (Howard Books).

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

The controversy over the film shows that feelings still run deep about Jesus 1,900 years after he lived on earth.

I. Novelist and director motivated by desire to understand Jesus.

II. Protesters are offended by film?s theological errors and assumptions.

III. As historical fiction, Last Temptation falls short in its portrayal of Jesus.

Conclusion

Focus can emerge from the film?s confused portrayal of Jesus.