Among the four Gospels, John stands out. The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) share many of the same stories and teachings. But many of the stories and teachings are unique to John’s Gospel. For instance, only John tells us that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, changed water into wine, or told Nicodemus about God’s love for the world (John 3:16–17).
If you’re interested in getting reacquainted with the powerful book, check out the Life of Jesus (Gospel of John). This dramatic retelling of the Book of John has a three-hour runtime and follows the words from the Good News Bible’s Gospel of John verbatim.
The cast features 75 principal actors, including narration from Christopher Plummer and Peruvian actor Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus. There is also a cast of over 2,000 extras, many of whom were selected from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theater.
Ways you can use the Life of Jesus
First and foremost, the Life of Jesus is an engaging film perfect for private viewing or with friends and family. It can be broken into half-hour segments and used to generate deep, meaningful conversations.
On the Jesus Film Project® website, you can find bite-size vignettes of stories and scenes, including:
- Cleansing the temple
- The discussion with Nicodemus
- The feeding of the 5,000
- The adulterous woman
- The crucifixion
Clips like these can be used for Sunday school classes, youth groups or home groups. Each clip includes a couple of discussion questions to help generate conversation.
You can also link to these clips from online discussions, whether on your personal blog or in dialogue on social media. When you’re talking to people who don’t have a biblical background, it can be helpful for them to see these moments dramatized. And the Life of Jesus is available in 23 languages, including:
- Latin American Spanish
- Modern Standard Arabic
- Mandarin Chinese
- Western Farsi
The multiple language options allow people to experience this story in their own heart language. This can dramatically impact someone’s first-time exposure to the gospel.
The story of Lazarus
To get a better idea of the power of this work, let’s look at the story of the raising of Lazarus. It begins with Mary and Martha sending word to Jesus about Lazarus’ sickness.
The questions that accompany this video include:
- Why is Jesus so unconcerned about the sickness of his friend?
- Why are the disciples reluctant to return to Judea? What is Thomas’ expectation?
Next, Jesus arrives while Mary and Martha are mourning their brother’s death.
In a classroom or small group discussion, the following questions are helpful:
- Everyone is weeping over the death of Lazarus. Why did Jesus weep? Didn’t He know Lazarus would rise from the dead?
- Again the crowd is divided. What two opinions did people have about Jesus?
Finally, in a stunning testimony to Jesus’ power, Lazarus is raised from the dead.
The following discussion starters accompany this scene:
- Why did Jesus pray out loud in front of the tomb?
- What was the response of the priests and Pharisees? What were they afraid of?
- Why did Mary anoint Jesus’ feet? Why did this upset Judas?
- What plans did the chief priests make? Why?
You’ll see that these film clips are designed to be more than just passively consumed. When you pair this kind of engaging visual storytelling with compelling discussion questions, it can lead to powerful conversations. We hope you’ll find it helpful!
Don’t miss this dramatic telling of John
Visit the watch page on the Jesus Film Project’s website to see the entire Life of Jesus film. Or download the Jesus Film Project app to watch it (and hundreds of full-length and short films) on your Android or Apple devices.