“Who is this man?” viewers might think, as they watch someone looking out a barred prison window. Viewers become aware of the horrible sound of one being beaten in the background. Who was suffering this fate? The image slowly pans out to reveal who is actually getting whipped.
While this short film is produced in animé-style by Jesus Film Project®, “My Last Day” is a realistic and poignant look into the innocent life of Jesus during His final hours, through the eyes of a convicted criminal awaiting death. You see the intersecting paths of Jesus, this criminal and another as they carry their crosses up to Golgotha (Golgotha means “place of skulls” in Latin and Greek) and suffer the nails being hammered into their hands and feet. Even in animé the film is graphic, violent, yet very well done. That’s no surprise since it is directed by Barry Cook, director of Disney’s “Mulan,” and collaborator on many other Disney films.
According to Jesus Film Project analytics, “My Last Day” is one of the most-watched short films in its library of products. While many of the other short films are designed to connect the viewer with a metaphor or lesson from the Bible, this film is a direct depiction of Jesus and the harsh reality of His death. There is no ambiguity or need to translate what the film is trying to say about the gospel, when sharing it with others. We can clearly see how the film relates to our lives, unlike having to interpret other more subtle short films. We clearly perceive the guilt of the criminal as he looks at Jesus being lashed for crimes He never committed.
Despite the film being in animé-sort of a cartoon style-it is overtly graphic with extensive scenes of blood splattering from the lashing Jesus endures on His back, to the bloody stabbing of a merchant in an alley, to a closeup of the suffering caused by the nails being hammered into the hands of feet of Jesus and the two criminals. It may be too graphic for young eyes to see and understand.
The pain and suffering Christ experienced is sorrowful yet humbling, because He chose to endure the pain so we can receive salvation. I know the thief on the cross realizes this too, by his dialogue with Jesus that he has towards the end of the film. This is one of my favorite scenes when the thief witnesses Jesus speaking with the Father under His breath. This is the last opportunity for the thief to decide if he is going to believe that Jesus is the true Son of God.
The dialogue in “My Last Day“is directly dubbed from the original “JESUS” film. This makes the film easy to translate into other languages Currently, there are 224 language versions of this nine-minute film, more than any other short film in the Jesus Film Project library.
Like the other films in the library, it is offered as a tool for evangelism and provides follow-up questions for engaging the viewer in further discussion.
To begin a spiritual conversation with someone, you can ask a question about the film as a whole, such as, “What did you think of this film?” Or, “What did you take away after watching this film?” These introductory questions can lead to sharing the significance of what Jesus has done for them.
This discussion may then transition into a gospel conversation with questions like:
- Have you experienced guilt over something you have done? What did you do to alleviate the guilt or do you still struggle with it?
- Have you or someone you know taken the blame for someone else’s wrongdoing? How did that make you or them feel?
- As we saw in the film, Jesus took all of the responsibility and consequences for our sinful actions, words and thoughts. How does this make you feel?
- Would you be interested in learning how to have a personal relationship with Jesus and receive the assurance of knowing that your sins are forgiven and you will live in eternal paradise with Him?
You could then lead the viewer through Cru’s® Knowing God Personally or the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, if you’d like guidance in walking through the process of repenting and asking for salvation. Both tools end with an example of the salvation prayer you can pray along with them. You can find these resources on Cru’s God Tools app.
We hope that the films offered by Jesus Film Project provide valuable opportunities for sharing the gospel with others. We would love to hear how your conversations go! Please share in the comments below.