The Bible is silent on most of Jesus’ childhood. Except for a brief glimpse of Him at age 12, Scripture shows Jesus as a divine baby born under supernatural circumstances … and then as a man aware of His divinity carrying out a miracle-filled ministry on Earth.
But what about those years in between?
There’s a movie that debuts this weekend that explores the period of Jesus’ life where He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
“The Young Messiah” takes place when Jesus is between the ages of 7 and 12 years old. His family is leaving Egypt to return to their home of Nazareth. About this time, Jesus starts to become aware that He is … different. He asks Mary and Joseph questions; He starts performing miracles.
Soon, word about a remarkable boy reaches Herod the Great’s son, Herod Archelaus, who realizes the Slaughter of the Innocents that took place years ago might not have killed its intended target. Herod Archelaus sends a Roman centurion, Severus, to finish the job.
Obviously, the movie itself is a work of fiction. Producers don’t claim otherwise. To enjoy this film you need to be willing to engage your imagination.
What “The Young Messiah” does is take what is known from the era – the political turmoil, the fear and brutality of life under Roman rule – and speculate how it might have played out for Jesus. And while the story of the film is imagined, it remains a respectful tale that doesn’t violate the core principles that Scripture does tell us.
For example, Jesus is portrayed as a curious boy who enjoys playing with His friends, but He never sins. He’s presented as sensitive, mature and wise. Viewers will also realize that many of the things that happen to Jesus – and the way He reacts to them – are written as a foreshadowing of real-life situations later recorded in the Gospels.
“The Young Messiah” invites viewers to ponder the humanity of Jesus. We see a boy raised by good, but imperfect, parents who struggle with the responsibility of educating the Son of God. We consider the spiritual warfare that likely was waged around aspects of Jesus’ childhood and have a window into the dirt and darkness of the era. We can better appreciate the fact that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
I advise those considering “The Young Messiah” to read the more complete review on PluggedIn, our media discernment website. The movie does feature some scenes of violence that, although not gratuitous, might be of concern for younger children.
Here’s a trailer for “The Young Messiah”:
Let me know what you think about the movie – are you planning on watching it? Why or why not?