Why This 60-Year-Old Movie Is Still Relevant Today
By Jessie McGriff, Contributing Writer
Since I was 3 years-old, BEN HUR has been a favorite movie of mine. My family and I used to gather around the computer screen on Saturday nights and watch it again and again. We were very much drawn to this beautiful story of redemption and the depiction of Christ.
BEN HUR is a classic 1959 movie about how Judah Ben Hur, who is betrayed by his childhood best friend, Messala. I see so many biblical elements in the movie, from depicting Christ himself to a reflection of His messages of kindness, forgiveness, and redemption.
In one particularly powerful scene, Ben Hur is on his way to the galleys. Messala accused Ben Hur of something atrocious, and Ben Hur must pay the price. Ben Hur is denied water, but suddenly Jesus gives him a cup of water, even though the soldiers forbade it.
Jesus tenderly brushes Ben Hur’s hair with his hand. This is how I imagine Jesus; He is gentle, he is kind, and he helps us when we need Him.
When one of the soldiers rebukes Jesus for interfering with the order, Jesus stands up and the soldier backs away. Although, we never see the face of Christ, it is clear there is something compelling in His eyes, and the soldier is very fearful to approach Him.
This reminds me of Matthew 18:6, when the soldiers are about to arrest Jesus, and so He steps forward and says, “I am He,” they fall on their faces.
Both in Ben Hur and Scripture, we see how powerful the presence of Jesus is.
In addition to Christ Himself, we also see powerful elements of forgiveness as another biblical element.
Ben Hur is understandably furious with Messala. After returning from four years as a slave, Ben Hur is in search for his family, only to find out they are dead. Revenge plagues Ben Hur until he witnesses the most powerful moment in human history: Christ dying on the cross. This action enables Ben Hur to forgive himself and his enemies.
BEN HUR is a timeless story that touches people, as many of us often wrestle with extending grace and forgiveness. Also, the movie reminds us that the love and mercy of Christ supersede all else, and we can share that love with others.