"Adding Slightly to the Gospel"
What You Need To Know:
MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution for younger children in viewing COLOR OF THE CROSS, not because Jesus is black, but because the movie adds the issue of racial discrimination to the Gospel. This will confuse those who are not familiar with what the Bible says about Jesus. Thus, it subtracts from the impact of the Good News. The Gospel is good news for people of every color because Jesus paid the price for the sins of all mankind. To God, skin color is not an issue.
(CC, BB, RHRH, PCPC, FRFR, VV, S, MMM) Strong Christian worldview with strong moral elements, spoiled by a revisionist history, politically correct element focusing on racism being a factor in the rejection of Jesus; no foul language; some brief strong violence when Peter cuts off ear of a centurion, and Jesus is shown on the cross brutally scarred; Judas tries to force himself on a woman; no nudity; and, nothing else objectionable.
COLOR OF THE CROSS opens with the first credit being blackchristianmovies.com. The movie comes across as exactly that. Being black comes before being Christian. The purpose of the movie appears to be to explore the idea that Jesus was black and so to ask whether racism was a factor in his crucifixion.
Most Jesus films focus on his teachings, his miracles and his crucifixion. Audiences come away uplifted by the teachings and moved by his sacrifice for their sins. THE PASSION OF THE CHIRST focused closely on the physical price Jesus paid for mankind. Audiences came away with a whole new respect for what He went through for them. In COLOR OF THE CROSS, few of Jesus Christ’s teachings are mentioned, His miracles are missing except for replacing the ear of the centurion, and He goes from Gethsemane straight to the cross. The movie spends the bulk of its time on the last supper and the preparation for it, with cutaways to show the Pharisees discussing racism.
At one point in the movie, one of the disciples questions Jesus (Jean Claude LaMarre), “What is it like to be different?” In all of history there is only one Messiah, Son of God, born of a virgin, healing the sick, raising the dead, savior of mankind and this movie implies that Jesus was considered “different” because of his skin color. Jesus was not a threat to the establishment because of skin color. He was a threat because His God-given authority as the Messiah frightened both the Jews and the Romans, who considered themselves to be the official rulers of Israel.
The Bible does not say what color skin Jesus had. Throughout history, icons, paintings and movies have portrayed Jesus to look something like the people creating the art. To create a movie with a black Jesus and focus on the well-known Bible story would be more constructive than trying to add elements of racial discrimination to the Gospel story. The Gospel is good news for people of every color because Jesus paid the price for the sins of all mankind. To God, skin color is not an issue.
In his most famous speech, Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of the day, “when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” As long as some of God’s children insist on adding “black” before “Christian,” they will continue to see ways they are being discriminated against. When they drop the “black” and see themselves as simply Christian, they may find the freedom they long for in their souls.
MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution in viewing COLOR OF THE CROSS, not because Jesus is black, but because the movie adds the issue of racial discrimination to the Gospel and leaves out the majority of the good news available in the Scriptures.
Even so, the movie does focus on the preparation for the Last Supper, the Last Supper itself and Jesus Christ’s Passion in the Garden of Gethsemene. It includes, therefore, the things that Jesus says about the bread and the cup, His comment about the importance of being a servant, and His admonition that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
Consequently, MOVIEGUIDE® gives the movie a caution for younger children, or a Plus One Acceptability.