Who’s Your Favorite Jesus?

April 23, 2010

Okay, I’ve got one question for you. 

I made it pretty easy, so anyone who hasn’t commented this week can do so and get qualified for the giveaway (which I’ll be announcing the winners of tomorrow.)  Or you can comment again and get another entry!

Who’s your favorite Jesus?

Like, what’s been your favorite portrayal of Jesus?  I know, most of our film portrayals of Jesus have been pretty blatantly inaccurate.  But the spirit of Jesus is probably still somewhere inside that blue-eyed actor, and it can be pretty moving.

I thought Jim Caviezel did a great job as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ.  And not just because he can wince pretty convincingly.  I thought Jesus in The Gospel of John was pretty okay, if not a little weird.  But he looked downright normal next to John the Baptist who was not only rocking the camel skin, but some pretty heavy mascara.  Maybe your favorite Jesus was a cartoon, or a live play.

As for me, I know this is several years old – old enough to start to be considered a classic.  But I think it’s still my favorite.  It’s just how I thought of Jesus for so many years!

Who’s your favorite Jesus?

29 responses to Who’s Your Favorite Jesus?

  1. My favorite Jesus was a man at our church (Ed) who took the part of Jesus in our Easter play. He grew a real beard for the part and demonstrates Christlike qualities such as gentleness, meekness, compassion, humility and love in real life. He did an excellent acting job!

  2. Virtually all of the Jesus portrayals on Christian film are eye-bleedingly bad in their acting quality, so they’ve all been kind of lumped into a single image in my mind to be honest. I can’t include Jim Caviezel in that list because I never watched The Passion of the Christ because (1) I’m a big weenie and really didn’t feel like watching Jesus get crucified and (2) I’m not a very good Christian for the exact same reason, at least that was what a deacon told me…

    So, I guess my favourite Jesus was the guy who played Jesus in our plays too… except he was a drug-fried hippie who lived out of his car with his wife. The church helped him get a regular job and a house to live in, but after his last appearance as Jesus he quit his job and left all the things in his house because they were “confining”, only to take the road and live somewhere else in his car with his wife.

    True story.

  3. I keep hoping that He looks like Charlton Heston.

    I once went to see a evangelistic drama called: Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames. I actually saw it twice over the years. The first time they had a sort of burly bearded Jewish guy (he was actually a “complete or Messianic Jew” as he told us). There was something wonderful about his demeanor that night – just full of the Holy Spirit. As he stood there on stage in a white robe with a purple sash, many of us were moved to tears.

    In the ending scene he is supposed to have a moment or two in the spotlight – but he stood for many minutes and hundreds of people ran to the altar even before the call. Those of us Christians just stood clapping. The evangelist was supposed to do an every eye closed, every head bowed altar call – but all he could say is “God is here” through is own sobs. He got down on his knees before 1,200 people and said the sinner’s prayer.

    Only 2 other times in my life have I witnessed the spirit of repentance like that. Amazing. I don’t know what Jesus looks like, but He was there that night.

  4. The only time I’ve really seen a serious portrayal of Christ was in The Passion, so I guess it has to be that one. I thought Jim Caviezel did a good job, but it isn’t something I’d want to see again.

    The Vintage 21 Church videos just make me laugh. :)

  5. @Loren… “drug-fried hippie”… LMBO! Ha ha ha ha!

  6. Gotta go with Willem DeFoe in “Last Temptation of Christ!”

  7. I love those Vintage 21 videos!! I think my favorite movie Jesus was Jeremy Sisto, in that made-for-TV “Jesus.”

  8. I forgot how much those videos made me laugh–thanks for bringing ’em back :)

    as far as which Jesus…I am not a real fan of putting a face on Jesus. It messes with me to this day the blond haired blue-eyed lie of portraits of old…

  9. My favorite Jesus was also in a church play. It was in Fayetteville, GA at Easter and the guy playing Jesus had purposely gotten a sunburn so that it would hurt when they “nailed” him to the cross. The best part was that he looked and talked like Jeff Foxworthy. I just kept thinking, “If you can turn water into wine, you MIGHT be the savior of the world.”

    Thanks for posting the video, Matt. I needed a good laugh this morning!

  10. My pastor actually ran that Jesus video in big church a few years ago. Love that Jesus.

    My favorite Jesus is actually in my head. I’ve struggled to replace that blue-eyed blond WASP image from Sunday school for decades, but when I truly try to come up with a “real” Jesus, I picture someone like Paul Reiser…yeah, from Mad About You. It may sound nutty, but it helps me imagine Him in a human form that I can relate to.

  11. Clause Heater in Ben Hur…very humble yet powerful.

    William Defoe has to go down as the whitest Jesus ever. If he was from Nazareth…must have been Nazareth, Michigan.

  12. Probably Jim Caviezel although those Vintage 21 videos crack me up

  13. Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ.

  14. I’d have to go with Jim Caviezal too- just incredible.

  15. Bruce Marchiano in the Visual Bible’s Matthew. Amazing – and his book he wrote about all the amazing things God did while they were filming it is amazing to. They took word for word the NIV translation of the book of Matthew as the script, yet managed to find ways to dramatize it that really worked amazingly well. To this day I now hear Bruce Marchiano’s voice as Jesus when I read Matthew because of this movie. They really managed to get the more subtle sides of Jesus I think, and to show him as a man of humor and joy, even while being confined to the text. For example, in Matthew 18:17 where Jesus says “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” all the disciples and Jesus kind of “jump” Matthew and razz him a bit at the mention of “tax collector” – and he does the (pretty common now, but not quite so overdone when it was filmed) illustration about the plank in your own eye (by picking up someone’s staff). I just think it got all the aspects of Jesus as right as we can get it.

    Worst portrayal of Jesus? Jesus of Nazareth where apparently they thought that if Jesus had a serious look on his face and this certain look in his eye, he’d look holy, when all it succeeds in doing is making Jesus look like he’s high.

  16. Here’s the thing about the Jesus in The Gospel of John film… it’s the same guy who plays Desmond Hume on Lost. So I would always find myself periodically transported from Jerusalem to the Island.

    And he never once threw in a “Brothah” at the end of his sentence. It was so unfulfilling! It reminded me of that Simpsons when Poochie got introduced on Itchy and Scratchy. “When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?!”

    So anyway… I can’t accept Desmond as Jesus. I’ll go with the dude from Frequency.

  17. There’s a play called “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” it has Jesus washing Judas’ feet and calling him “my heart”. Judas is in such a catatonic state of despair that he can’t feel Jesus. This is hell.

    But Jesus keeps washing his feet. That’s my favorite.

  18. Yes, Jim Caviezel/Passion of the Christ is my favorite. Best scene that makes it my fav is when he’s talking with his mom and joking around, making the table. That’s real human Jesus, the one we don’t get to read much about. I want to see the Jesus pulling pranks on Peter (because Peter was the best of the group to play tricks on), I want to see the Jesus who sang, and drank wine, and danced. I love laughing Jesus best of all.

  19. I don’t have a favorite actor who portrayed Jesus. I always felt they were a disappointment. Maybe it is because all of them destroy my own personal visualization of how He looks.

  20. I can’t believe nobody has said Ted Neeley. C’mon people the guy has been playing the role for 40 years. OK, OK, he’s not my favorite either. But mine does come from the same musical, circa 2003 or so, Sebastian Bach played Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. Now that was one Jesus that could scream some Rock n Roll screams.

  21. Still no one else jumping on the Bruce Marchiano bandwagon with me?

  22. I thought Bruce Marchiano did a wonderful portarayl as Jesus in this movie.


  23. Our church did an Easter “cantata” one year and had one of our associate pastors play Jesus. Our associate pastor from Ghana. The best part was that the two main characters were discussing having met him after his first scene and the lines were:

    Main character 1: “He’s not quite what I expected.”
    Main character 2: “He’s not quite what most people expect!”

    Absolutely unintentionally hilarious!

  24. I would say Godspell!

    the vintage 21 videos are HILARIOUS though…

  25. My favorite pretend Jesus has to either be from the Passion (so neat how they spoke the ancient Aramaic!) or from growing up in Cali. Our church, on Palm Sunday, would have a party where we’d all get palm leaves, and then someone from the congregation would dress up and actually ride a real donkey as we waved/placed palm leaves down. It’s such a great memory from when I was little!! And… afterward we would go to the lawn by the church and have Otter Pops. YEAH!

  26. Tandemingtroll April 26, 2010 at 8:58 am

    My favorite was the claymation Jesus in “The Miracle Maker.” He seemed to have the right balance of humor and seriousness. The guy who played Jesus in “The Gospel of John” was way too serious. I picture Jesus having fun with the “Who’s your daddy” arguement with the Pharisees. I was unable to sit through “The Passion of Christ” in the theatres because I kept feeling sick to my stomach and would leave to make sure I would make it to the bathroom. I never did lose my dinner, though I feel guilty because, after all, Jesus LIVED through it and I can’t even watch it on the big screen?

  27. I’ve never been able to watch The Gospel of John with a straight face. I called him “Faromir Jesus” in high school. I loved Jim Caviezel’s Jesus because he seemed like a real person. But yeah, vintage21 gets the Scandinavian Jesus look-alike award. None of them match the picture in my head though :)