Proverbs 2-6-23

Jesus is the subject of more books than anyone else, 109,000,000 worldwide. Next is George Washington with 58,400,000.

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25

Today, we look at literature and how Jesus impacted our world through it. From, “Person of Interest,” page 112,

The literary fallout Jesus created resulted in the formation of an entire industry. The Bible was the first book ever printed on a printing press, establishing Johannes Gutenberg (the inventor of the movable-type press) as the world’s first printed book publisher. Today, books about Jesus are published by nearly two hundred publishing houses, a large industry designed to meet the intense interest in Jesus. Compare the number of Christian publishers, for example, with publishing houses representing two religious systems that preceded Christianity by centuries: Hinduism and Buddhism. To these, let’s add major religions that followed Christianity: Islam and Baha’i. These four religious worldviews combined cannot boast the number of publishers that have emerged under the Christian banner.
Jesus matters to authors and publishers. He still dominates the publishing industry like no other person of interest. He’s inspired more writers–and been the topic of more literature–than any other person in history.

But wait; there’s more!

Jesus dramatically affected another literary genre in the Common Era fallout. As visual technology progressed, a new category of literature emerged: the screenplay. From the very invention of the “moving picture,” Jesus became the focus of writers who were inspired by his impact on culture.
Some of the earliest attempts to create motion pictures featured the life and activity of Jesus. In 1897 Albert Kirchner filmed La Passion du Christ, while Mark Klaw and Abraham Erlanger created The Horitz Passion Play. These primitive films started an explosion of cinematic activity depicting the life of Jesus. Page 114

The latest and ongoing cinematic feature of Jesus Christ is, The Chosen. While some artistic license is taken, the overall storyline comes straight from the Gospels. The stories of the disciples are fiction, but the writers maintain strict diligence concerning the character of Jesus. One of my favorite clips is from the very first episode portraying Jesus healing Mary Magdalene. It’s a little dark, so turn the lights down to watch it. It’s sequel is when Nicodemus, who tried unsuccessfully to cast the demons out of Mary earlier in the first episode, questions her about her healing. Each clip is about 4 minutes long, so it won’t take up much of your time. They are definitely worth watching!

One of these movies, The Jesus Film (created in 1979), depicts Jesus’s life based primarily on the gospel of Luke. It was filmed on location in Israel and adheres closely to the biblical text. Since its creation, this film has been translated into over 1,800 languages and has been viewed by over 8.1 billion people, making it the most-watched and most-translated motion picture of all time. page 116
So, without a single New Testament document or ancient text describing Jesus, you could still reconstruct every detail of Jesus’s life, ministry, death, resurrection–and his impact on the lives of believers–from the hundreds of screenplays that have been written and movies that have been made in just the past one hundred years. That’s the kind of impact Jesus had on our collective literary imagination.
page 117

“Jesus had more literary impact than any other person in all of history.” page 120

The next time you pick up your Bible, think about this statement and give thanks to our heavenly Father.

Abba, You fill our minds with thoughts of You even as You fill our souls with Your presence. You capture our imaginations and we look for creative ways to share Your story. Inspire us, Lord. Amen.

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