By Carolyn Gard
And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples. and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Simon, who came to hear him… Luke 6:17
I like to watch certain movies at certain times. ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ at Thanksgiving, ‘Elf’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Christmas, ‘Trading Places’ and ‘The Apartment’ at New Year’s, ‘Groundhog Day’ on Groundhog Day, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ on Valentine’s Day, ‘Black Orpheus’ at Carnaval, and ‘Ben-Hur’ at Easter. (I can justify that one, because Charlton Heston made it before he decided he was anointed by God and became head of the NRA.)
One year I told my teenage grandsons, who had been brought up in Sunday School and Youth Group at FCC, that it was almost Easter, and I got to watch Ben-Hur. They looked at me and, very seriously said, “What does Ben-Hur have to do with Easter?”
Okay, I like the chariot race as much as any teenage boy–who knew there were so many horses out there that were trained to pull chariots! And the leprosy curing scene is pretty corny–anyone who has hiked in Colorado knows that you don’t go into a cave in a thunderstorm.
But there’s one part of Ben-Hur that always leaves me wondering. A crowd is going to hear Jesus, and Ben-Hur turns back. I wonder how I would have reacted, had I lived then. Would I have believed that Jesus was the son of God, or would I have turned away? I don’t buy into the evangelical preachers today who claim to know all the answers. Maybe there was something about Jesus that responded to the people’s needs.
Today, thanks to someone in my distant past who actually heard Jesus, I don’t have to wonder whether or not Jesus is the son of God. I just have to wonder about who trained all those horses!
Lord, let us know that we can still listen to the words of Jesus as those crowds did so many years ago.