Imagine if you would, existing in a poorly lit, drafty sewer where rats and other vermin scurry about constantly. A place that gets pitch black and just cold enough at night that you wouldn’t be able to sleep even there weren’t a million thoughts constantly keeping you awake, and clammy and stale during the day with air so rank you could probably chew it. Then imagine that you can’t just run to the other end of that “sewer” to exit because you’re in the Mamertine Prison, a Subterranean Roman Dungeon said to be the place where Paul spent his last days in a solitary cell probably not much bigger than a toilet, and probably smelling just as badly. To make it worse, you are considered public enemy number one by the government and are subsisting on a few morsels of food and sips of water that a few compassionate guards risk their lives to sneak to you until your sentence of execution is carried out.
Now try to imagine that it not only doesn’t bother you, you are filled with gratitude and joy to be serving your Lord and Savior in any capacity; because while you do your best to remain the epitome of humility, you are in fact the Apostle Paul, and countless members of “The Way,” (followers of Christ) hang on every word you utter and thing you do.
On Thursday evening, February 8, 2018, I joined a gathering of around 150 individuals which included pastors, Bible students, housewives, members of the media, and lots more for a preview of Affirm Film’s movie “Paul, Apostle of Christ.”
I had thought that it would be a movie rendition of his life starting from when he was known with dreaded fear as Saul of Tarsus, when he went on a one man crusade to round up and heartlessly torture and kill as many members of “The Way,” as he could before Jesus revealed Himself resulting in “Saul’s” instant conversion on the Road to Damascus. He was henceforth known as Paul and spent the rest of his life sharing the message of Christ with all who would listen; be they average men and women in the street, Roman Prefects or Centurions preparing to cut him down. I also thought there might have been scenes depicting his extensive travels, shipwreck, the many beatings he endured, and a discussion of all of his letters to the churches which became most of the New Testament.
Instead, except for depicting some underlying scenarios which could have played out among the members of the church in hiding within the city, the storyline focused on his last handful of days of this earthbound life, his time dictating a final letter to his close friend and confidante Luke for distribution to the churches, and his execution by beheading.
Every viewer will pick up on something different when seeing this movie; what struck me most was Paul’s complete focus on his never ending message to everyone he came into contact with about the Love and Grace of Jesus, his understanding of just how temporary this earthly life is for any of us, and that we all have a choice to make in this life concerning what our eternity will look like the moment we breathe our last.
If a better movie about the life and story of Paul the Apostle has ever been made, I’m not aware of it and I recommend that all believers and non-believers alike see this movie and hear the message that Paul still speaks today from his letters to the original churches.
The Patriots Press gives “Paul, Apostle of Christ” five thumbs up for Scriptural accuracy, and as a learning opportunity.
Opening nationwide at select theaters on March 28, 2018. To learn how to buy out a movie showtime, bring the movie to your city, bring a group of 25 or more, or simply more information, please visit www.PaulMovie.com/Groups