Lent begins early next month, and with it comes a season to reflect on the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
But have you ever wondered what the empty tomb looked like from the point of view of the occupying Romans?
That’s the concept behind the upcoming film Risen. I had a chance to see an early preview of the film and really enjoyed the perspective it gave on both the life of Jesus and the witnesses to his resurrection who became the leaders of the early church.
The reason I got that sneak-peek look at the movie is because Bethany House is publishing the novelization, written by Angela Hunt!
The novel follows the story of Roman Tribune Clavius who is assigned by Pilate to keep followers of Yeshua from starting a revolution by claiming their lord has risen from the dead. It also includes the point of view of Rachel, a Jewish woman, who had to be cut from the film due to length, but whose story, I think, adds depth to Clavius’ search for truth.
Although the book is fiction, Angela put in hours of careful research, which she explains in the author’s note, to make sure that her story is an accurate portrayal of what might have gone on in the investigation of Jesus’ death…and his disappearance from the tomb three days later. The entire plot is an intriguing what-if: What if the original witnesses of the resurrection had some of the same questions and doubts people have today?
As Clavius searches for the truth, he wrestles with the following objections:
- The disciples stole Jesus’ body and lied about it.
- Jesus wasn’t really dead when they took him down from the cross, but actually revived later on.
- The guards were hallucinating or lying in their second report about angels.
- Jesus’ followers imagined Jesus was alive because they so badly wanted him to be.
And a number of others as well. If you or someone you know wants to think critically about the resurrection and get a more complete view of the life and times of Jesus that we kind of skim over sometimes when reading the Bible, Risen is a great choice. You can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover of the book above.
Be sure to check out the movie’s website to watch the trailer and get tickets!
Question for you, readers: what is your favorite tradition around Good Friday or Easter to remember the crucifixion and resurrection?