If you seek truth, you will find truth. This statement echoed through my mind as I watched the film, Risen, a fictional yet historically accurate account of an unbeliever discovering the truth of Jesus.
This film follows the story of Clavius, a Roman Tribune commanded by Pontius Plate to investigate and put an end to the mysterious rumors of the Jewish messiah who is reported to be risen from the dead. Although set in his ways and loyal to his empire, the more Clavius discovers of the story, the more he believes it.
Clavius does not set out in an effort to prove the rumors false—although he does consider them falsehoods; his personal mission is to seek the truth behind them. After days of searching, Clavius comes face to face with Truth Himself, and even when frightened by the reality of this truth, he realizes there is no going back. In the presence of the resurrected Jesus, he discovers that in the light of Truth, nothing could be proven to disregard what he had found.
As a follower of Christ, I found this film to be an honest depiction of what happens in a person’s life when one experiences an encounter with Jesus. When we are face to face with the person of Jesus, it is a lost cause to hold onto our former ways, beliefs, and desires. There is simply no turning back. As a seeker of truth myself, I could relate to the sincerity of Clavius’ discovery and how it transformed his entire existence from a journey of longing into a journey of joy.
Truth is a person, and His name is Jesus. Clavius had heard about Jesus and the ideology behind Him, but it was only when he looked the person of Jesus in the eye and experienced His love that he accepted Jesus as Truth. I loved this intimate portrait of Jesus that this thought painted in my heart. Jesus is not an system of doctrine to be proved, but rather a person to be known. It is through relationship with the person of Jesus, the Jewish man and the Spirit within, that illuminates our souls with truth in a way that words, facts, and philosophies will always fail to achieve.Even when Clavius does not know everything Jesus had done for him—He had only first heard about Jesus during the crucifixion—he loves Jesus, in the most simple and innocent of ways. He is drawn to Him, just as I was drawn to Him. When we find Jesus, He draws us in, He whispers to our spirits an unknown language of love that we were created to hear. It doesn’t always make sense at first, but it is this sweet love that can only be experienced within the secret place of the heart of God that leads us to the impossible act of repentance.
It is this love that draws Clavius to follow Jesus, even after Jesus ascended into Heaven. As a hardworking man striving for position simply to earn a life of rest, Clavius had finally found in Jesus that for which he always longed: peace and “a day without death.”
Risen expresses the fulfillment and truth we find in knowing Jesus as a person—a real person—full of grace and truth. May we never forget to view Him as such. He is our God, our Maker, and our Redeemer, but He is also our Husband, our Brother, and our Friend. This film once again reminded me of the simple and heartbreakingly beautiful purpose of Christianity: God wants to be with me. And, when I ponder that truth, I find it is the Truth I seek.