And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke11:09 - 10)
Reviewed by Gregory and Maria Pearse on March 14, 2004.
  directed by Franco Zeffirelli

This made-for-TV epic is a fairly average adaptation for a fairly average viewer - with undeniable artistic touches, however. Zeffirelli is an exceptionally gifted director, who works well with actors (his best film by far is "Romeo and Juliet"). A particular stand-out in this production is Olivia Hussey, who plays Mary of Nazareth with touching delicacy and evident spirituality, displaying her own extraordinary natural beauty without self-consciousness. Robert Powell (Jesus) also makes it possible on more than a few occasions to perceive him as Christ (for the first time, the Lord's Prayer isn't rattled off). A child, portraying young Jesus, leaves a definite impression as well. Another effective portrayal is of King Herod by Christopher Plummer. Among the definite "misses" of characters is, surprisingly, Michael York as John the Baptist. He works himself up into a state of hysteria for the entire duration of his appearance, without the slightest shading to his character.
The film is lacking in forward momentum and urgency, as one might expect from such a sprawling adaptation. What one doesn't necessarily expect is the banal music that accompanies the film. This is doubly surprising as Zeffirelli is usually a very musical director.
No attempt is made to rethink the story of Christ in any way, and so all of the usual distortions regarding Christ's Mission abound here. Without the slightest hesitation or intuition of doing anything wrong, the made-up statements conforming to the accepted dogma are put right into the mouth of Christ. For instance, we hear Him stating point- blank that He has come to take all the sins of the world upon His shoulders and that anyone wishing to follow Him must do the same (a statement, which is to be found nowhere in the Gospels, but which is by now universally accepted without any thought). For an illuminating view on the "burden" of the cross, read "The Cross of Truth" by Herbert Vollmann.
A particular emphasis in this adaptation is laid on the miracles. These miracles have always been regarded as events, which took place outside the Laws of Nature. This simply shows us that we as yet do not understand the Laws of Nature, Which are nothing but material manifestations of the Spiritual Laws of Creation.
      "The miracles of Jesus came about neither through interventions in the order of Nature nor through annulment of the Laws of Nature!"
       "If today it were possible for us to look at a miracle through a slow-motion camera, we should find that the running off of the individual successive processes corresponds without a gap to the working of the Laws of Nature. But it takes place with extraordinary speed and concentrated power, which in the case of the miracles of Jesus far surpassed human ability! As we are unable to survey these processes we describe them as miraculous, as miracles."
       "In reality the whole of Creation is one single tremendous miracle which we are allowed to experience with open heart every day!"
        (Herbert Vollmann "Divine Miracles and Human Miracles", for the entire chapter click here.)
The greatest miracle for us is contained in the Word Jesus brought, for It teaches us how to live so as to become capable of obtaining forgiveness through the adjustment to the incorruptible Laws of Creation.