They Came and Saw, and So Can We…

I have long been concerned regarding the manner in which prophets, apostles, and other significant followers of God and Jesus from the Bible are depicted in popular and secular media. I enjoy as much as anyone else epic Biblical films and serialized television and cartoons that tell Bible stories, recognizing that a great deal of creative license is taken to build fictional, or fictionalized, characters whose lives touch the lives of real Old and New Testaments heroes. I think my favorite film ever made is “Ben-Hur.” Charlton Heston plays the fictional character Judah Ben-Hur, and how his tragic life was touched by the events surrounding the coming of the Savior. That kind of storytelling does not trouble me, because the creative license that is taken is not taken in the Savior’s life, nor the lives of those followers we know so well from the scriptures. While movies and cartoons can be very enjoyable and uplifting, helping our hearts to draw nearer to things of righteousness, it is important that we know the Lord, His followers, and the true events surrounding their lives. Nothing can replace the holy scriptures, the words of prophets, and the still small voice of the Holy Ghost in our quest to truly “come and see” Christ.

Charlton Heston portrays Judah Ben-Hur and Claude Heater plays Jesus Christ in the 1959 MGM film.

In the first chapter of The Gospel According to Saint John, the Savior offers a simple invitation which we are all invited to follow. John the Baptist had been about preaching the coming of the Lord, and baptizing by authority from God. After baptizing Jesus, John declared to his followers, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36). One who had been a disciple of John, Andrew, the brother of Peter, immediately followed the Lord. When inquiring after Him, the Lord simply replied “Come and see” (John 1:39), and he did.

After spending a short time with the Savior, the first thing Andrew did was seek out his brother Simon, and say, “We have found the Messias” (John 1:41). And Andrew brought Peter, who had studied and also been seeking the Lord, to come and see Jesus. Together they followed Him.

A couple of years ago I saw a depiction in film of Peter in which the producer took a lot of creative license. Truth be told I have really enjoyed this ongoing series on the life of the Savior and His followers, but to depict Peter as some kind of criminal, and other key followers of the Lord as committing grievous sin, without any record to back the claim, is creative license best not taken. I do not question the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ to swallow up all sin, and make the most grievous repentant sinners saints, however, it is not ours for dramatic or any other affect to superimpose such upon those who have given us no cause.

Many in Christianity have the mistaken idea that Andrew, Peter, James, John and the others were just simple fishermen and tradesmen who were called out of obscurity to be apostles. That is not so. They were thoughtful and spiritual men looking for the Messiah. The reason they followed Him was because they were looking for Him and their studied minds and sensitive hearts recognized Him, for they were already His. When He invited them, “Come and see,” they came and saw.

Much is the same today. Those who follow the Savior study His word and seek Him. We have attuned our minds and opened our sensitive hearts to recognize Him. The Good Shepherd recognizes His sheep and His sheep know Him. May we all be true followers of Jesus Christ and do what is necessary, study His word and keep His commandments, that we might know Him always, and be where He is. They came and saw, and so can we. “Come and see,” and then invite others to do the same. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.