Have you seen Jesus? (Note: this is not an April Fools ruse…).
That’s not a rhetorical question: in a real sense, he’s missing… and it seems that the trail has gone cold.
It’s not Jesus the person; it’s Jesus the painting. Called Salvator Mundi (the Savior of the World), it is believed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci. It dates to c.1500, and it was one of fewer than 20 surviving paintings by da Vinci. It last sold at auction in November of 2017 for $450 million: the highest price ever paid for a painting. The buyer – a Saudi prince with a six-word name – was presumed to be acting on behalf of Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (whose street cred has plummeted after the death of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey).
In Abu Dhabi, there is a museum that is a licensed partner of the Louvre in Paris. With flourish, it had been announced that Salvator Mundi would be placed on display last September. That exhibit was cancelled without explanation, and inquiries about the painting have been refused by the United Arab Emirates culture department. No one knows where Jesus is…
Let’s be clear: there’s Jesus the painting (missing), Jesus the person (back on his throne in Heaven, but returning one day), and Jesus the movie. All three are amazing; Magi with privilege and resources committed themselves to travel internationally to see him in person – when he was very young – and returned home celebrating their good fortune. Jesus the movie?
In 1979, Warner Brothers produced Jesus for general release. As a commercial project, it suffered a loss, but the production – using the Gospel of Luke as its basic screenplay – was intended (by God) for greater purposes.
Bill Bright – founder of Campus Crusade for Christ – used funding provided by Gospel Patrons Bunker and Caroline Hunt to secure the rights to the film for distribution in other languages.
Now, forty years later, the Jesus Film is a phenomenon without equal. It has been translated into over 1,750 languages, viewed by audiences of over 8.1 billion, and more than 572 million decisions to accept Jesus as Savior (which is presented in the additional footage, at the end of the Story). These are recorded decisions, not hopeful approximations. It has been called, by prominent Christian leaders, “the most powerful evangelistic tool in the history of the Christian faith.”
A Saudi prince paid $450 million for a painting of Jesus, and that art is being hidden from the world. Over the last 40 years, Kingdom stewards have invested $450 million in the Jesus Film, and have been partners in what has been recognized as “the most viewed movie in history” (undisputed). Run the numbers: the cost-per-conversion has been confirmed (by independent audit) to be 85¢.
Here’s the incredible fact: Americans watch movies constantly… but most (even Christians!) have never seen Jesus!
A huge initiative launched yesterday: it’s called Show Jesus https://www.showjesus.com). Easter is just around the corner: the entertainment industry sees dollars, and “new versions” of Jesus life will be available on various online and cable services. Most are made by people who deny the Bible accounts and/or the deity of Jesus. Counterfeits are in wide circulation… but the real deal is still the real deal.
Go to the website. Spend a few minutes to get educated about this incredible movement, from my young friend Levi Lusko (a high-impact pastor from Kalispell, Montana). Follow the prompts to expose the people in your social networks to Jesus. Nearly 600 million people have experienced the story of Jesus… and will now spend Eternity with him, because of the decision his story prompted.
Have you seen Jesus?