Saturday, January 25, 2014

Miracle Couple Touched by the 'Son of God'   By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- On the face of it, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, should never have come together, got married, and then produce a major new movie called "Son of God," which tells the compelling life story of Jesus Christ, from his humble birth, through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection, which is due for a much-anticipated release on February 28, 2013.

During an interview with the couple at a pre-release screening of "Son of God" at the Dream Center Angelus Temple in Los Angles, Roma revealed that Bono, with his Irish band, U2, had immortalized the event with the release of "Sunday Bloody Sunday." It was the opening track from their 1983 album "War," which was mainly focusing on the "Bloody Sunday" incident in Derry. ...

So I asked Roma, how they came to produce "The Bible" miniseries and now "Son of God?" ........

"For ten years, I played an angel on 'Touched by an Angel,' and the premise of that show, at its simplest, was that there is a God and that He loves you and that He wants to be part of your life," she replied. "It was a privilege for me to be playing the angel -- to be messenger -- and delivering that message every week. And so, when that show came off the air, I was wondering how I would be called again and what I might do next.

"And Mark and I felt this whispering in our hearts to bring to the screen the stories of our Bible and over a cup of tea, where all the best decisions are made, we decided that we would that we would produce together the series on the Bible. ...

Mark then chipped in, and said, "We are Christians and it was a calling and we felt that our job was to use our enormous secular success on television and in the entertainment industry, to get the Bible series made."

So how did the "Son of God" come about?

"While shooting the Jesus portion, we realized that this really needed to be a big feature film," said Mark. "So we started overshooting and planning for this film which comes out February 28th and is a two hour movie on the life of Jesus which is made in a very fantastic way; very gripping very dramatic.

Poster for the film

"We remembered that the disciples at that time didn't know they were in the Bible. They were a bunch of tough guys following a charismatic leader who later is revealed to be the Son of God. Imagine the fear they were going through when they discovered this and imagine the Romans hunting them down and the temple authorities trying to get rid of them.

"This was a very tense time and the only person who knew what was happening was Jesus. He led them into Jerusalem and soon they were so frightened and, of course, He knew He was going to his death. The movie takes you from after the crucifixion through to the resurrection, and then to the ascension, and the great commission."

I then raised the topic of the violence that was so graphically portrayed in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," and wondered how they had dealt with His terrible suffering in the streets of Jerusalem and then on the cross at Calvary, in their new movie.

Roma said that they were, of course, deeply aware of Christ's anguishes, but added, "We wanted families to be able to experience the movie together and so we worked with the ratings guys to ensure that we got a PG13 rating for the film.

"The crucifixion is hard to watch. It was a brutal way to die, but our movie moves through that and into the hope and promise of the resurrection through to the ascension and the great commission and it's really beautiful.

"I think you know that Jesus has not been on the big screen for ten years, when 'The Passion of the Christ' came out and we believe that there's a whole new generation of young people that will be inspired by seeing this film. We've tried to present it in a way that emotionally engages an audience.

Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus

"We cast a beautiful and extraordinary Portuguese actor called Diogo Morgado and he gives an amazing performance and gives us the qualities of strength, kindness, and compassion. 

Roma added, "The movie actually begins on the Island of Patmos [a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea] and is told through the memory of the disciple John who is there living in exile and he's remembering how extraordinary Jesus was, and is, and how his life was changed and so through his eyes we go back and it then begins at the nativity." ...

This is a 2014 movie and it looks like it with big special effects. This is a story that can really affect the world in getting to know and love Jesus."

Roma then said the movie was shot entirely on location in Morocco ...

"Even though this was a reenactment, there wasn't a person there who didn't feel the enormity of what He had done for us. And then, for Mark and I, as believers, to be there at the foot of the cross we were reminded of how much we were loved; that He [Jesus] would have done that for us."

Roma played Mary, the mother of Jesus in the film...."But it's still her son she doesn't feel any better about it. So this is a very emotionally connective film, wrapped in a drama, because it was a dramatic time in that first century Jerusalem. And this also is a movie that young people will be talking about for decades as for many of them, this will be the first time they get to really understand who Jesus is."

I then shared with the couple that I had recently released a book called "Mary, My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary" - - which tells the story of Jesus through the eyes of his beloved mother.

And then I asked Roma what it was like playing Mary.

"It was such a privilege to step into that role," she said. "I can't begin to imagine what she must have been feeling on that Jerusalem road when she witnessed Jesus falling with the cross, and then standing at the foot of the cross. I know that, while she was the mother of the Son of God, she was also the mother of a son and so I tried as an actor to bring a mother's heart to the role....

"I don't know that she understood why, but she's a great teacher for all of us because she said 'yes' and the Holy Spirit came into her. She had such trust and she showed it every day. What we can learn from her is that we need to step out in faith each day and also say 'yes' to God."

I then asked Mark what he would have asked Jesus if he ever had the opportunity, and he replied, "Wow, there are so many things, but one of would be, 'Why did you always speak in parables?' In Mark 4, we understand that He only spoke in parables except in very small groups, mainly with the disciples when He would untie the fishing knots of the complications of what he was saying.

"But clearly Jesus is God and God knows best and God decided to only speak in parables to large groups in an enigmatic way and it clearly worked because here we are, some 2,000 years later, and there's 2.2 billion Christians and it all started with 12 disciples. And how on earth they survived the Romans and why didn't they just kill all of the disciples after they had killed Jesus, but it was always in God's plan."

Then back to the movie, Mark said, "We encourage everybody to go the movie as I believe it is a game changer for the next couple of decades on spreading the word of Jesus." ...

To find out more about the film, and see the trailer, just go to

To listen to my radio interview with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, please go to

Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.