The Great Commandment / Life In The Times of Jesus Christ
The Great Commandment - complete movie. An intelligent script, a solid cast and well-paced direction all make for an above average production. All of Judea is groaning under Emperor Tiberius and the outrageous taxes that the merciless Roman tetrarch Herod and governor Pontius Pilate are subjecting them to. In a small village near Jerusalem, the fanatic Zealots study their scrolls and predict the coming of a King from the lineage of David, who will save the Jewish nation from the yoke of Roman oppression. However, when
news comes from afar that Jesus, the son of a Nazarene carpenter, is being proclaimed the awaited Messiah, the Zealots ridicule the notion. "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" asks head scribe Lamech . The Zealots want a fighting leader, and none more so than young and headstrong Joel who also happens to love the beautiful Tamar and hopes to marry her. His father Lamech, however, has other plans and arranges a marriage between Tamar and Joel's brother Zadok . When the Roman centurion Longinus arrives in the village on the eve of the holy Sabbath to collect the tax, a few of the poorer one attempt to escape and are captured. A disillusioned Joel decides to go to seek the man Jesus and find out for himself if Israel has now got a king. Following her heart, Tamar wants to follow him - but Joel is thinking of greater issues than his own happiness now. He seeks the freedom of his nation. When he finds Jesus, however, he encounters a man preaching a message of peace that is incompatible with the philosophy of violence. Nevertheless, he finds himself drawn to and convinced by this miracle-working Jesus. With a totally new perspective and what constitutes freedom and victory, Joel returns to his village - in time for the wedding feast of Tamar with his brother. Here is the test of his new-found faith in the greatest commandment as taught by Jesus- "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy mind, and love thy neighbor as thyself....". Especially when his brother Zadok is killed by Longinus. Israel is in uproar over the additional taxes that the Roman Emperor is afflicting the Jews with - none more so that the Zealots, expounders of the Holy Torah. They long for a king to rescue the nation from oppression, and at first the headstrong Joel is convinced that he has found him in Jesus, who is being proclaimed Messiah (Savior). At the cost of his own happiness with beautiful Tamar, he ventures forth to meet this holy man - but he encounters a Messiah of peace instead of war. Along with a dissenting disciple called Judas, Joel still believes that the Zealots can crown Jesus of Nazareth a conquering King. In this historical epic based on true Biblical incidents and characters, the viewer is confronted afresh with the seeming contradiction of the Prince of Peace.