In the movie Risen, Joseph Fiennes plays a Roman Tribune named Clavius who is ordered by Pontius Pilate to investigate what happened to the body of Jesus after the crucifixion. Clavius is portrayed as a good soldier, albeit ambitious. He doesn’t want to be in Jerusalem, but does his duty while he waits for better assignments to come along. He certainly doesn’t care for this current assignment, going around the city digging up dead bodies.

But a funny thing starts to happen to Clavius. Being a good soldier, he follows the evidence. Slowly he starts to realize that the person he’s looking for might actually have risen from the dead.

Christians who demand that movies stick strictly to the Biblical text will find parts of Risen not to their liking. And of course Clavius is a completely fictional character. But there is something powerful about the way he deals with the new reality he’s confronted with. Clavius could be any thoughtful person who allows his own ideas to be challenged by the facts.

In the first century, nobody believed that a person could rise from the dead. It was totally outside the worldview of both Jews and Greeks. Yet within a few hundred years, Christianity went from a small, marginalized sect to being the dominant religion of the Roman Empire.

Clavius discovered, as billions of people have since, once the evidence begins to sink in, your worldview has to change.

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