The Gospel of John in Film, Television, and Multimedia
by Glenn Patrick Buxton
The Living Word from the Gospel of John

Year:                  1987, LJW Productions
Directed by:      Jim McCullough
Produced by:     L. Wilcox, R. Siner
Starring:           Eric Turner. Jesus
                          Steve Johnston. Narrator
                          Darrell Mansfield. Blindman

Decidedly a low budget production that is true to the Gospel of John in the segments it portrays. The "Original Christian songs" are a bit much the first time around, but are OK if you know they are coming the second time it is viewed. Scenes include the meeting of Jesus and John the Baptist, the healing of the blind man (who ends up singing the rest of the video), the Samaritan woman, and the forgiveness of the adulterous woman, among others.

John 1:1- 5
The opening of this video begins with a direct quote from John 1:1- 5 spoken by a narrator, with scenes from a market place.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 1:6-14
The next scene begins with a long shot of a man walking down a path (we later find out this is John) while the narrator is reciting John 1:6-8. We then cut to a short scene of men who were in the opening market place scene walking while the narrator continues to recite John 1: 8-10. The next scene is that of a teacher who is surrounded by a small crowd who are gathered at his feet to listen; among this crowd are 3 women, a child, an adolescent, and 2 men. In the background the narrator continues to recite John 1: 10-14.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,  full of grace and truth.

John 1:15- 27
This scene depicts John Baptizing believers (who happen to be the same crowd (conspicuously minus the children) who were at the feet of the teacher in the previous scene. The narration continues with John 1:15-18. Two men then appear in garments that are to depict them as a Priest and a Levite from Jerusalem while the narration continues from John1:18-25. Jesus then appears from behind the two men from Jerusalem while the narration leads to John 1:26-27. There are no directly spoken parts by any of the actors; the narration is, in effect , speaking for them.

19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

John 1:28- 34
We now cut to a scene depicting John the Baptist and two of his disciples sitting beside a campfire, then segue into a scene of Jesus coming over a hill toward them. As Jesus arrives the crowd that was earlier at his feet reappear (this time with the children). There is no actual dove descending, as I have seen in some other depictions of this scripture, but what is interesting is that the baptism of Jesus happens after the narrator speaks of the Holy Spirit's descending upon Jesus.

28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

John 9:1-7
The Video now jumps all the way to John 9:1. (This is the blind man who will now be healed and sing for the rest of the video.) Jesus walks up to the blind man with what appears to be 3 disciples. There are 2 priests near by and a fairly large and diversified crowd in attendance while Jesus makes the clay and puts it on the eyes of the blind man. The scene now depicts a man from the crowd taking the blind man to what appears to be a fountain. The blind man washes his eyes and arises seeing.

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.).He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

John 9:8-12
As the narrator continues to recite verses 8 through 12, we see a crowd gathering around the man who has now regained his sight.

8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. 10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? 11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. 12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

The blind man now begins to sing his first song to the crowd that have gathered. (no biblical reference required).  The next scene opens with a long shot of a structure that is being depicted as a temple, with what sounds like Gregorian Chants in the background, while Levites and Pharisees walk about it.

John 9:13-25
With one small exception (in brackets) the narrator now quotes verbatim from the King James Version John 9:13-25. The blind man is among the Pharisees and his mother and father now appear among them to bear witness that this is indeed their son.

13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. 14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; [or who hath opened his eyes, we know not:] he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. 24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

The blind man once again begins to lip-sync to a continuation of the previous song, with background music and backup singers.

John 3:1-7
We now jump back to John 3:1 and the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus is sitting on a boulder in the darkness clothed in white when Nicodemus (clothed in black) walks into the scene from the darkness. The point of this scene from the writer's perspective (it would appear to me) is "Ye must be born again"

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

John 4:1-3
The video now jumps to a scene (along the shore) of Jesus and two disciples at the beginning of John 4:1. The blind man again appears from behind a rock along the shore, bows down in front of Jesus, and (as Jesus and his disciples depart) the blind man once again begins to sing.

1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

John 4:4-14
Once again the story line returns to John 4:4-6 as Jesus walks along with 3 disciples into Samaria. Fade to a scene of a woman drawing water from a well and departing. Jesus sends his disciples away as a second woman approaches the well. The narrator recites word for word John 4:7-14 as Jesus and the Samaritan Woman stand together beside the well.

4 And he must needs go through Samaria. 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Jesus exits and the blind man now appears at the well to sing a duet with the Samaritan Woman.

John 4:46-53 The video now moves to the story of the healing of the official's son. Jesus and (again) 3 disciples are walking along a rock face in a desert area when a man approaches. The narrator recites John 4:46-50 of the conversation between Jesus and the official. They part ways and the scene now cuts to the official approaching two men who we find out are his servants while the narrator continues with verses 51-53.

46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

John 8:3-12 The Video now moves to John 8:3-12. The Pharisees are man-handling a woman into the scene as the narrator is reciting the verses from the King James Version of the bible verbatim. We see only the woman and the crowd at first, then (as Jesus is mentioned writing on the ground the second time) we cut to a two shot of Jesus and the woman as the crowd departs. The narrator quotes the conversation between Jesus and the woman and (before Jesus departs) the blind man once again appears on the scene (as the background music begins to rise). Jesus departs and the blind man begins to sing.

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 17:1-5 The video now ends with a scene of Jesus standing on a hillside with a large crowd about him including men, women, children, and a Roman Centurion in full battle dress. The narrator concludes as the video focuses on Jesus and fades into a multicolored framing of Jesus with his arms outstretched against a blue sky.

1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Reviewed by Glenn P. Buxton, 1999

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