Most evangelicals have little regard for two of the Ten Commandments. Sabbath keeping has at best been reduced to attending a worship service on Sunday. Attend two services on Sunday and you might be called a legalist or at the other extreme a super-Christian. Whatever you are, it isn’t normal.
Whether one may make an image of God or watch a “Jesus movie” is not even on the average Christian’s radar screen. Of course you may watch a Jesus movie. It’s not just your right; God would have it that way, or so it’s thought. Use the movie as a tool for evangelism! Permissiveness and latitude is always the de facto position. It's commonly thought that either the second commandment has been abrogated with Israel’s expiration (along with Sabbath observance) or it doesn’t apply to images of Jesus under the "dispensation of grace."
Many Christians try to believe that the second commandment has always only been against making an image of God and using it as a worship aid, like Roman Catholicism promotes in practice. (The Eastern Church’s icons are usually up for grabs.) A growing number of Protestants who avoid crucifixes and such will say that the commandment is addressing carved images or possibly God’s divine nature but certainly not Jesus’ human nature acted out in a movie. But, be honest now. Are Christians going to a Jesus movie merely to get a glimpse of the Lord’s humanity, or are they looking to be spiritually edified by a visual depiction of the God-man? If they're looking for spiritual edification, then the accompanying sin is that of false worship through the mediation of an image of Christ, which is forbidden under the second commandment. If the aim is not spiritual edification, then the pursuit is a vain thing and, therefore, forbidden under the third commandment. If the commandment refers only to false gods and not the living God, then the second commandment collapses into the first commandment leaving us with nine commandments, (which although is theoretically possible it would raise a question regarding redundancy over two in light of the remaining eight, very distinct commandments).
What is most times overlooked is that Jesus’ personality is that of the Second Person of the Trinity and not just any human personality. God couldn’t have given the incarnate Christ my personality for instance. No, the incarnate Christ has the personality of the Son. It had to be that way since the Son, the Second Person, became man. Added to this, an actor, no matter how good, cannot help but project his own personality (blended with a scripted personality) onto the screen. He cannot portray the personality of another perfectly - let alone the personality of the Second Person of the Trinity even approximately! Therefore, the actor who would dare play the Christ cannot but project a false image of God even if he sticks to the written script of Scripture. It’s not as though verbal tone and body language do not proceed from personality. In fact, the reverse is true. Reactions of persons convey ideas that are propositional in nature. These picture-words are being passed off as God's communication.
I know how unspiritual it can be to use theological terms, but it’s my Blog. The idea of perichoresis as it relates to the hypostatic union is relevant to this discussion and should inform our thinking on the second commandment as it relates to images of Christ. As Oliver Crisp astutely notes, we can rightly say that the divine nature penetrates the human nature (yet without commingling or confusion of the distinct natures of Christ). Although the two natures of Christ are indeed distinct (i.e., there is no transfer of properties), the divine works of the Second Person, though they do not originate with the human nature, are performed through the human nature by the divine Son. (Again, Crisp.)(Similarly, the three persons of the Trinity although distinct, mutually indwell each other and "share the same divine space." Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, Luke 4:1; the Father indwells the Son, John 14:10, etc.To consider the Son aright, one must consider His relationship to the Father, etc., and the Trinity as a whole.)
The divine nature precedes the human nature in the incarnation. The Son of God became man. Accordingly, although the divine nature penetrates the human nature, the reverse is not true. Christ is a human being who came down from heaven. In the time of Jesus' humiliation, no less than now, this divine penetration resulted in Jesus’ tone of voice and body language. May Jesus be accurately portrayed as effeminate or would his divine nature forbid such a penetration to his human nature? Would He grin or appear disappointed in the same way and over the same things as any mortal actor?
What possibly intrigues me most in all of this is that when I watch a good movie I have no problem suspending my beliefs so that the actor may “become” for me the character. So, Al Pacino becomes The Don and Anthony Hopkins becomes C.S. Lewis. No sin there I trust. Do Christians do the same when watching Jesus movies? I would think not. I certainly hope not! Christians are to be on their guard because they should realize that the actor will not be faithful to the Second Person. We don’t know Jesus’ facial expressions, etc. but such expressions often speak a thousand words. Are those words consistent with the Son of God? More to the point, are they His words? If not, then how are movies such as this not putting words in God’s mouth?
Once again, God’s people put their carnal reasoning and good intentions above the plain word of God. Once again the serpent hisses, “Has God said?” Once again the church falters in disobedience over the latest craze.