At the heart of Risen is a conversion story. There are a lot of conversion stories in the New Testament that I can identify with but Clavius is really my spirit animal apparently. I love his story. He was in charge of making sure that the body of Christ was guarded from being stolen and then when that didn’t work out well, he was put in charge of finding out what happened.
In a lot of ways, Clavius was more doubtful than Thomas when it comes to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Even when he encountered the Risen Christ, and he decided to follow Him to Galilee, he was doubtful that it was all true. I can relate. I have been Catholic for six years and I’m still pretty doubtful of a lot of things, including the fact that God became man and died on a cross for me. I’ve encountered Jesus in a real way, I know that it’s all true and yet I still find myself wondering.
Risen is a great story for our times because there are a lot of people like Calvius who are seeking peace in their lives but doubt that God exists or that Jesus is the Messiah. God never gives up trying to reach through to them though. He seeks them out to being them to an encounter with Him. For some of us even when we encounter Christ, we follow always wondering at what point we will prove that it’s all fake. I remember going through RCIA (Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults) being suspicious about every single thing, just like Clavius. The greatest surprise has been that I have never found Jesus to be anything other than real. Time and time again He has proven His love for me.
There are a lot of things that could have been better about the movie some graphics were not the best, and I’m sure that I am never going to like any Jesus other than Jim Caviezel’s Jesus from not until the end of time, but the story was amazing. It is a point of view that we don’t hear very often of a pagan who encounters Jesus, doubts and chooses to follow Him anyway. That is the story of my life.
I love that there are so many different ways that people come to encounter Christ and how that changes their life. Some people are so full of joy and happiness and others, like Calvius and I, spend the rest of our lives knowing that it’s true but still wondering what it all means.
The stories of people who have had life changing encounters with Christ are interesting to me because I love seeing the way that God works in the lives of people who weren’t expecting Him at all. In every single conversion story there is the story of how God loves us, seeks us and meets us where we are and how that meeting changes everything. It’s also great for people to see that not everyone reacts to that encounter in the same way. There are Peters, Pauls and then there are Claviuses.