Originating from Iran, Jesus, The Spirit Of God examines the life of Jesus of Nazareth not from the traditional European/Christian perspective as the Son of God, but from the Muslim perspective of a human who foretells the coming of the final prophet, Mohammed.
In broad strokes, the story is similar to the life of Jesus as portrayed in the Christian New Testament, though there are definite differences that may surprise viewers with little background on the Koran’s version of his life. The most obvious is the subject of Jesus’ divinity, which Islam does not believe in. A more glaring difference comes in the form of some of Jesus’ teachings. In one instance, Jesus and his disciples share a meal in secret at the home of Nichodimus, a member of the Sanhedrin who is sympathetic to Jesus’ teachings. There, Jesus blames the Jews for continually turning away from God, perverting his Laws and then killing any prophet God sends to bring them back to his path.
Technically, the film is put together solidly, though without any real technical flair. The depictions of the miracles performed by Jesus are done simply through some basic editing and the actors’ performances. The production design is not that lavish and at times looks like an old 1950s Italian sword and sandals programmer.
There will be some who will rightly take offense to the Jewish high priests as schemers who ultimately pay Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus. I’m no scholar of the Koran, but based on current events, I suspect that it is susceptible to differing interpretations as the Old and New Testaments are. The film’s depiction of God taking Jesus up to Heaven, while leaving a transformed Judas Iscariot to be crucified in Jesus’ place is another interpretation of the Koran that is openly debated among Muslims. As such, one shouldn’t take the film as the final official word on the Muslim religion’s stance on Jesus, much like other cinematic interpretations of various religious scripture, such as Mel Gibson’s The Passion Of The Christ, shouldn’t be taken as a blanket statement for their creed.