Angels and Miracles in Movies: 'The Young Messiah'

Movie Portrays Jesus Christ as a Boy Encountering Angels and Performing Miracles

Jesus Christ as a boy in temple with Mary and Joseph
The painting "Jesus Found in the Temple" by James Tissot. SuperStock/Getty Images

How can children start to discover God's purposes for their lives? How can parents balance encouraging kids to follow wherever God leads them with a desire to protect kids from danger? When angels and miracles show up in people's lives, how should they respond? The movie 'The Young Messiah' (Focus Features, 2016) asks audiences those questions as it presents a story based on a year in the life of Jesus Christ as a boy of 7 years old.

Faith Quotes

“There’s a boy who can perform miracles, and in Alexandria he raised a boy from the dead. That’s the rumor.” – Herod Archelaus, ruler of Judea

 

“I used to wonder if angels would come to me, if they would sing to me, if they would fill my dreams.” – Jesus

 

“One morning my room filled with light. It was white light, like the sun but with no heat or pain. It was pure, like the air itself was glowing. I saw a figure – larger than a man but like a man – inside the light. It spoke to me. … The angel said that the Holy Spirit would come over me, and that I would give birth to a holy child. … The angel is not your father; God is your father. … Keep your power inside you, until your father in heaven shows you the time to use it.” – Mary, telling Jesus about Archangel Gabriel’s visit to her during the Annunciation

 

“I’m watching you, angel boy. So go on: Walk like a child, talk like a child, play like a child.

I may not know the future, but I know this … Your cause is lost! Your little miracles can’t save these foolish people!” – the fallen angel Satan talking to Jesus after attacking Jesus with a feverish illness

 

“He’s here. The boy is here, with the blind rabbi. Go!” Satan speaking to a Roman centurion through clairaudience when the centurion is searching for Jesus to kill him

 

“Why did God choose me? What if I’m not strong enough [to protect Jesus from his enemies]?” – Mary

“You’re a brave and shining girl … It is they who should fear you.” – Joseph

 

“Are you mad at me?” – Jesus (who had just miraculously healed his uncle Cleophas of a lung disease, even though his parents had instructed him not to perform miracles in public yet)

“How could we be mad at you? We loved him, too.” – Joseph

 

“That man was sick and now he’s well, and the boy did it!” – A man who witnessed Jesus heal Cleophas while swimming with Cleophas in the Jordan River’s water


“There were angels at the river. I didn’t see them, but I knew they were there.” – Jesus, speaking to his parents about the healing

 

“He is not just a child.” – Cleophas

 

“Who are you? I demand you tell me!” Satan, who reaches out to Jesus

“Don’t touch me!” – Jesus

 

“I know you have many questions. Your questions are the questions of a child, but the answers are the answers of a man. That is one bridge I cannot build, but God can. So we must trust him.” – Joseph

“I do. I trust him for everything.” – Jesus

The Plot

After an angel visits Jesus' father Joseph in a dream instructing their family to leave Egypt and return home to Nazareth, Judea, they travel back together.

Jesus (Adam Greaves-Neal), a boy of 7 at the time, discovers through encounters with angels and his own ability to perform miracles that he has great spiritual power. But his mother Mary and others caution him that he must learn how to use that power carefully -- at the right time, and in the right ways -- so he doesn't put people in unnecessary danger.

Demon leader Satan stalks Jesus, trying to discourage him from using his power, and trying to incite others to harm or kill Jesus. Roman centurion soldiers hunt Jesus and his family, under orders to make sure that no Jewish boy with special powers is allowed to grow up, since prophecies have foretold that the messiah (world's savior) may be in their midst and government rulers are afraid of being overthrown by him.

Mary (Sara Lazzaro) and Joseph (Vincent Walsh) have told Jesus not to attract attention to himself by performing miracles yet.

But Jesus finds that miracles happen anyway when he directs his attention to someone or something. One of the miracles involves bring a dead bird back to life by breathing on it, which is reminiscent of a miracle described in the Quran and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (a Jewish and Christian text that's not part of the Torah or Bible but still considered to have some historical merit). In that miracle, the boy Jesus made a toy bird out of clay and then brought it to life as a real animal by breathing on it.