Islam has some common ground with Christians in what it teaches about Jesus. For instance, faithful Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. They believe He is a prophet worthy of extremely high esteem and reverence. But the Iranian maker of a Jesus movie readily admits the differences between the Biblical Jesus and the Muslim Jesus:
"Gibson's film is a very good film. I mean that it is a well-crafted movie but the story is wrong -- it was not like that," he said, referring to two key differences: Islam sees Jesus as a prophet, not the son of God, and does not believe he was crucified.
Nader Talebzadeh's "Jesus, the Spirit of God," won awards at the 2007 Religion Today Film Festival in Italy (source).
Our recent conflict - rather, our recent collision - with the Muslim world has peaked our interest and curiosity in Islam. The same thing happened during our clash with Viet Nam. The West foamed at the mouth as Eastern Religion infiltrated every level of pop culture. Current cultural views have been shaped by Eastern influence.
The same thing is going on in the Muslim World. As Western influence spreads through technology over radar waves, Internet, and American boots on the ground, West is influencing and shaping East. The Muslim response is to remind the faithful what their religion teaches.
My missionary mind thinks of the bottom line: there is a resurgence of interest in the Middle East about the person of Jesus Christ. He's impossible to ignore. I have personally had more engaging conversations about Who Jesus is while spending time in the Middle East. This movie - although I don't know how popular it will be - could open a huge door for sharing the True Jesus with Muslims who want to learn more about God and the One Way to approach Him and gain His favor.
I wonder how effective it would be to host a viewing of this movie followed by a showing of the Jesus Film.