At the end of what has been a challenging year for many, Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and his daughters Chrystal Evans Hurst and Priscilla Shirer are looking to bring hope and encouragement to the Body of Christ through their new documentary, “Journey with Jesus.”
“Hope is confident expectation about the future; hope is always future-oriented,” Evans, founder of the Urban Alternative, told The Christian Post.
“And that’s what this journey with Jesus did. It infused hope because the good news of the coming of Christ for Christmas, for Easter, for life is that we struggle hopefully, not hopelessly. So you have hopefulness in the midst of the crises we face because Jesus is alive. He’s seated on the right-hand side of the Father. He’s coming back again, and He meets us in the midst of our struggles and triumphs.”
The pastor said that “everybody needs hope” and wants his new documentary to “instill that sense that the living Christ can give us ... a jab of hope.”
Released as a Fathom Event for three nights — Nov. 15, 16 and 17 — “Journey with Jesus” follows Evans, his family and a team of others as they retrace Jesus’ steps across Israel.
The family never planned to make a film. Evans revealed that in late 2018, they simply set out to experience the land where Jesus lived and ministered, bringing a group of about 700 people associated with the Urban Alternative along with them.
“We said, ‘How can we make this go longer than the event ... so that other people can get the experience, see the Bible leave the pages of Scripture and become an experience in their lives?’ Because whenever you have sight and sound, then it gives you a full picture. So we taped it, we videoed it and we said, ‘Well, let’s make it available to everyone who wants to see it.”
From the Sea of Galilee to The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Evans and friends visited some of the most notable places mentioned in Scripture — an experience Shirer described as “holy, really sacred and incredibly impactful.”
“[It was] meaningful to just see a three-dimensional view of some of the places that you’ve only read about in the scriptures and to share it with other people within the Body of Christ,” Shirer said.
She specifically recalled one occasion where their team gathered on the Sea of Galilee, singing worship songs in unison.
“I have chills just talking about it, remembering that moment — of all of these brothers and sisters from different parts of the United States and the world ... come together to celebrate the Lord Jesus. And in that moment on the Sea of Galilee, singing worship to Him, it just really felt incredibly special and meaningful and unforgettable,” Shirer said.
On another occasion, the group visited the garden at Golgotha, where it is believed Jesus’ body was laid after His death and then resurrected.
“It’s just this confirmation that He is not dead, He is alive, and we worship Him just because of that receipt of the resurrection. It is a beautiful confirmation of our faith,” Shirer shared.
For Evans, traveling to the Holy Land with his family, including his wife, Lois, who passed away in December 2019, made the trip all the more memorable.
“Being able to share our family experience with the family of God and all who need to become part of the family of God was an exceptionally invigorating experience,” he said. “And to feel what it would potentially feel like to be in the sights and sounds of Jesus’s earthly existence was really dynamic.”
A seasoned pastor, Evans believes that Christians must know biblical history “because it authenticates the historical accuracy of the Word of God.” In “Journey with Jesus,” Evans gives the biblical context for each location to help viewers fully grasp its power.
“Even if you’re not sure that the Bible is the Word of God, the fact that you can trace history gives it validity from just academic informational perspective,” he said.
“When you actually are in the footsteps of Jesus, the Bible takes on a new level of life. The Bible is alive, but it may not be alive in you and for you. But when you do this, and when the historical reality becomes illuminated in your thinking, then it becomes inspirational for your living.”
Evans hopes that “Journey with Jesus” helps viewers renew their faith.
“The Lord is real. The Bible is real, and therefore, the prophecies about the future are also real. Heaven is real. So we want to be able to inspire people; we want this movie to do just that.”
And as 2022 approaches, Shirer reminds believers that whatever the future holds, God is sovereign and holds the “whole thing in the palm of His hand.”
“He’s very much in control and seated on the throne,” she stressed. “Times may be uncertain for us, but they’re not uncertain for Him. So our confidence is not in anything around us, whether it’s the home we live in, or the bank account statement that we have, or the relationships or connections we may have. Our ultimate hope and security can’t lie in any of those things. They lie and rest in our trust in a heavenly Father who sees all who knows all and is good and kind and loves us dearly. That gives us an anchor in the midst of tumultuous times.”
“Journey with Jesus” will be in theaters on Nov. 15, 16 and 17. To find out where “Journey with Jesus” is playing, go to JourneywithJesusmovie.com.
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org