On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we make it to Death Row during the Great Depression as we look for Christian themes in THE GREEN MILE. John Coffey is a miracle man, and his guard Paul wants to share it. Isn’t this how to fulfill the Great Commission? All that and more in 3…2…1!
John Coffey: The Green Mile‘s Miracle Man
In The Green Mile, we get a good image of miracles that defy scientific explanation; we also get a good image of how those miracles are received by everyone around it. I want to look at one scene from the film in particular that shows how people either believe or don’t believe in miracles.
It goes without saying that John Coffey is like Jesus in this film in that he miraculously heals Paul, Mr. Jingles, and finally Melinda. In fact, it’s strange that he actually takes on their infirmities for himself for a brief amount of time, until he releases them back into the air in the form of flies the buzz around for a few seconds and then sizzle away into a little puff of smoke.
In one instance, found in John 4:46-54, Jesus heals an official’s son. Just before he declares him “healed,” however, Jesus proffers one of his controversial sayings: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” So, it could be argued that Jesus healed this boy in order that he, his father, and the rest of the household would become believers.
And there’s a converse instance where Jesus chooses not to perform any “signs and wonders” in his hometown because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58).
We can see these same two attitudes – belief and unbelief – in this scene at the picnic table. Everyone’s enjoying a good meal prepared by Paul’s wife Jan, and Paul brings up the “Mr. Jingles” incident which was obviously the elephant in the room judging by the other men’s responses. But then Paul testifies to John’s gift by sharing that he, too, had been miraculously healed. And just to make it clear, Paul is in fact calling it a miracle.
The other friends then believe Paul, but ask why Paul even brings it up in the first place. Paul’s answer: he has been so affected by John Coffey’s gift that we wants to share it with someone else who he knows will be affected just like he was. And isn’t that essentially what it means to fulfill the Great Commission?
It reminds us of Mark 7:37, which will serve as our key text for this episode:
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Just as Paul has been physically healed by John Coffey, we have been spiritually healed by Jesus the Christ. And just as Paul wants to share that healing with someone who needs it, we, too, want to share the miraculous healing that Jesus brought us.
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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
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