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The most impressive piece of acting in Son of God was delivered by Matthew. I cried. Admittedly, I was weeping for much of the film, but these tears were not a result of any violence against Jesus or others.

The scene of their first encounter begins with Jesus telling the story that compares the Pharisee and the tax collector. After describing the prideful Pharisee, Jesus locks eyes with Matthew. Without hesitation Jesus lunges into the description of the tax collector.

At the very mention of the word tax collector, you feel the burden of emotion in Matthew’s face. His shame is palatable. Tax collector. Roman collaborator. Synonymous with scum. What could Jesus possibly say?

Matthew is one already bowed low. You can read it in his eyes. Now what humiliating blow from the Teacher will be the knock down punch?

What transpires is nothing less than shocking. Rather than Jesus fulfilling Matthew’s fears of further shame, He demonstrates His deep knowing of his soul. While Jesus quotes the tax collector, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner,” the camera is on Matthew. His lip movements and voice blend fully with those of Jesus.

The tear sliding down Matthew’s cheek says it all. Shame meets grace. Hiding gives way to intimacy. He leaves his wealth–just to be with Him who knows.

The Son of God. He knows you, too.

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