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40: The Temptation of Christ (film)
40: The Temptation of Christ is a 2020 epic biblical drama film directed by Douglas James Vail and written by Reed Lackey. It stars Shayan Ardalan, Sabastian Neudeck and Cazzey Louis Cereghino. The plot centers around Jesus Christ, The Son of [], sets out to prepare Himself for His earthly mission to save humanity by dying on the cross to atone for the sins of the world. Christ is led into the Judaean Desertby the HOLY SPIRIT to strengthen His spirit with fasting, prayer and time with His heavenly Father. After 40 days, weak from hunger, Christ is met by Satan who attempts to tempt Him to sin and abandon His painful mission to bring salvation to the world. Satan follows Christ closely creating turbulence in His path in an effort to cause fear, doubt, and terror. Jesus is also haunted by thoughts of what the future holds and nightmares of the inevitable agony He will endure on the cross. Taking advantage of the emotional bond Christ has with His earthly parents, Satan assumes their likeness in an effort to tempt Him into sin.
Jesus Christ, The Son of God, at age 30 sets out to prepare Himself for His earthly mission to save humanity by dying on the cross to atone for the sins of the world. After being baptized by John The Baptist in the Jordan River, Jesus Christ is led into the Judean Desert by the HOLY SPIRIT in the shape of a dove to strengthen His spirit with fasting, prayer and time with His heavenly Father. After 40 days, weak from hunger, Christ is met by Satan who attempts to tempt Him to sin and abandon His painful mission to bring salvation to the world.
Christ begins his journey strong, prayerful and resolute. He progresses forward, He is fondly reminiscent of His childhood with His earthly parents Mary and Joseph. Obedient to God, Mary of Nazareth and Joseph of Nazareth had taken on the role of His custodians and raised Him with such love and care, as if He was their true son. Christ recalls some of the most profound and powerful moments of His childhood such as being found preaching in the temple, the revelation His real father is in heaven, the death of Joseph, and the realization He would be put subjected to severe pain here on earth.
Satan becomes aware of Christ's presence in the desert and knows He has come to release His people from the bondage of sin and restore His people to righteousness. Satan is determined to stop this from happening. In a brief encounter, Satan appears to Christ to introduce himself and persuade Christ off His path. They both discover their direct opposition to each other. During the encounter, Satan reveals a delicate lamb and insists that Christ is as feeble as this lamb. Christ rejects the notion and promises He is here to protect all the sheep from Satan. Following the encounter, Christ follows the lamb tracks that lead Him deeper into the desert abyss.
Satan follows Christ closely creating turbulence in His path in an effort to cause fear, doubt, and terror. Jesus Christ is also haunted by thoughts of what the future holds and nightmares of the inevitable agony He will endure on the cross. His strength is fading quickly, but he presses on, guided by the Holy Spirit and encouraged by the sounds of a bleating lamb. After 40 days, Christ frail and depleted encounters Satan. Taking advantage of the emotional bond Christ has with His earthly parents, Satan assumes their likeness in an effort to tempt Him into sin.
Presenting himself first as Mary of Nazareth, Satan tries to convince Jesus Christ that His suffering on earth is futile, he needs physical sustenance, and prompts Him to "turn these stones into bread." Jesus Christ draws upon Scripture for truth, is able to see through Satan's deception, and maintains that man must live by the Word of God.
Next, Satan takes on the form of beloved Joseph of Nazareth, asking Jesus Christ to reveal Himself as the Son of God by throwing Himself off of His true father's house--the temple, and invoking the protection of the angels. Again, Jesus Christ is not deceived, stands upon the truth of Scripture and states: "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
Last, Satan appears to Jesus as himself, an angel of light clothed in royalty, and finally reveals the lost sheep Jesus has been seeking. Satan attempts to convince Jesus he is aligned with His mission and claims Jesus does not have to suffer in order to save His people. He shows Jesus the kingdoms of the world and offers an alternative path in order to fulfill His purpose-Satan would give Jesus the kingdoms, but He must bow down and worship him. Jesus, though haunted by the pain He knows He must endure, knows His death is the only way to save His people.
The Temptation of Christ, not only explores the struggles of Jesus in His 40 days in the desert, but also reveals the nature of Satan as the Father of Lies, the Word of God as truth, and the love of Jesus as our Savior and Good Shepherd. It is our hope and prayer that through this film, people will come to know Christ and accept Him into their hearts as Lord and Savior.
- Shayan Ardalan as Jesus Christ
- Sabastian Neudeck as Satan
- Cazzey Louis Cereghino as Joseph of Nazareth
- Sophia Louisa Lee as Mary of Nazareth
- Mateo Ray as Young Jesus
- Amelie Rose Vail as Angel
- Alexander Urban as John the Baptist
In June 2017, Faithworks Pictures announced that the film, originally titled XL: The Temptation of Christ, would be released in April 2019, with Douglas James Vail directing, Reed Lackey writing, and Joseph Verdi starring in the lead role. Douglas James Vail, Stephanie Milan Vail, Trace Carper will serve as executive producers. Due to complications during development the Executive Producers recast the lead role to Troy Edward-Lindgaard Hollebeke. The film began shooting in January 2019. Two months into production in March 2019 Troy Edward-Lindgaard Hollebeke cited concerns and fears surrounding film. After several visions and nightmares, he experienced in private, Troy Edward-Lindgaard Hollebeke stepped down from the lead role. The Executive Producers recast the lead role for a third time. The Lead role was accepted by Shayan Ardalan in April 2018 and completed in July 2018.
The film was released in the United States on April 7, 2020 by Gravitas Ventures.
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