Because of the Easter celebration, America Online's Entertainment section is running an interesting article on the various actors who have portrayed Jesus in film. James Caviezal, Christian Bale and even Will Ferrell have portrayed J.C. in films released during the last ten years.
My favorite Jesus, though, is Willem Dafoe, who embodied Jesus in the 1988 epic The Last Temptation of Christ. Based on the riveting novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation depicted a very human Jesus; a man who struggled with guilt, anxiety and selfishness while trying to decide if he could go forward with God's divine plan. Dafoe brings a vulnerability to Jesus that makes the character's final decision--to ignore the temptation, and continue his sacrifice for mankind--that much more powerful.
I'm not sold on the idea that the Easter legend is true. But I do love the story. I don't know about you, but I like my Jesus conflicted and reflective. It makes his crucifixion more passionate, more selfless. Son of God or not, that kind of passion and selflessness is needed more these days than ever before.