We're using The Gospel of John DVD in our Bible class at jail. The 2003 video is a word for word of John's gospel based on the Good News Bible translation. The class members, most of whom are young and therefore visually oriented, love seeing it over and over. You can see clips of it here.
The ministry set has two DVDs, one is a word-for-word. The other is a shorter highlight version. We use the complete and since it is three hours long we have to break it down to segments.
Some class members are with us only a couple sessions. Others are with us for months. In other words, this is a rotating class with new faces every week. So we've shown this DVD more than once and each time the women in my class are attentive. (The men's class love it as well.)
Last night we finished up the last chapter of John with the women following along in their Bibles as the movie played out. After the movie ended, we immediately turned to Acts chapter 1 to read about the ascension and then to I Corinthians 15 to read about the resurrection of believers. I'm certain this was the first time for most of them to cover these Scriptures or to even hear about the resurrection. I'm certain when they went back to their rooms there was discussion of what they had just seen and heard.
All of this to say that this movie is an excellent opportunity to present Jesus to any group. I believe it is one of the best of any of the Jesus films. Leading out with actor Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus, and narrated by Christopher Plummer, the movie takes you into the heart of the Gospel. It is fascinating to watch the faces of the disciples as they experience wonder, fear, frustration, faith. John and Peter in particular are portrayed in all the intensity one would expect of those who walked and talked with the Savior. Peter's failure as he denies Christ is painful to observe and it is with much relief that we see Jesus' calling him in the last chapter to "feed my sheep".
There are only a couple minor flaws in this film...one is that Mary Magdalene is visually presented in a couple scenes where the Gospel of John does not place her. It is possible, of course, that she was present in those instances, but the Gospel does not speak to that and if I were the director (obviously I'm not) I would have left her out of those scenes. Still...an excellent film, and a classic.