The story of Paul the Apostle of Christ is an amazing, truthful account of Paul's last days. I was allowed to review this marvelous movie and I will say it is wonderful. Paul, once Saul, who persecuted Christians, is imprisoned when the story begins. You will see his last days and the effects of a great friend, Luke, who joins with him to write their story. This movie goes exactly along with the Bible.
James Faulkner plays Paul, Jim Caviezel plays Luke and it is written and directed by Andrew Hyatt. This movie is 108 minutes long.
Luke the evangelist enters Rome in secret just as he witnesses Christian victims being set ablaze as human torches to light the night-time streets. He has been sent by other Christian communities outside of Rome to meet with Paul the Apostle and persuade him to help in writing an account of his wisdom. Luke meets with Priscilla and Aquila, the leaders of the Christian community hiding out in the city, who are currently debating whether to stay in Rome and continue to provide hope to persecuted victims of Nero's pogrom or to leave Rome with their community to avoid certain death.
Paul has been imprisoned inside Mamertine Prison for his strong influence as a Christian leader which makes him a threat to Nero's power and the Roman Empire. Mauritius Gallus, the newly appointed prefect of the prison, accuses him of burning half of Rome down and, under Nero's decree, sentences him to death. Luke uses forged papers to sneak into the prison and joyfully greets a weary, physically beaten Paul. Paul and Luke both agree that Paul's time is soon coming to an end and so Luke convinces Paul to help him write an account of how Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, came to be one of Christianity's greatest leaders. Mauritius discovers that Luke had snuck into the prison with the help of high-ranking Romans, but allows him to visit Paul unscathed because those Romans are also friends of Mauritius.
Paul begins narrating his origins: That he was once Saul of Tarsus, a Jewish boy, who was influenced by the zealotry of the Jewish leaders and witnessed the martyrdom of Stephen at their hands for professing his faith in Jesus Christ. This event made Saul vow to destroy all Christians throughout the world. Mauritius laments the fact that he has been made prefect of the prison despite his many deeds for Rome and that his daughter is dying from a terrible sickness despite all his sacrifices to the Roman gods. At a tavern, his friends suggest that he find some evidence that the Christians were responsible for burning down Rome despite rumors abounding that it was Nero who started the fire.
The Christian community continues to suffer losses, including a Roman boy named Tarquin who was sent to enlist the aid of Roman citizens sympathetic to the Christians' plight. Tarquin's cousin, Cassius, adamantly calls for Christians to take up arms and seek revenge against the Romans for all their persecutions. But, Aquila rebukes him by saying that Paul never sought revenge or wished ill upon all those who harmed him and that "love is the only way". Luke, having witnessed the Roman's barbarism and cruelty, relates this news to Paul and begins to sympathize with the need for revenge. Paul, however, admonishes him for "giving up on the world when Christ did not" and tells him that the very love which Christ died for is the only way to counter this evil. Inspired by these words, Luke lets go of his anger and continues writing down Paul's story.
At this point, Paul relates his story about how he hunted down and butchered many Christians throughout the Holy Land until the day he rode for Damascus with his brethren. He became blinded by God and heard His voice asking why Saul persecuted Him. This event along with Saul's meeting Ananias, a disciple of Christ, humbles Saul so deeply that he repents of his actions. Ananias restores Saul's sight and baptizes him in the name of the Lord, which leads to Saul rejecting his former name and becoming Paul.
Mauritius, having heard about Paul's reputation as a preacher and miracle worker, speaks with Paul and relays his concerns that his daughter is dying. Paul suggests that Luke be allowed to examine her and help, but Mauritius refuses to allow a Christian into his home despite the protests of his wife who is growing impatient with Mauritius' hubris. Further, Mauritius has Luke imprisoned under the assumption that Paul and Luke are plotting an escape from the prison to lead an uprising against Rome. Paul, however, assures him that this is not the case and offers Luke words of comfort that he will find the strength to love and forgive their enemies.
Cassius, having lost all patience with Priscilla and Aquila's pacifism, decides to take matters into his own by bringing an armed group of men to storm the prison and free Paul. But, Paul rejects their offer of rescue by telling them that Christ has already won the victory upon the cross. Dejected, Cassius and the others escape before more guards arrive and disappear into the night. Mauritius angrily accuses Paul and Luke of the conspiracy to escape despite their protests and has Luke thrown into prison along with other imprisoned Christians. After learning that they will be sentenced to Nero's circus to be devoured by wild beasts, Luke leads the other Christians in prayer asking the Lord to forgive their captors for their impending execution.
Mauritius finally relents after fearing the loss of her daughter and has Luke brought to his house to help save her. Luke sends Mauritius to Aquila and Priscilla for supplies needed to heal the child. Mauritius, amazed that Luke would entrust the lives of other Christians to him, goes alone to their hiding place and begs for their help. Although initially wary and distrustful of a Roman asking for their assistance, they relent and give Mauritius the supplies he requests. With the items delivered, Luke is able to use his healing skills as a physician to cure the warden's daughter of her illness at the same time that the imprisoned Christians are thrown into the circus.
With his daughter finally healthy again, Mauritius graciously spares Luke's life and thanks Paul for continuing to show him compassion and kindness. Although Mauritius is sorry for the deaths of the Christians in the arena, Paul responds by saying that Mauritius may yet come to know Jesus Christ and God's undying love. Paul and Luke meet one more time and express their hope that all the world shall know the Christians by their love and that they will meet again. Aquila and Priscilla, having decided at this point to leave Rome with their community, agree to deliver Luke's completed letters and writings to Timothy, thus ensuring that the Acts of the Apostles will be told and retold to all Christians and non-Christians.
Luke decides to remain in Rome and continue the work of evangelizing in the name of Christians. As the Christian community escapes into the countryside, Paul is escorted outside the prison to be executed by decapitation with Luke watching onwards. Mauritius shakes Paul's hand in a final gesture of goodwill and respect. As Paul's execution is underway, a voice-over narrates his conclusion to Timothy saying that he is thankful to have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. The final scene depicts Paul arriving in Heaven as a crowd of people greet him joyfully, including all those he once persecuted and killed. He is last seen walking towards Jesus filled with peace.
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