The second short film from Vertical Church Films, “Once We Were Slaves,” captures the uncommon grace and redemption of the crucifixion from a perspective that’s never before been captured on film. 2,000 years ago, two Jewish prisoners await their fate in a Jerusalem jail cell. One, a lifelong criminal and a rebel against the Roman occupation, is resigned to his death. The other, a lifelong rabbinical student and peacemaker, refuses to accept his fate. As the afternoon progresses their history is revealed, a history that leads them to a shocking encounter with a mysterious man who changes their lives forever.
“Once We Were Slaves” is a powerful story of redemption. The crucifixion story is told through the eyes of the two thieves imprisoned and crucified with Jesus. They see their companion Barabbas freed, but they face the ultimate price for their crimes. Yet one of the thieves, at first railing against Christ with the other thief, asks that Jesus remember him. Christ then utters the famous words, “This day you will be with me in paradise.”
We see Roman oppression in this film, and an angry Jew reacting against it. The main focus is the freedom that Christ brings with his ultimate sacrifice, and the difference he made in one thief’s life. Due to a few bloody scenes during the crucifixion, we are awarding this movie our Dove “Faith-Based” Seal. The movie features good acting, a good story, and realistic sets. It does a terrific job showing how Christ made a difference in one man’s life.