From sermon illustration to… Academy Award nomination?

We’ve all heard the story about the drawbridge operator who must make the difficult decision between saving his only son – who is caught in the bridge’s gears – or saving the oncoming train full of passengers. It’s meant to illustrate God’s love for humanity in sacrificing his only Son so that we might live.

It’s a boiler-plate sermon illustration that just about every pastor has in their arsenal, and has been used in every pulpit from sea to shining sea for the past fifty years.

And now it has received an Academy Award nomination.

Filmmaker Billy Zabka, also known as the bully in Karate Kid, has turned the classic illustration into a 30-minute short film titled Most. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and has also received an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short.

The fact that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated a story we’ve all grown up with in church for an award isn’t even the craziest part. Just read the story about how the film was made with no script, money or location – just two penniless guys who hopped a plane to Europe to film a story they felt needed to be told.

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4 thoughts on “From sermon illustration to… Academy Award nomination?

  1. Wow!

    Ironically…I had just bought The Karate Kid on DVD the other day. Zabka is on some of the featurettes, cool to see he’s a Christian.

  2. I never heard that sermon. And I don’t know if I would have gotten anything from it if I had. What drew me closer to God was someone telling me that if I had been the only person on earth, God would have sacrificed his Son for me.

  3. The sermon illustration in question is riddled with theological problems. Leaving them well enough alone, it’s a heart-wrenching story of the Father’s love. Curious souls probably do well to take a peep at the flick. Beautifully filmed. Brilliantly depicted. Tons of spiritual implications. Great opportunity to reach into someone’s heart.

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