If you were born after 1950, you might not know the story of Ben Hur. This classic book written by a Civil War general, Lew Wallace, in 1899, was turned into a movie starring Carleton Heston, which won the Academy Award for best movie in 1959.
(It won a record 11 Academy Awards & 3 Golden Globe Awards. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. A remake is scheduled to be released in February 2016).
It is a towering story, deeply moving & an exquisite portrayal of the power, grace & love of Jesus.
When Lew Wallace set out to study the life of Christ, he was not a Christian. In fact, writing a story such as Ben Hur was the farthest thing from his mind.
Wallace was against Christianity & determined he would study the life of Christ so thoroughly & then write so convincingly, that he would be able to kill the story of Christ.
He wanted to prove that Jesus, if He had lived, was not God, but merely a man, that He never rose from the death & that Christianity was a hoax.
So he studied. This great & enormous subject drew him further & further into his research until the evidence overwhelmed him. He dropped to his knees & cried out to Jesus to be his Savior & Lord.
Then, instead of writing a book to prove to the world that Jesus was not God, he wrote Ben Hur, to try to prove to the world that Jesus is God. (‘Jesus, Knowing Our Savior’ by Max Anders)
Jer 31:3 (NLT): Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”