Well, this movie certainly did it…
Palm Sunday night, Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus” debuted on the National Geographic channel.
I understood, from interviews with O’Reilly, that this movie would highlight the political, social and monetary issues that surrounded the life and death of Jesus.
Here is my problem with that – you can’t tell the story of Jesus without mentioning God. God uses people, even ungodly people, to fulfill His perfect purposes.
God utilizes his infinite power and authority to allow people do His will. Thus, there WERE political, social and monetary reasons that Jesus was killed by Pontius Pilate. But, that was all part of God’s plan.
The film started…
I really like Kelsey Grammar. It can’t be easy to be a conservative in Hollywood. Playing Herod in this film took guts. But, he looked absolutely ridiculous. He gave a really powerful, crazy Herod. It was strong enough for me to forget about his goofy curls after about 2 minutes.
In this adaptation, Joseph just comes up with the idea of leaving Bethlehem and then again of the idea of moving to Egypt. (It all happens before the credits). In the Bible, Joseph receives a message from God to take Jesus out of Herod’s kingdom. Then, after Herod’s death, God tells Joseph to take Jesus, Mary, all of their other children and go to Nazareth. Joseph didn’t just come up with all that stuff. God told him to do it to fulfill his prophecy in Isaiah of the circumstances surrounding the birth of the Messiah, His one and only Son, fully human and fully God.
That leads me to the portrayal of Jesus. Jesus always knew that he was God. Even as a child He defied Mary and Joseph to hang out at the temple which he boldly called “His father’s house.” Mary and Joseph were there at Jesus’ birth. They knew something was up.
This Jesus seems wide-eyed and shocked at events that are going on around Him. He was God, Jesus didn’t need his cousin, John the Baptist, who looks like a wild-eyed lunatic, to tell him. So, then when Jesus starts to preach it seems meaningless. If He doesn’t even know that He is God, what is the point? What is His motivation?
See what I mean?
Jesus didn’t cast out demons with a hug! What is he, Dr. Oz? This is Jesus, the most powerful, perfect human who ever lived. He cast out demons boldly in the name of God, His Father.
What is going on?
Next up, John the Baptist is arrested and taken to prison. If I remember correctly, John was described as ruddy and good-looking. I always kinda pictured him with a locust wing stuck to his lip with wild honey. John was filled with the Holy Spirit. He didn’t look like a scrawny nut job. He knew that he was a messenger for The Lord.
Ok, Mary knew that Jesus was God’s son. She was told by an angel that she would conceive and bear a son. She was there for the glorious and totally crazy birth – the star, shepherds coming to visit, kings dropping by and leaving priceless gifts – she was not shocked when he started performing miracles.
Jesus’ first miracle – the turning of water into wine at the wedding at Cana – was engineered by Mary. She told the servants, “Do whatever he asks.” Then Jesus told the servants to fill the barrels with water and when they took them to the banquet they were the finest wine.
(This also proves that Jesus was the world’s first sommelier. Also, He really loves us. He could have made crap wine and it still would have been a miracle, but He made the BEST wine.)
Jesus made plenty of awesome perfect quotes. They are all conveniently transcribed in the Bible. Some versions even highlight the catchy sayings in red.
Why didn’t Bill O’Reilly use any of them?
Jesus healed lepers with a word and a touch. He didn’t act like He was with doctors without borders and give them a scrub, a hug and a “good luck.”
Ok, I understand that this film is focusing more on the historical back story of what was going on politically during Jesus’ ministry. But, there isn’t a whole lot of Jesus in this movie. There isn’t much at all about His ministry, and there is nothing about His love for people or His full knowledge that He was God.
When He asks the disciples who people say that He is, it is almost as is a He doesn’t know Himself! The portrayal of Jesus is not good, fellow Christians.
I understand poetic license, I really do. But, the Bible is filled with so much action and intrigue, you can really follow the script and come up with a very compelling film. (Note: Charlton Heston in a tailored loincloth) But, I find myself wanting to step away from the television in case lightning strikes. Jesus was writing on the ground while the “if you haven’t sinned , throw the first stone” story. Some scholars believe that while the angry mob was weighing stones to get a feel for their grip, Jesus was actually writing THEIR sins on the ground. We don’t know what He was writing, for sure. But, we do know that He knelt down and wrote on the ground. When He stood up, only the adulterous woman, Jesus and big old pile of stones was left. Everyone dropped their rocks and left.
Jesus was never confused. He knew exactly who He was, He obeyed God and He knew exactly why He spent 33 short years on earth. He was fully human and fully God. He suffered, He felt pain, but He never wavered in His mission. I mean, in this movie, Jesus acts surprised when Judas betrays Him! Jesus knew what Judas was up to – JESUS WAS GOD.
In this portrayal, Judas gives his 30 pieces of silver (that he earned by betraying Jesus) to a goat herder for a piece of rope. He uses the rope to hang himself. In the Bible, Judas gave the silver back in a fit of anguish. The “blood money” couldn’t be taken back into the treasury so it was used to buy a potter’s field.
By the morning following Jesus’ mock, unlawful, midnight trial, He was so bruised, weakened and beaten that He wouldn’t have been able to stand. He also had been disrobed. (Hey, isn’t an unlawful, midnight session of congress how we got Obamacare?)
One realistic thing has finally happened in this film. The whips that were used to flog Jesus had pieces of bone tied into the leather. Each crack of the whip literally tore flesh from bone. Few people can survive a flogging like that. In the Bible, Jesus fell when he was carrying His cross because he had been so weakened by his beatings. Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry the cross.
I am glad that the movie showed Jesus’ tomb being empty. But, in the Bible, the women go to the tomb alone. The movie ends with Peter getting a boat-sinking catch of fish and realizes that Jesus has returned. That is just nutty – after His death and resurrection – Jesus appeared to the disciples and many people numerous times. Everything that I have described can be corroborated in the best-selling page turner, the Bible.
Ok, I am a casserole-making, cookie-baking, pearl-wearing, kitten-heeled Christian and I am telling you, this movie wasn’t good. This will in no way affect my respect for the Talking Points memo, but I didn’t like this movie at all.
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