Jesus’ mission begins.
Last night’s episode of The Bible picked up where we left off last week. After Jesus had chosen Peter to follow Him. Jesus’ earthly ministry has begun, and it shows Him going from town to town healing the sick, and talking about the Kingdom of Heaven. As Jesus recruits the tax collector, Matthew, to follow Him, the pharisees continue to try and trip Him up as being blasphemous.
After Jesus chooses Matthew to be a disciple, he is seen by the other follower’s of Jesus to be a person with whom they don’t wish to associate. He is, after all, a tax collector! Mary Magdalene says, “He (Jesus) came for the sinners. God gives second chances, and so should we”. Obviously this statement was added to speak to all of us about our sometimes unfair and off the cuff judgements towards others. Do we, like Jesus, give others a second chance?
Jesus gives a very abridged version of the sermon on the Mount and then when a crowd of 5000 comes to hear him speak, we witness the miracle of the fish and loaves. He tells the crowd, “Put God first, and everything else will follow. Ask, and it will be given.”
In last night’s episode, we see Jesus do many miracles. He heals the sick, the lame and raises Lazarus from the dead, saying, “I am the Resurrection and the Light. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
Jesus discusses with Nicodemus that a person must be “born again” not in the flesh, but in the spirit, to see the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus also tells Nicodemus, “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
Jesus and his disciples share their last meal, and Jesus breaks bread and and shares wine with them, telling them that the bread represents His body and the wine, His blood. The series doesn’t go into the fact that this is the symbol of the New Covenant, and I truly wished they had.
When Pontius Pilate worries that the Jews, many of whom believe Jesus to be the Messiah, will cause riots during the time of Passover. He tells Ciaphas that if there is an uproar, he will cancel Passover and close the Temple. Ciaphas, who believes Jesus to be nothing more than a blasphemer, has him arrested…with a little help from the disciple Judas.
Before Jesus is arrested, we see him praying in the Garden of Gethsemene. He asks that his disciples pray with him. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. “ He tells them. He has earlier already told them that he would be tried, convicted and put to death. While Jesus is praying, Judas comes, kisses Him on the cheek, and is then arrested.
Satan makes another appearance, this time after Judas betrays Jesus, we see him standing in the background as Judas runs off. Personally, I think this was an important addition. The imagery of the sin Judas committed is sometimes overlooked as simply being the role Judas was born to play. In reality, Judas always had a choice. Satan whispered into his ear, like he does ours. Judas chose to betray Jesus, and in doing so chose to listen to the temptation of Satan.
There have been a lot of people who can find many flaws in this production of The Bible. I agree, it is not perfect. It takes a bit from each Gospel, and leaves a lot out which we Christians want to see. But the thing that I personally feel it is accomplishing, is that it is showing there is a connection from the Old Testament’s fall of man, and needing a redeemer, to the Good News of Jesus, the promised Messiah. The Jews, much like most of us, were so myopic in their idea of what the Messiah would do for them…for the world. Jesus speaks about being delivered into the Kingdom of God, but they can only see the tyranny of Rome. This series has done a beautiful job in showing us the desire God has for us to be reconciled to Him because He loves us.
During this Holy Week it is a perfect time to contemplate what your relationship with God is really based upon. Read the Gospel. Reacquaint yourself with Jesus, the Messiah– the sinless lamb–who died in your place to cover your sin. Who rose from the dead, to give you hope that you too will never die, but share eternity with Him. It is a good opportunity to reflect on salvation, grace, and the truest love that ever was.
Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributing writer/blogger to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She has been a homeschooling mom of two, who works independently in Christian media in the areas of writing, promotions and marketing. She lives with her husband and children in Nashville,TN. Follow her personal blog posts on Talking Like A Girl.