Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Bible Movie, brought to you by Wal-Mart

It's more than halfway through the series.  Should I share my thoughts on the Bible movie on History channel, or wait till it's over?  Obviously, I'm going to talk about it now because you are reading this.

When I hear of yet another Bible movie, I always know there are going to be inaccuracies.  I also wonder if they will treat Jesus as if he's our only God and Savior or if he will just be another great example of faith and morals and nothing more.

Turns out, History's production is exactly what I thought it would be.  Actually, it's better.  Roma Downey from Touched by an Angel is behind this project, and I remember liking the show despite the fact that they never talked about Jesus.  Never.  As with anything, you need to go to the book to get the real story.

The first two and a half episodes did a very fair job of presenting the Old Testament.  I know this from teaching Sunday school and trying to plan what all I will teach the kids.  You cannot cover everything.  In fact, you may not be able to cover much at all.  If I was to survey the Old Testament in 5 hours, I think that was the way to go.  They covered Abraham, Moses, David, they had an accurate creation story.  I'm glad they showed Jeremiah and the exile, which usually does not receive air time. 

Now they have started the story of Jesus.  Here is where the accuracy truly matters.  Again, you can't cover everything, but you must highlight anything in a narrative that shows Christ's deity and the Gospel.

There is the usual annoyance of how they present the Christmas story because they still have the shepherds and Magi there on the same night.  It was not that way.  Jesus was two and living in a house when the Magi came.  The shepherds were at the birth.  This is why Herod decreed that all the boys under the age of two would be killed. 

The first inaccuracy that really bothered me occurred when John the Baptist baptized Jesus.  This is core in our beliefs that God sent Jesus as God the Son to live our lives and die for our sins.  That means that he would make it obvious to the people that this is the guy.  When John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus like a dove and God the Father announced that this was his Son, in whom he is well pleased.  In the movie, that did not happen.  John baptized Jesus and that was it.  He's now in the desert being tempted.

This is not a mere inaccuracy.  This is a huge error.  This one of the rare places where we see all three members of the Trinity in all their glory.  This is what our whole faith is based on.  This is how the people knew Jesus was the one God sent.  People need to know that God did not reveal himself and his salvation to his people secretly.  He revealed the creation story to the early people and Moses finally wrote it down.  He revealed the good news and bad news.  He showed Abraham his crucifixion plan in the near sacrifice of Isaac and that is how Old Testament believers received the Gospel.  All of the Bible was written by people the Jews new were true prophets, and they could identify the source. 

In the same way, God sent Jesus to grow from a virgin's egg, which drew attention.  And God made it obvious at his Baptism that this was God the Son, the only one who will perfectly obey the Law, fulfill every promise, and give a perfect permanent sacrifice for those he will save.

Mostly, I'm glad I'm watching this series, and I'm glad Roma Downey and History have presented this.  Special mention should be made to Wal-Mart and Captain Morgan who sponsored it (not sure if I should laugh of cry).  I was more offended by the recent Narnia movies than I was by this project.  And as a Sunday School teacher I see this as a source for ideas and something I personally would like to continue but with more emphasis on the only thing that matters, Jesus and his Gospel.

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