The Bible Part 3 had some satisfactory elements. Okay, I admit it. I was disappointed they didn’t start off with Solomon, as I predicted last week.
Solomon is one of many Bible characters who fascinate me, and I think it would help modern minds to know there actually was someone on the earth who was worth more than Bill Gates. Alas, they chose to go a different direction.
The show began with an Old Testament character I did not know very well. They didn’t teach King Zedekiah in my childhood Sunday School classes, as far as I can remember. So, I did what this mini-series is enticing viewers to do. I got out my Bible and read up on the Zedster.
It was an interesting portrayal that wove stories involving Jeremiah and Daniel. There were some inaccuracies presented. Jeremiah’s part seems correct. The prophet did prophesy that Babylon would conquer Judah, but it was interesting watching Jeremiah walk into the king’s court placed in stocks. Daniel, however, was not placed in captivity during Zedekiah’s reign, and Daniel was not known as Daniel while he was in Judah.
I expected King Nebuchadnezzar to be a crazy man. The actor did not disappoint. However, when he threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace, it wasn’t very fiery. I was disappointed that they didn’t show the king ordering the furnace to be “seven times” hotter, and men who were in charge of throwing the trio in the fire did not die from the raging flames (Dan. 3:19, 22).
From Daniel, we move to the focus on Jesus. The traditional Christmas story and all its subplots were expressed. Joseph and Mary… King Herod and Wise Men… Shepherds, angelic messengers… mostly the details as we traditionally are presented with, though I am confident nit-pickers could have a field day with the details.
There were some violent scenes that involved Romans crucifying Jews who attempted to rebel. This was powerful. When Joseph and Mary were returning from Egypt they noticed the many crucifixions on the hills as they passed. Of course, there is no mention of this, but history recounts that death by crucifixion was plenteous in that day. This helps viewers understand this dreadful fact.
One of the things shown that I do applaud was the portrayal of John the Baptist baptizing people by immersion. The Southern Baptist in me almost made me jump up from my recliner and pump the air!
The temptation of Jesus was interesting. The Devil speaks with a Hispanic accent and has long black finger nails. He also could double as a Sith Lord.
As the Devil is tempting Jesus, we see visions that Christ has that involve allurement, but then we also see visions of His eventual crucifixion. This is a fascinating depiction, basically trying to imagine what Christ may have been thinking during this ordeal.
The show’s final scene has Jesus encountering Peter alone in his boat. Andrew was not with him, but Jesus has Peter go out to fish, and they experience the catching of fish in abundance. Jesus tells Peter he will make him a fisher of men, and then Peter asks Jesus, “What are we going to do?”
The actor portraying Jesus responds, “Change the world.” Of course, there’s no reference of this exchange in the Scriptures. I suppose in one sense, Jesus does indeed invoke life-changing experiences during his earthly ministry, but the producers should have stuck to the Biblical script.
The question from here would be will the mini-series give the direct process of how Jesus changed the world. For that, we will have to tune in and see.
P.S. I recognize The Bible is drawing wide praise and criticism. I think it is important to note the History Channel is the one putting this on. The History Channel, who normally airs opinions of higher critics and secular scholars who criticize the Bible, is attempting to portray the Biblical story, albeit a “Hollywood-ized” version. Be that as it may, I am glad many in America are having their interest in the Bible piqued through the series, and, as I have already alluded, Christians are being challenged to compare its portrayal versus the actual sacred text.