Here’s what I would encourage all viewers of The Bible Part 4 to do. Read your Bible, and then read it again. And then, find a good Bible commentary, as well as a good mentor who has a solid foundation of the Scriptures and could help you better understand God’s Word.
There is SO much about this episode I found disappointing, somewhat frustrating and even confusing. And even with all this negativity, I did find a few bright moments.
I’m not going to list all the issues I had with this show. There are just too many. I will offer two big flaws, and then to balance it out, I will mention three positives from this show.
Flaw No. 1 – who was this Mary character? I’m not talking about Mary, Jesus’ mother, played by Roma Downey (by the way, she looked beautiful, even angelic or was touched by one). I’m talking about the Mary who went everywhere with the apostles and seemed to have too significant of a role in Jesus’ earthly ministry.
I’m guessing this is supposed to be Mary Magdalene, but I never heard directly in the show. If it were mentioned, it may have been during one of the many times I had to let my dog outside.
The mini-series is treading on dangerous grounds with this depiction. Nowhere in the Gospels can you find this woman having such a major part in the events that were featured.
According to this show, and contrary to the written Word, she took parts from Peter, John, Philip and maybe even others. This, my friends, is blasphemy.
What also makes this very troublesome is it yields to the false reports of Mary being the wife of Jesus. I don’t think I need to say any more.
Flaw No. 2 – The words of Jesus are cut short, or His actions apparently were not accurate. Much can be said about the actual manuscripts of the Bible. I don’t intend to go into that because I don’t have the credentials.
And I have said from the beginning, latitude would be allowed for some things, and offering a variance on what the characters say would be accepted if there isn’t blasphemy or a clear steering away from what is told in Scriptures in order to promote an alternative message.
I was disappointed while listening to the man playing the role of Jesus. His teachings did not line up accordingly or were misapplied. The scene with the adulterous woman brought by the Jewish leaders to be stoned portrayed Jesus inaccurately. For one, He was not shown writing in the dirt, but instead He is shown holding a rock, giving a dramatic speech.
This may seem petty, but I think it’s more powerful (and accurate) to show Jesus remaining calm, “stooping down and writing on the ground with His finger” (John 8:6). This error, however, is not as glaring as another one I noticed.
During the scene of the Last Supper, Jesus quotes John 14:6. Thankfully, they did get the exchange correct, involving Thomas asking the question and not Mary, the scene-stealer.
But Jesus’ response is clearly cut short: “I am the way, the truth and the life…”
I sat there waiting… waiting… waiting… Surely these great theologians who are advising Mark Burnett won’t allow this profound statement, crucial in expressing the Gospel message, to be stopped at mid-point. Alas, they did, and it was.
Dear friends, please understand, as important as it is for people to come to the understanding that Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life, it is equally important for them to know that “No one comes to the Father except through Me (Jesus).” This is the greatest disappointment of the whole mini-series.
So there are negatives. Here are some positives I took from the show.
First, I enjoyed watching Jesus heal the leper. Visual effects were spectacular. The leper’s face was so grossly deformed, he resembled the Elephant man. Yet, we get to view a great reenactment of his healing.
Second, I enjoyed the scene of Nicodemus and Jesus talking at night. This is one of my favorite stories featured in the Gospels. Everyone should read John 3 and study this exchange between an educated man who is revered as a community leader and the Son of God. Most importantly, everyone should learn that from this inconspicuous conversation originates the greatest message ever given to mankind (John 3:16).
Lastly, the final positive did not come directly from the show but from hearing of those who watched. My cousin Mauri posted on Facebook a discussion she had with her young son, Silas. “Mommy, did Jesus WANT to die on the cross?” he asked after watching this show.
Mauri said Jesus wanted what his Father wanted more than what He wanted. He wanted to sacrifice His life so that others, including Silas, would have eternal life.
Even with the blasphemy displayed in this show, the Gospel message can still ring true.
“What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice” (Phil. 1:18).