I come home from work at 10:00pm, and I microwave some leftovers for dinner. As soon as I turn to the table, the bowl falls out of my hand and directly onto the floor where it shatters into four or five large pieces. Fortunately, there were only two shards, so it was easy to clean up. Thus, I write without my dinner.
Between commercials during each episode, I have commented about the series on Facebook. Afterward, I use my comments as notes or an outline for my blog post. Each blog post is written after days of consideration. Originally, I wanted to make it immediate, but life issues delayed it until Thursday. Then, I realized it was much better to just wait.
The Pharisees claim to uphold a strict and ridged adherence to the Law, but they tend to break the Law when it serves their own self-interests. Even though the Pharisees have convicted Jesus of blasphemy, Caiaphas remains troubled about what to do with Him. The law is clear: stone him. However, he does not want to stone Jesus for fear of His supporters rioting. Pilate has the authority and power to kill Jesus; if the people protest and riot, they would be massacred. If Pilate kills Him, it would absolve him of guilt in eyes of the people. Furthermore, the people would be too terrified of a massacre to protest, so there would still be peace.
Caiaphas goes to Pilate and informs him of a dangerous criminal threatening Rome and Judaea. Pilate considers this the High Priest's problem and states bluntly, "then kill Him."
Caiaphas: it would make us impure for Passover.
Pilate: then kill Him after Passover.
However, Caiaphas insists this is urgent business. The situation here takes an interesting turn because both Caiaphas and Pilate are motivated by mutual self-interest and paranoia. Caiaphas is paranoid that Jesus's supporters will cause a riot and would result in Pilate massacring them during Passover among other things. This paranoia has no basis in reality. In the actual Bible, there is more information to prove this has no basis. Pilate is likewise motivated by paranoia. Believing the fears of a riot, Pilate decides to crucify Jesus or else Caesar might crucify him instead for failing to govern the Jews. Again, this has no basis in reality. But this is really interesting.
Most portrayals of Pilate feature him as a nice guy who genuinely wants to spare Jesus and who unintentionally prolongs His suffering. This version of Pontius Pilate is thoroughly wicked, hateful, bigoted, etc. This Pilate is definitely anti-Semitic in everything he does. This version is more proper and more suited to the time period, the Roman culture, and the events surrounding the crucifixion as well as scripture itself.
"There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." (Luke 13:1)
Jesus is the King of the Jews and the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, and all Christians are God's adopted Jews. The Old Testament holidays from Passover to Tabernacles prophecy Jesus. This is exactly why I prefer celebrating Passover instead of Easter. Anyway, because of all this, it is perfectly sensible and absolutely reasonable for the man who commands the crucifixion to be an immense anti-Semite. Jesus is the victim of anti-Semitic cruelty, and His Resurrection is the triumph over all the anti-Semites. Amen.
Pilate wants to go ahead and crucify Jesus, but his wife begs him to spare Jesus. At the imploring of his wife, Pilate decides to be 'merciful' to Jesus by first whipping him and then making the Jews choose between sparing Jesus or Barabbas. In the episode, all of Jesus's supporters are prevented from entering the area to defend Him. Caiaphas leads the crowd in sparing Barabbas. The cry of "crucify Him" comes from an anonymous member of the assembly. This seems to take Caiaphas by some surprise, but he is very silent and his expression is subdued. Pilate does not understand why the crowd wants to condemn an innocent man and spare a convicted murderer, but Pilate does not care anyway because to Pilate, one dead Jew is the same as another dead Jew. Caiaphas is silent.
I also like the portrayal of Caiaphas. This is the most sympathetic portrayal that I have seen. Although he is wicked and self-interested, he is noticeably less so than Pontius Pilate. Here, Caiaphas abandons all sense of honor and justice in condemning an innocent man to death. Unlike Pilate, Caiaphas has a sense of morality, but his moral compass is self-centered and expedient, using people as a means to an end. Caiaphas uses cruelty and deceit to prevent more cruelty.
In the Exodus story, eating the Passover lamb and spreading its blood over your entrance compels death to pass over you, thus granting you life and sparing you from the condemnation death sentence. Jesus is the Passover lamb sacrificed for death to pass over just, granting us eternal life and saving us from damnation.
The Last Supper is a Passover meal. When Jesus gave the unleavened bread, that symbol of sinless, and told the disciples "Take, eat; this is my body," and then He gave them the wine, "For this is My blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins," (Mathew 26:26-28) during that Passover meal He established just how that holiday had prophesied and represented Him. Allowing Jesus into your life and accepting the blood of His sacrifice provides your salvation just how the first Passover sacrifice saved the enslaved Israelites.
Repeatedly, Jesus is established as the Passover.
Jesus was sacrificed at Passover. Pilate took Him out during
the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" (John 19:14)
Preparation Day is the day that the lambs are chosen for the sacrifice. This is the day they decided to crucify Jesus.
"For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." (1 Corinthians 5:7)
In his 53rd chapter, the prophet Isaiah wrote of a man being led like a lamb to die for our sins. Revelations declares:
"Worthy is the lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelations 5:12)
On the way to the crucifixion, Jesus in the episode tells His mother, "with God all things are possible." The sentence comes from scripture, but not at the cross. Mathew 19:26. seven chapters before Passover/Last Supper. Overall, it took an hour for the episode to kill Jesus. By this point, I knew it would rush through Acts.
After the Resurrection, the episode began to feature things from the actual Bible that seldom - quite possibly never - have been seen on any video production. Jesus, risen from the grave, promises His disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fifty days pass. Seven is a sacred number among the Jews. 49 is especially so. And this is fifty - the day after holy completion. Fifty days after Passover is the Feast of Weeks, which became known as Pentecost. The Hebrew feasts always prophecy Jesus and God's plan for humanity. On this day, Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, the Apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly, there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then, there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
It was really awesome to see the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which had never been put into a video production. There are a few obvious differences. Mary Magdalene was shown among the Apostles; she was never a part of His inner circle of twelve. Another disciple named Mathias had been chosen to replace Judas. Instead, Stephen appeared.
Stephen belonged to a group of seven men who the twelve Apostles appointed to administer charity to Greek widows and to ensure their provisions (Acts 6:1-5). And he did have the indwelling Holy Spirit.
It is also pretty exciting to see Peter heal the lame man and to have 5000 turn to Christ. As far as I know, this has never been depicted in a video production. Except for large parts of dialogue missing, this scene remained very true to scripture.
In the episode, Paul instigates a crowd to stone Stephen to death. In scripture, Stephen was put on trial and found guilty of blasphemy. The episode portrays Paul as a random member of the crowd, vulgar, hateful, and arrogant. Caiaphas and Paul seem like two evil guys meeting together for the first time and working in collusion for their own self interest. In reality, Paul was like a grad student or a Pharisee intern. Paul of Tarsus was educated by the Pharisees, worked with the Pharisees, and became a Pharisee. Paul of Tarsus began to persecute the Christians with a specific zeal.
Despite some factual inaccuracies about Paul's background, this episode has the most violent, savage, and vicious portrayal I've ever seen. I actually love it. It makes his conversion all the more dramatic. By the time Paul is converted into an Apostle, there is not much else to the episode. James son of Zebedee is murdered, and the Apostles disperse to preach the gospel. James and John are finally named in this episode. I had thought they were absent entirely. Paul of Tarsus receives Luke instead of Barnabas as his traveling companion.
And that is pretty much it.