Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

19Jun/130

Review: The Bible Miniseries

the bible miniseries

It’s no secret that the Bible has a lot to say—more than can be told in a movie, taught in a sermon series, or acquired in a lifetime of learning. God’s grand literary masterpiece, a collection of 66 books by 40 different authors is deep—and yet it has an epic, unifying message that the whole world needs to hear and understand. I am so pleased that despite all the criticism that the world brings to anyone attempting the task, Mark Burnett and ___ have been willing to use their gifts and influence to bring that grand story to the screen in their way. We need more people willing to portray the story using their unique perspective and understanding.

Here begins a short interaction of my likes and dislikes, respectfully submitted for others to consider.

 

 Likes:

I love the way Jesus attracts people. He carries a kind, smiling attitude that I love. He speaks the appropriate words for the situation. And He touches the heart, not just the head, when He approaches people like Peter and Matthew to invite them as followers. I will treasure that portrayal of Jesus for a long time. That’s the way I feel He approached me too, in my initial encounters with Him.

I love that many of the characters the series portrayed are NOT as I had imagined them: Sampson, Saul, and Pilate. That’s challenging to me. Did I get it wrong? Did they get it wrong? I think they got a lot right…I’m pretty certain Sampson was portrayed wrongly, but man, I have enjoyed watching these characters in action and being reminded how human they really are. How limited and haunted they are by the social pressures around them.

I love the way the political pressure of Rome and their disruption of worship causes the Jewish leaders to get rid of Jesus. They were truly trying to protect the people to some degree—and prevent a violent backlash from Rome. Too often I forget that, and think that they were simply greedy and power-hungry. In the end it was a lot of all those motives, not just one or the other. And that’s sin’s undoing. It won’t throw one good reason at us for doing wrong, it tries to stack them up.

I appreciation the adult themes of this series. So often our portrayals of the Bible are set for children. We needed a series that gave the Bible the grit and blood of the real world. I love the bloodiness of the sacrifices, the battles, and the passion. God’s story is a serious one, and our sin has made this world messy. I’m glad to see God’s work portrayed in the midst of our broken world.

 

 

Dislikes:

Jesus said some challenging things to those who knew better than they acted—he occasionally drove the religious leaders off with a righteous anger, not simply overturning a few tables in the temple, but actually threatening the money changers with a whip. Not simply telling a small girl laughingly that the temple would be destroyed, but weeping over the city’s rejection of him, cursing a tree that does not bear fruit, and speaking of the terrible judgment to come. That Jesus has some crucial points to make, and many need to hear the harshness of the call to discipleship that He calls us to. And hear the harshness of the judgment that awaits those who mislead people with their prideful knowledge of religions facts and practices.

I wish we had seen Jesus family during his ministry years. Though Mary was a key character in the story, I would have loved to see Jesus’ brothers and sisters around her as he suffered. To see James, Jesus brother and future leader of the church as his brother passed away.

A wish a few scenes had been a little more accurate. I know that this portrayal of Jesus requires some stories to be combined, and as many times as I dislike the combination of two scenes, I like it too. I appreciation Jesus’ calling of Matthew being mixed with portions of his teaching. But I wish the woman who traveled with the disciples would have been Peter’s wife. I wish the shepherds would have heard Jesus’ birth announced by a miriad of angels. I wish I could have seen the Jewish revivals in the time of Hezekiah or J____. And I wish I could have seen the pillar of God’s glory resting over the tabernacle, and eventually the first temple of Solomon.

The scale of the Bible’s numbers and the nation of Israel is immense, and unfortunately the movie has to portray battles and the Exodus with people in the hundreds, rather than a nation in the millions. I would have loved to see a million people passing through the Red Sea, and a million entering the promised land. Alas, the camera lens is too small and the budget too tight at times.

 

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