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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Killing Jesus?

             Easter is this Sunday, April 5.

For Christians, this specific date each spring is a time to remember the sacrifice of God’s son, Jesus, who loved us enough to become the sacrifice necessary to pay the price for our sin. It is a time for reflection. If God is real, then I must have some connection to him. Therefore, what are his expectations of me? What are the things I should expect from God? Easter is also a time of celebration. If Jesus actually is raised from the dead, then his promise to raise those who followed him by faith is true. We are eternal beings, meaning we’re going to spend eternity somewhere. The choices the Bible offers are heaven or hell. And you get to make the choice as to where. It’s all based upon your relationship with Jesus.  

On the other hand, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then there is no God, and we are all doomed to a soulless grave. The atheist will have been proven right that there is no God, and the evolutionists will no doubt have been correct in espousing that we are simply a cosmic biological accident. Obviously, as a man who made a very conscious decision to trust Christ as his Savior during my time in the Marine Corps, 1972, I categorically reject the atheist/evolutionist arguments against the existence of God.

So, tonight my wife and I watched the movie, “Killing Jesus,” taken from the book written by FOX newscaster/political commentator, Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly has done a series of books on the theme, “Killing (fill in the blank).” He is a former high school history and English teacher who has become a news celebrity with FOX.

O’Reilly is an avowed Catholic, and makes no bones about this on air. Perhaps this is why I was disappointed with the movie, “Killing Jesus.” Now, I understand that he was writing this book from an historical perspective, and not based upon the truths of the Christian faith. I got that.

But drawing on historical references means you often accept the testimony of people who may be the only written source for a given event. For instance, in our high school history class we learned that Julius Caesar, emperor of Rome 50BC, launched a series of military campaigns against various Gallic armies in what is today France and Belgium. These armies were soundly defeated which greatly expanded the Roman territory. However, we only have one source for this war – Caesar. No one else wrote about the events of this war. So historians accept one man’s account. That one man was the victor – Julius Caesar.

I mention this historical anomaly because major events, in particular the resurrection of Jesus, are nowhere presented in the movie. Yet hundreds are reported to have witnessed the resurrection. This is even affirmed by the historian Josephus not even 100 years following the resurrection.

Further, none of the miracles are shown, with the exception of a huge catch of fish. Even this was presented as an answer to prayer which was initiated by Jesus, who looked a bit surprised when the nets filled to bursting. Later, Jesus has an encounter with a woman and her son, both horribly infected by leprosy. Jesus has the woman sit in front of him while he unwraps her face, then he gently wipes her face filled with open sores. Again, no indication that he has healed the woman or her son.

But it comes back to the resurrection. We see him miserably treated by the Jewish officials and of course the Romans under Pontius Pilate. He is lead away to crucifixion. On the cross Jesus utters his final words, “It is finished.” It was about noon, and the Bible says, when the sky darkened as if it were night. In the movie? Nothing. Then a Roman soldier pierces Jesus’ side to determine death right after Jesus had spoken his last. Again the Bible says Jesus had been dead on the cross for some time before the Roman soldiers were sent to put all three of the crucified men to death because the Jewish Sabbath was to start in a few hours and it would be bad form to have these criminals hanging out there for all the world to see when religious ceremonies were to take place. That’s when the soldier realized Jesus had died. To confirm this, he shoved his spear into Jesus’ side up into the heart. If he wasn’t dead at that point he would have certainly reacted to the sword thrust.

Most telling in this is that after the heart stops beating, it takes time for the blood to separate into what we call fluid (water) and plasma. The fluid looks like murky water, and the plasma is the thick, sticky red blood substance. Think of vinegar and oil. It has to be constantly shaken to be mixed, otherwise it separates. The Bible says the fluid that ran out of Jesus’ wound was blood and water.

And lastly, there is no resurrection of Jesus portrayed in the movie.

In closing, listen to what the Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 15: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve (Disciples). After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep (died). Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

The movie certainly portrayed the killing of Jesus. They succeeded in that part of the story. But the real good news is that the story doesn’t end there.

Jesus has risen from the dead. And he’s coming back! Are you ready? You can be. Confess that you are a sinner and you will have eternal life with Jesus.

1 comment:

Al Wolter said...

Excellant review and it mirrors what I see too (of course it is about what I expected).

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