The ‘Killing Jesus’ Movie
by Wayne Spencer
from the March 2015 Creation Answers newsletter
Recently a best-selling book was published, written by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. A movie based on the book was just released on the National Geographic Television channel. I would recommend caution to Christians regarding the movie. There is much that I liked in the movie and the actor who portrays Jesus is a Muslim, which is interesting. I think he does a good job for the most part portraying Jesus but there are a couple of things in the movie I did not agree with. I have not read the book.
First, when Jesus first went to the Jordan river and met John the Baptist he seemed to not know that he was going to be the Messiah. And, when he was baptized there seemed to be no one present watching. John the Baptist and Jesus seemed to be alone in the river. This is clearly contrary to the gospels. Jesus knew he was the Son of God when he was 12 years old. Right before going to the Jordan river he was tempted by Satan, as the gospels present it, so he was deliberately beginning his ministry when he went to be baptized. This was how he was introduced to Israel, being baptized by John.
Secondly, the movie does not show that Jesus rose from the dead bodily. It has Peter fishing after Jesus’ death. Peter prays and this is followed by many fish coming into the net. So Peter concludes from this that “He’s back.” It is not acceptable to not show the risen Jesus. Jesus rose bodily. He appeared to a number of people over a 40 day period. When Peter encountered the risen Jesus while fishing, Peter was not praying. Jesus was on the bank of the river and called to Peter and the others in the boat. Jesus then cooked fish and bread for the men (see John 21). On another occasion, the risen Jesus ate fish in the presence of some of the disciples (Luke 24:42-43).
The movie has good aspects but it comes across to me as being somewhat incomplete. I rather liked the way it portrayed the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman rulers (Pilate and the Herods). But, it seems odd what was chosen to be left in and what was left out, in comparison to the gospels. There are also places where there are what I would call speculative details added that may or may not be true. I’m not too against this as long as it doesn’t contradict the gospels but it’s worth noting some details are different than the New Testament and different from other movies about Christ. There are many ways in which archeology and history confirm the historicity of the gospels in the New Testament. Thus I think a movie based more on the New Testament would be a better presentation about Christ and would be no less historical.
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