Jesus, His Life – Episode 4: Caiaphas: The Raising of Lazarus

Each part of this film series is more difficult to watch. Although spurred on in my quest to answer the question “Where’s the gospel?”, my hopes are dwindling that it will make an appearance. We have yet to be presented the good news that Christ died for the sins of men. So, onward we go.

The Caiaphas episode revolves around the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas’ attempt to assess the threat Jesus poses to the status quo. Some commentators appear to be sympathetic to Caiaphas, as we will see. Note that much, if not most of this episode is taken from the Gospel of John

Once again, the same format is used, but this time we are provided Caiaphas’ possible thoughts and emotions about Jesus. I won’t give you all the names of all of the commentators, but try and provide an accurate account of what transpired in the film. I will try and not correct the narrative this time, but instead challenge you to examine scripture yourselves.

We are told that Caiaphas, High Priest 18 – 36 A.D., is extremely important, because without him Jesus cannot be arrested.

We begin with the Feast of Tabernacles. Thousands of people are gathered in Jerusalem for the occasion and Caiaphas is the ‘star’ of the festival as he presides over the activities. At one point he is standing on a balcony, pouring life giving water out of a pitcher onto plants below as some sort of ritual. Jesus appears and disrupts the ceremony by speaking: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

The commentator tells us that Jesus is really saying that “Rituals aren’t important, I’m the only one that can bring eternal life.”

We are treated to a short history lesson about the Romans having granted Jewish High Priests quite a bit of power, which is true, but Pilate was ‘large and in charge’. Pilate and Caiaphas talk about the previous Feast and Caiaphas tells Pilate that things are still peaceful, but he knows how quickly things can change.

Flash back several years earlier when Pilate wanted to build an aqueduct using funds from the Temple. An uprising ensued  that the Romans forcefully put down. Caiaphas is worried another such revolt and the Romans again reacting with violence toward the Jews. This fear naturally affects the way he views Jesus.

We travel to Bethany, about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem. Bethany is a place where Jesus can experience normal daily living. Bethany is also the home of Mary and Marths, the sisters of Lazarus, who had a very close relationship with Jesus. While there, Jesus also teaches the people. We see Jesus teaching about the good Samaritan. We are also told that Mary and Martha travelled with Jesus as he travelled; female disciples with the same status as the other disciples.

The fact that Jesus and Lazarus are such close friends tells us that Jesus had friends outside of his closest disciples, demonstrating Jesus’ humanity,

We head back to Jerusalem and Caiaphas fear of Jesus’ healing miracles causing trouble and maybe even Roman violence. Caiaphas is, after all, most concerned with the welfare of the Jewish people and being allowed to practice Jewish religion.

Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and this time heals the man born blind, on the Sabbath, a really big no-no. The story presented in the film is accurate, including the man’s parents being brought in before Jewish leaders to confirm their son was born blind, as well as the healed man saying “All I know is that I was blind, but now I see.”

Caiaphas thoughts at the time: “If so many people can fall for Jesus’ tricks, how can I ignore him?” He KNOWS Jesus is dangerous. He cannot ignore him, especially when Jesus goes to the Temple.

We then see Jesus confronted by the Pharisees who ‘legitimately’ question his identity as the Son of God.  Jesus tells them “My sheep know me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish.” (John 6). Jesus tells the Pharisees that he and the Father are One. They pick up rocks to stone Jesus, but he escapes through the streets of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, we return to Caiaphas and his fears about Jesus. Caiaphas remembers another time, years ago, when he was just a child, another revolt that was crushed by the Romans and 2,000 Jews were crucified (this was mentioned in an earlier episode also). After all, Caiaphas is the defender of the Jewish faith and Jewish people (a common thread of this episode.

Jesus and his disciples have escaped to the ‘other side of the Jordan’, where John had baptized. At the same time, Lazarus becomes very sick at his home with Mary and Martha in Bethany. A messenger is sent to summon Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus is conflicted about what to do, but remains by the Jordan. Lazarus dies and by the time Jesus gets to Bethany, he has been dead four days and has been lying in a tomb, wrapped in linen, as was customary in Jesus time.

We know the story. Jesus shows up and confronts both Martha and Mary, in that order. Martha is angry Jesus did not come sooner. Jesus says Lazarus will live and Martha thinks Jesus is talking about the final resurrection. gives her a lesson about the final resurrection. Jesus tells her that he is the resurrection and the life and that the one who believes in him, though he dies, yet shall he live. He asks Martha “Do you believe this?” Martha confesses that she believes he is the Messiah, the Son of God.

Jesus goes to Mary and responds in a very human manner. Jesus weeps over the death of Lazarus and knowing the pain of Mary. Mary takes Jesus to the tomb. To Mary and Martha’s surprise Jesus tells Lazarus to come out of the tomb (but not with the loud voice spoken of in John’s Gospel). The crowd (Mary & Martha included) were stupefied,

A commentator tells us that Jewish theology would have believed the since Lazarus died and had laid there four days, it was what God ordained. Therefore Jesus was overturning what God ordained, which ways that maybe Jesus’ claims to be the Don of god were believable. This was an enormous threat to the religious establishment.

Spies are sent to Bethany to watch Jesus and find out what his intentions are. After all Jesus threatened the religious establishment in Jerusalem. Malchus, whose ear was cut off in the Garden was among them. If fat, Malchus has appeared throughout the series, having been a servant of Caiaphas.

It was this miracle that convinced Jewish religious leaders that Jesus was a real problem and must be dealt with. This is a major shift and places Jesus on a trajectory of death.

We see Malchus watching Jesus in the crowd at Bethany, wondering how Jesus raised Lararus miracles. Malchus muses: “After all he is not a sorcerer, but just a man, a man made of flesh and blood, and I must not be frightened of him.”

Malchus slips through the crown and returns to Jerusalem to report to Caiaphas. From that day on, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin try and come up with a way to deal with Jesus. There are arguments, but in the end, Caiaphas makes the hard call to get rid of Jesus. There is the risk of another revolt and to silence one man is not too much of a risk to preserve the religious establishment and the Jewish nation.

The End

Dan’s Final Comments:

There is a lot I could say, but as I said, I challenge to the reader is to investigate for themselves. This isn’t because I’m lazy, I just know that interested believers, when they search the scripture for themselves, come away tremendously enriched for having done do!

I will mention something that was omitted from this episode that I think was a tremendously significant part of the final discussions between Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. We find in John’s account an actual God given prophesy made by Caiaphas about Jesus, while they were plotting to kill Jesus:

47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (John 11:47-52)

This prophecy is clearly about Jesus dying for the sins of the Jews and not only the Jews, but for Gentiles also – ALL of the true children of God everywhere.

On one hand I am personally upset this was omitted, but on the other hand, it fits perfectly with the social justice narrative we have seen, as opposed to Jesus dying for the sins of people, not their earthly welfare. The ‘social justice’ theme is intact.

Next up: Judas: The Betrayal

 

 

Jesus, His Life – Episode 3: Mary, The First Miracles

After the second episode, I wasn’t sure I would watch another one. On the other hand, I am still hoping to see the Gospel message clearly articulated in anything coming out of the entertainment industry, and specifically the ‘Christian’ entertainment sector. So I watched it, but didn’t review it in as much detail as Episode 2 (detailing time-stamps and the identity of all of the commentators).

This post will describe some events in the film, along with personal observations. Personal comments will again be italicized. We will address the “Where was the gospel?” question at the end.

The episode began with the same intro as the first two, including Pastor Joel. The remaining episodes will probably begin the same way.

Just as the second episode was told from the perspective of John and what he might have thought, this episode is told from Mary’s perspective. And also like the last episode with John, some of the thoughts of Mary can be considered ‘reasonable’ speculation, but others not so much.

Some of the commentators in this episode are the same ones from previous episodes, but there are more women commentators that in the first two episodes, I assume to add credibility to the commentator side of things – women talking about a woman.

Throughout the film, one thing is consistent. Mary always knew that God had a special plan for her son, which is a reasonable assumption. At times however, she seemed to be more certain than Jesus, who was also trying to determine what it was.

·         At the beginning of Mary’s narration we are told that Mary always knew God had a special plan for Jesus that she (Mary) longed for but also feared.

·         The first miracle – Jesus changes water into wine

o   At the wedding at Cana, when Jesus and a few followers made their appearance Mary said that Jesus “was somehow different, happy, surrounded by friends, a man with a new purpose”.

o   Mary of course realized that it was a good time for Jesus to make a statement about his ministry. When she tells Jesus that the wine has run out, she is encouraging him to embrace ‘who he is’.

o   Jesus tells the servants to fill the empty jars with water and draw some out. At the moment the water is turned into wine, Jesus is facing heavenward with closed eyes and there is some sudden wind.

o   Mary tells Jesus “This is your time; the people need you.”

During the film, Jesus is at Mary’s home along with his brothers and there is tension between Jesus and his brothers – all reasonable. When not at home, Jesus is traveling around preaching and performing miracles.

The Sermons on the Mount is shown (same scene as in the last episode). We are told by a commentator it is the most important speech Jesus made in all of his ministry because it threatened the establishment/ruling class. (Was it? We report, you decide.).

We Jesus healing a man with a withered hand, ticking off the Pharisees, who were part of the establishment Jesus was taking on.

Jesus goes to Capernaum to really begin his ministry (according to a commentator) of preaching and performing miracles. We see Jesus healing a demon possessed man and looking a bit like Benny Hinn, pressing forcefully down on the man’s forehead.

We are told by a commentator that Jesus’ ministry was to those “who had their backs against the wall, the marginalized, disenfranchised, and forgotten by society.” (Social justice, anyone?)

Jesus’ work and ministry threatened his family, we are told, which was probably true. At one point, Mary and his brothers travel to where Jesus is ministering, wanting to stop him – perform an ‘intervention’. (If Mary knew Jesus’ calling, why would she want to stop him?).

One commentator said “The gospel accounts aren’t very fair to the Pharisees.” (If God inspired all of Scripture, how could they NOT be fair?)

We are shown the scene where Jesus is told his Mother and brothers are there and Jesus telling the crowd exactly who his real mother and brothers and sisters. A commentator tells us that Jesus is saying, in effect, that “Traditional families don’t matter. What matters is this new family, this new kingdom discipleship of following me.” (I can’t picture Jesus saying traditional families just ‘don’t matter.)

Near the end, Mary tells Jesus’ brothers that they will one day understand Jesus’ ministry. (which they did, after the resurrection).

The final scene has Jesus telling his disciples that they are “going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priest and scribes, and they will condemn him to death.” The disciples were silent and we are told that Jesus had finally reconciled his fate. (Did it really take that long?)

Final comments about Mary were offered. We are told that Mary knew Jesus was special. She was also a typical mother, but with a ‘spiritual’ understand of who Jesus was. To Jesus, Mary was his source of life, his point of creation, his inspiration.

The End.

Dan’s miscellaneous comments:

While we told throughout that Mary understood Jesus’ mission, we are never told that his mission was to “save his people from their sins”, as the angel told Joseph, something that, in my opinion, should have been in the first episode about the Nativity, but wasn’t.

We are led to believe that Jesus main mission for coming to Earth was to minister to people with “backs against the wall, the marginalized, disenfranchised, and forgotten by society.” This is exactly the mission of the liberals preaching the social gospel at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as today’s social justice warriors that tell us that we don’t even know what the gospel is if we aren’t trying to cure what ails society. I think we are told otherwise in scripture:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Needless to say, there was no clear presentation of the gospel message that Christ came to die for the sins of His people, To have done so would have contradicted the clearly presented message that Christ died to usher in ‘social justice’, which does seem to be the theme of this series. How sad…………

Jesus, His Life, Part 2–John the Baptist: The Mission

This is post is a review of the second episode of the History Channel miniseries Jesus, His Life. Called Pastor Gabe Hughes wrote a good review of the first episode of the History Channel miniseries, which you can read at his blog here, or at my blog here. That review suggested that the gospel message about Christ’s death for the sins of his people would be left out, and that the message of the gospel would be presented as ‘saving the world”. Episode 2 confirmed Pastor Gabe’s suspicions.

To be clear, reviewing the second episode in the same manner as Pastor Gabe, with ‘time stamps’ indicating exactly where certain things were said in the film or taught by commentators was both time consuming and difficult, especially when the film needed rewinding to capture exactly what was being said or taught. I did not watch it, or review it with hostile intent, but in order to be able to intelligently discuss it and point out areas that didn’t seem to be faithful to the Biblical account.

Having said all that, here is what I observed concerning John the Baptist: The Mission, with ‘time stamps’ and an occasional personal comment.

This episode began with some of the same footage as the first episode, and included comments from various Christian personalities. Probably the most notable (popular) evangelical would be Joel Osteen, who also was the executive producer of the series. That in itself is in indicator of sorts. If you wonder why I said that, just ask me.

Much of the story is told from the point of view of John the Baptist himself – what he might have been thinking during his relationship with Jesus. The operative term here is ‘might’. Keep that in mind.

Dan’s Observations & Comments, in chronological order, with approximate time stamps:

3:50 – Dr. Robert Cargill (University of Iowa) suggests that “John the Baptist came preaching fiery sermons about what we would call social justice.”

4:35 – During scenes depicting John’s activities at the Jordan River, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III (Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ) suggested that John was baptizing people for a ‘renewal moment’ and has John telling those being baptized “You are reborn!” (baptismal regeneration?) He also suggests that what is being washed away is “that which is old”

4:57 – Dr. Adam Marshack (Author of The Many Faces of Herod the Great)) tells us “John’s message is simple; repent of your sins, receive Baptism, receive purification, and you will be saved.” (baptismal regeneration confirmed?)

6:15 – Jesus’ first appearance at the Jordan River. John narrates and tells us that he thought his mission was to find Jesus, but instead Jesus found him. (not in the text of scripture?)

7:05 – Jesus and John are seen walking along the Jordan passing our food (fruit). (Initially we see John passing out food and Jesus watching and later Jesus passing out food and looking back at John?)

Professor Mark Goodacre (Duke University) interjects that while the gospels make it seem like the relationship between Jesus and John was brief, but in reality, it lasted much longer. They spent a lot of time together learning from one another and becoming part of the same group. (pure speculation?)

FR James Martin (Jesuit Priest) adds that for a time Jesus was one of John’s disciples. John was both a friend and mentor to Jesus, but in the end the student (Jesus) became the teacher and the teacher (John) a student. (Where is this in scripture?)

11:05 FR Martin asks the question “Why is sinless Jesus wanting to be baptized? In FR Martin’s mind Jesus wanted to start His ministry in a dramatic and public manner. (more speculation?)

11:51 – Dr. Cargill offers that Jesus realized he needed to do what he saw John doing. Jesus says “I’ve got to take an unpopular message to the people, even if it kills me.” (Really?)

13:06 – FR Martin (I think) tells us that Jesus (standing in the Jordan looking sort of puzzled) realizes who he is for the first time. Jesus finally realizes God’s plan for his life and surrenders to it. (Didn’t Jesus tell his earthly parents, when he was 12, “I must be about my Father’s business?) Jesus then stumbles out of the water.

Jesus heads to the desert and at @16:28 Satan shows up. Simon Sebag Montefiore (Author & Historian) provides commentary concerning the 3 temptations. The temptations are presented adequately, however Jesus saying “It is written.” after each temptation is omitted. Mr Sebag does include Jesus saying “Do not test the Lord my God.” It’s suggested that when Satan told Jesus “Worship me”. he was referring to the Roman Emperor. (?)

We now return to John’s story .

18:00 – Dr. Cargill says that after Jesus baptism John decided to “up his game” and take on political leaders. He heads to Galilee and publicly calls out Herod Antipas, The account of the rest of John’s life and execution seem to be accurate. What is embellished a bit is the visit of ‘Andrew’ to John in prison. I don’t believe scripture tells exactly who visited John in prison, only that John sent some of his follower to ask Jesus “Are you the one?” and Jesus sent a couple of his disciples to the prison to tell John what they had “seen and heard”

24:50 – Andrew visits John in Prison. We see bits of conversation between Andrew and John, with ‘flashbacks’ to what Andrew describes to John. Andrew tells John that a great Prophet has arisen.

At the same time, we are shown what Jesus was up to after the arrest of John.

25:14 Dr. Cargill tells us “After John is arrested, Jesus basically picks up the baton and runs with it. . . Jesus says to himself “This is My time.”” There is a scene of Jesus preaching the sermon on the mount to a small group under a tree. (borrowed from another film?)

26:16 – Jesus goes back to Galilee and recruits some of John’s disciples to be his own.

27:00 – We see Jesus and the great catch of fish when Jesus told them to cast on the other side of the boat, after an unsuccessful night.

31:00 – FR Martin says it was probably hard for John to let go of his own ministry. Back at the prison, it seems Andrew had left for a time, came back and told John of miracles performed by the Apostles. We see a scene of Andrew healing a sick person.

32:23 – Dr. Cargill talks about the needs of taking care of the poor, the widows, orphans, and the disenfranchised. (The mission of the Messiah that John needs to rethink?)

32:45 – Back to the prison. John realizes Jesus must become greater and he (John) must become less, because Jesus is doing work no one has ever seen.(we are not told in the Bible when John realized Jesus was the Messiah.).

Miscellaneous comments in summary:

Dr. Cargill doesn’t think John wanted to die and that he was actually afraid and sad. However John did understand his role in the life of Jesus.

Joshua Dubois (former faith advisor to President Obama) talked about understanding the profundity of the upcoming sacrifice and that John and Jesus were n the verge of a moment that would ‘change the world’. (Did Jesus die to save sinners, or the “World”?).

Back to the execution of John. The sword is about to drop for the beheading. John asks himself “Did I do enough? I hope so.” The sword drops and John’s head is delivered to Herod, Herodias and Salome in the banquet hall.

FR Martin reiterates that John was Jesus’ mentor and friend, and that Jesus would miss him at a very important time in his life.

Switch to Andrew, with a small group of disciples, saying to Jesus “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his followers to pray.” (See Luke 11:1. This happened, but the passage just says ‘one of disciples’ said that to him. Andrew was similarly named in other places on the film.)

Dan’s final comments:

1. There was much added to the film that is not in the record of scripture, which is the character and tendency of other Biblical films. You could say it’s a cinematic necessity in order to attract viewers and generate income. Some of the speculative additions are reasonable, but others seem silly to most biblically literate movie goers.

2. There are places in the above set of observations where I would have found it easy to biblically refute the action in the film, complete with scripture references. I deliberately chose NOT to comment so that I could not be accused of just sharing my opinion. That often happens when some readers find it repugnant that anyone say anything negative about a ‘Jesus’ film.

3. Where I did insert personal comments (italicized) I included question marks “?” so I wouldn’t appear dogmatic, and to encourage readers to compare the film with scripture on their own.

I sincerely hope this review has been helpful.

P.S. I WILL say with confidence that the only time I heard anyone say anything about the issue of “sin”, which is central to the message of the gospel, was when one of the film’s commentators told us that repentance from sins was necessary for salvation (correct), but water baptism was also necessary FOR salvation. I must therefore conclude, with Pastor Gabe, that the series will probably never offer a clear presentation of the gospel message. What we will be taught is that Jesus died to ‘change the world’

A Review of Jesus: His Life (Part 1)

March 27, 2019 – Pastor Gabe Hughes

This is a Review of the first episode of Jesus: His Life by Pastor Gabe Hughes of Junction City Kansas, which he posted on his blog here. I read the article and then watched it myself. I found that this to be a highly credible article concerning the production. There is one thing he did not mention that I noticed at the end of his article. Without further comment, here is Pastor Gabe’s review.

Each Monday leading up to holy week, the History Channel is airing a docu-series called Jesus: His Life. The show awkwardly mixes in dramatic reenactments of the story of Jesus with commentary from an assemblage of (mostly liberal) Bible scholars.

The trailer to the show says that this is the life of Christ “told through the eyes of those who knew Him best.” History has never done very well with the story of Jesus. Their mini-series The Bible (more accurately termed The Bobble) was terrible. In addition to biblical inaccuracies, it just wasn’t entertaining. Jesus: His Life is equally dull. The mix of drama with commentary doesn’t work. The thematic scenes fail to be captivating, and the theotwits do not add any life to the program.

Given that the show is flat and fallacious, I don’t know why you’d want to bother with it enough to even read my review. But I offer this up anyway! The following is a play-by-play of the first episode, examining the life of Jesus though the eyes of Joseph. The time stamps are according to the video stream I watched on History’s website, sans commercial breaks. And away we go!

1:00 — Oh, hello Joel. Yup, Joel Osteen is the executive producer of this little number, so he’s one of the “experts” who will be popping up every now and then.

2:00 — The introduction is very “This is the story of how Jesus changed the world.” This is not going to be about how Jesus was sent by God and died as an atoning sacrifice for those who will believe in Him. This is going to be about how Jesus bucked the status quo and brought about a revolution of social change. This show will not present the gospel. Phrases like “Savior of the world” might come up, but they’ll never be explained. They’ll be framed in a social context, not a gospel one.

6:30 — Aside from some questionable theotwits, the information so far has been factual for the most part.

7:45 — (Edit) There’s a line I totally missed and someone pointed it out to me. When Gabriel appears to Mary, he says, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God. If you choose to accept His plan, you will conceive in your womb and give birth a son.” Not only does this make the announcement to Mary staunchly Arminian, it’s also pro-choice! Mary got to choose to have a baby. In Luke 1:31-32, Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.”

9:00 — Mary asks Gabriel, “Why has He chosen me?” Gabriel replies, “You are pure of heart and soul.” According to the story in Luke 1, Mary did not ask that question, nor was Mary told that the reason she was chosen. Gabriel said to her, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” When Mary was troubled, Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” She was favored because God chose her, not because she merited worthiness.

9:30 — James Martin says, “Notice that when she says yes to the angel, she doesn’t ask her husband or her father. She says it on her own. So this is a very strong woman.” The feminism is strong with this one.

11:00 — Dr. Otis Moss III says, “When Mary says, ‘I’m pregnant, and you’re not the father,’ Joseph probably reacted in a typical male fashion. That’s why I love the story because it does not sugar-coat it as making Joseph holier than thou.” That’s why you love the story? Because of your own conjecture? Not because it’s about the birth of the Savior of the world? The show then portrays Joseph losing his temper, breaking stuff apart and throwing it around the house he had been building for him and Mary.

13:00 — Several teachers are cited as saying that if Joseph outs Mary publicly as having sex outside of wedlock, she could be killed under Jewish law. “Adultery is a crime punishable by death,” according to Dr. Robert Cargill. That’s true (Deuteronomy 22:20-24), but it’s unlikely Mary would have been put to death. The Jews couldn’t exercise capital punishment without permission from Rome. The Bible gives us no sense that Mary’s life was in danger. The only people being stoned to death at that period of time were those who would preach the gospel (Acts 7:59).

13:30 — Ah, Michael Curry, the Love Bishop.

14:30 — Joseph is seen cleaning up the house he trashed after his rage fit. I’ve been waiting to see if anyone will actually quote the Scripture itself. No one has. Matthew 1:18-19 says:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

Being a “just man,” he knew what the law said concerning unfaithfulness. Being “unwilling to put her to shame,” he was not going to make a public spectacle of Mary. He knew the law was on his side. Rage-trashing his house is not divorcing her quietly.

16:30 — An angel speaks to Joseph in a dream and tells him the child in Mary’s womb is from the Holy Spirit. When Joseph goes back to Mary, I have to admit, I found the interaction between them rather touching. But then it was interrupted by commentary…

I covered this in my book 25 Christmas Myths and What the Bible Says. There are no problems with the census in Luke. The explanation is simple. Luke does not give an exact time reference to when the census took place. He said, “In those days,” which is an unspecific period of time, and “this was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” All Luke is pointing to is that these events were part of the same drama, not that they all happened at exactly the same time. There was no reason to use “a device to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.” Matthew didn’t use such an explanation in his gospel.

The dates often used by historians for the Christmas story are based on the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus. But sometimes Josephus was off by as much as a decade. Why are scholars so quick to villify Luke but justify Josephus? Luke under the appointment of the Holy Spirit is spotless in the telling of the gospel. Oh, and contrary to Dr. Cargill’s claims, people did return to their lands when a census was taken.

21:45 — Ben Witherington III says, “[Joseph and Mary] barely got [to Bethlehem] before it was time for Mary to give birth.” Not true, but that’s a minor point. I appreciate that the show does correct the myth that Jesus was born in a barn. He wasn’t. He was born in a house filled with family.

23:30 — Professor Nicola Denzey Lewis says, “Millions of women died in childbirth.” Millions of women in Judea died in childbirth?

25:00 — Shut up, Joel.

25:30 — Whenever an angel appears to someone in this show and says, “Do not be afraid,” they’re just kind of like, “Who are you?” No one is actually afraid.

27:30 — The show continues the myth that there were only three wise men. Except they made the black wise man the lead guy now instead of the token sidekick.

28:00 — Right before the commercial break, Dr. Cargill says of the magi, “Meeting Herod the Great must have been terrifying.” They probably had no idea who he was. But gotta keep the viewers in suspense!

29:00 — The show has the magi arriving at night. There’s no commotion in the city. Yet the Bible says they came to Jerusalem asking, “‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matthew 2:2-3). The number of magi and the size of their caravan were enough to alert all of Jerusalem and earn the magi an audience before Herod. This was a big deal. In fact the question they asked, “Where is the King of the Jews,” was asked of Jesus by Pontius Pilate over 30 years later.

30:30 — The magi say, “We followed a star. Our charts tell us it heralds the birth of a messiah.” No, they knew the star was leading them to the Messiah because they had the Jewish Scriptures.

32:30 — Joseph tries to refuse the gifts of the magi. That was weird.

33:00 — The Love Bishop says love things.

34:00 — Right before the commercial break, Joseph rebukes the magi for coming because they’ve put Jesus’s life at risk. Oh, good grief.

35:30 — The Love Bishop says, “Joseph keeps getting these dreams in Matthew’s gospel. He gets the dream that tells him the child is a miracle of God. Then he gets the dream telling him to flee Palestine and go to Egypt.” Joseph wasn’t listening to dreams. He was obeying God. Matthew 2:13 says, “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy Him.'” The show doesn’t depict that. Instead, the show portrays Joseph having a vision of Herod giving the order to kill baby boys in Bethlehem.

39:30 — Joseph and Mary barely elude the guards and get Jesus out of Bethlehem during the massacre of the innocents. Oh, the drama. (I really thought I’d done a WWUTT video on the massacre of the innocents. Apparently not. I’ll get on that for next Christmas.)

40:30 — Joshua Dubois, Faith Advisor to President Obama, says, “The holy family become refugees.” These comments are always more politically loaded than they are biblically accurate. A refugee is someone forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or have been displaced because of a natural disaster. Yes, Joseph and Mary fled Judea to escape the wrath of Herod, but they never left the Roman empire. They would have gone to the Jewish settlement in Alexandria, Egypt. There they were quite secure among their own people, and they had the gifts from the magi to pay for their stay. This was not like we would consider a modern-day refugee.

41:00 — Dr. Moss points out that Joseph protected his wife and a child who was not his own. “Joseph becomes a beautiful model for fatherhood today. Where would we be if we had more men who operated like Joseph?” I appreciate the sentiment. But the question is better asked, “Where would we be if more men obeyed God?”

Part 2 examining the life of Jesus through the eyes of John the Baptist coming at a later time… Maybe.

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Dan’s Note:

Missing in the angel/Joseph dialogue was the statement by the angel that “you shall call his name ‘Jesus’ for he will save his people from their sins.”, which was the main purpose in Jesus coming – to save his people from their sins! Will this series fail in presenting a clear and concise message that Christ died for the sins of men, as Pastor Gabe suggests in his critique?

Guest Post: “Almost Half of Practicing Christian Millennials Say Evangelism Is Wrong”

The Domain for Truth

Note: This is a guest post by Dan Cartwright.  He’s been a brother who has been iron sharpening iron with us on here and social media for years.  His blog can be found here.  He also tweets.

“Almost Half of Practicing Christian Millennials Say Evangelism Is Wrong”

The above statement is the title of a 5 February, 2019 article published by the Barna Group. It caught my attention immediately when I read it and just as quickly prompted the question “What does it really mean?” So I read the article. Here’s some background context from the article:

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