There’s been a hashtag game going around on Twitter called #checkyourjesus and it would be fitting to tell The History Channel and the creators of “The Bible” miniseries to check theirs. Last night’s episode introduced Jesus and as someone who worships Jesus as Lord I was quite disturbed by what I saw and heard.
Since part one I’ve been troubled by the lack of faithfulness to the text, the historical inaccuracies and the fact that what some Bible figures say seems incongruous with who they were (Abraham arguing with God instead of fearing him? Moses exclaiming, “You’re real!”). But those issues pale in comparison to what I perceive as minimizing the deity of Jesus in part 3. Last night showed the birth of Jesus and then skipped to his baptism, temptation and then the calling of Peter.
Let’s start with the birth. This is the only section that seemed to indicate Jesus was more than a man. Mary is told that she will be with child and that it will be God’s doing. The Magi told Herod they were searching for one who would be born King of the Jews. And some people turn up to look at the baby Jesus after he’s born. But I didn’t really see much worship. There is no angelic announcement or anything. Like a Christmas without presents, their telling of the first Christmas was a total letdown.
What gets skipped over is his presentation at the temple when both Simeon and Anna are overjoyed because they’ve been waiting for Messiah and they recognize Jesus as the promised one. Then there was time He stayed behind at the temple and Mary and Joseph had to return for him. When chastised Jesus tells his parents, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Both are clear indicators that Jesus is not just a prophet or some great “leader,” He is the Son of God and the Messiah.
Baptism. The baptism of Jesus was what really upset me because in Scripture John says of the coming Messiah “He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Instead on the TV version, the Holy Spirit gets axed and John says “He will baptize with fire.” There is probably no clearer support for the Trinity (One God in three persons, coequal and coeternal) than in the baptism of Jesus by John.
Matthew 3:11-17 says:
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,b and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,c with whom I am well pleased.”
Sadly, The History Channel version is scrubbed of the Trinity since Jesus is baptized and neither the Spirit descends, nor does God speak from heaven. This is a very significant omission!
Later the episode botches both John’s beheading by Herod (portraying it as politics rather than Herod’s wife’s hatred for John who told them they were sinning) and the call of Peter in which Jesus states his mission to “change the world.” Jesus’ actual mission according to Scripture was to defeat Satan, die on the cross to provide a means of salvation from sin and death to anyone who believes and to be raised from the dead glorifying God.
This miniseries is a wreck theologically. Chris Rosebrough has a done a great job with his Fighting for the Faith podcast exposing the miniseries as being all about “leaders” and “leadership,” while ignoring or failing to explain “redemptive history.” Stand Up for the Truth also has a warning about next week’s episode and what is missing from the last supper. I’ll give you a hint: It’s about Jesus’ claim to exclusivity!
- The false “Jesus” of the miniseries, “The Bible” (Fighting for the Faith podcast)
- Pirate Christian’s Warning about History Channel miniseries (steakandabible.com)
- Something HUGE is missing from the last supper (Stand Up For the Truth)
- History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ Exalts man over God (Abandoned to Christ)
- What’s Missing From History’s Bible Miniseries? ‘Redemptive History’ (steakandabible.com)