Monday, March 23, 2015

Killing Jesus: What you need to know before watching!

Killing Jesus: The Movie a Review by Al Menconi March 23, 2015
Killing Jesus is premiering Sunday, March 29 @ 8:PM on The National Geographic Channel

I chose to read Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus twice because it contained so much historical information that was unfamiliar to me.  It was like a college class.  I was fascinated to learn when and how Rome changed from a republic to an empire.  I loved finding out about the various Caesars, the wars and the descriptions of the despots who ruled the world at the time of Christ.  So when I heard that the Killing Jesus book would be made into a TV movie, I wondered how they would illustrate all that over abundance of information in less than two hours.  Fortunately, they didn’t.

Instead, they focused on the man Jesus, enhancing the story of His life with interesting tidbits that the average person would not know.  And let me issue an advance warning: this story of Jesus does not resemble any biography of Jesus you have ever seen, for Bill O’Reilly chose to present Jesus as a man, not as God. 

I know that sounds blasphemous, but calm down.  Hear me out before you burn this review and film at the stake.  The film only depicted the various aspects of the life of Jesus that could be proved historically outside of Scripture.  So yes, it portrays the biblical Jesus that Christians love and worship, but not all the stories and details we know from Scripture are included.  Why?  Because they lack an outside-of-Scripture source.

Like all good reporters, O’Reilly and his film writers only used the biblical references that could be verified by non-Scriptural sources.  Jesus’ personal conversations with his disciples and followers are few, as are his miracles, because they didn’t always have a secondary source.  I’m certain that private conversations were enhanced with dialog that could have taken place. 

I expected to see all the old familiar scenes from the Bible, but few were shown.  And the dialog and the excerpts that were featured definitely delineated his human side.  Before we start to criticize, we must remember that Jesus was 100% God AND 100% man.  All the other movies of Jesus that I remember watching emphasized the 100% God element and downplayed the 100% man part of His character.  This film is unique in that it shows Jesus as a man who was human, a mortal who displayed anger or frustration at times, though without sin.

One feature I particularly appreciated: they chose to have Jesus played by someone who wasn’t handsome or unusually attractive.  The protagonist looked like a guy who could have been a carpenter in a dusty, hardscrabble, dingy little village like Nazareth.   This was the first Jesus I have ever seen on film whom I could understand and relate to – except for the sinless part. 

Is it worth watching?  Definitely!  Don’t miss it!  And invite your "seeker" friends.  This film will give you a lot of material to discuss with them.  But don’t expect this Jesus to duplicate all the other movie Jesus figures you have seen and loved.  This One is definitely our God who was crucified and rose from the dead, and the film will offer quite a few “I never thought of that” moments, but don’t hold your breath waiting for Him to walk on the water.  No one had a pocket camera to capture that moment for the non-biblical historians.