The Bible: Hope

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Reviewed by Sam Robinson

Airing Tuesdays 9:30pm on the Nine Network. Rated M.

The moment we’d all been waiting for finally happened last week – we met Jesus on The Bible.

Episode six hit our screens on Tuesday night and the series transitioned from the Old Testament to the New, in between a stack of Australia’s Got Talent promos. It wasn’t just about Timomatic thankfully, we also met Jesus and John the Baptist – who were both key players in this episode.

The episode opened with Israel in turmoil. The mysterious golden eagle on the temple that we saw at the end of last week (not actually in the Bible) is explained to be installed by Herod, King of the Jews. Herod is introduced as this crazy, reckless mad man who enjoys reclining and eating grapes.

The ninja angels make a reappearance – this time Gabriel with a bathmat on his head – and he informs Mary of God’s plan. Soon enough she is pregnant on a donkey travelling to Bethlehem and we see for ourselves the risk and isolation. There’s no ED in sight!

Cut to Herod as he scrambles to look for Isaiah’s prophecy among the scrolls. This is a great move by producers in reminding and highlighting that Jesus’ birth had been expected for some time.

Soon enough there’s an instant nativity scene on a stormy night (not such a silent one) and Jesus Christ is born. It’s a powerful scene as the magi bow before him, but that only gets trumped by a haunting scene just an ad break later – when a young Jesus, Mary and Joseph walk by a group of people hanging on crosses. It’s a foreboding moment as Mary shields the eyes of Jesus away from the horror, unaware that this will be his destiny. The scene also does well to show viewers that death by crucifixion is a common sentence at the time.

John the Baptist enters the story complete with dreadlocks (I would have rathered seen him eat locusts!) and is in the river preaching to a crowd. He gets caught mid-sentence as adult Jesus walks towards him. Jesus is pretty Hollywood and seems much more groomed than his counterparts, but he is acted very well. John baptises Jesus, but soon ends up meeting his death by Pilate.

Jesus goes into the wilderness and the producers do a great job to see Jesus under temptation. There is no doubt that he is in great despair as he chooses between his Father’s will and that of Satan’s. Through forward flashes we get a glimpse of Jesus himself on the cross – and yet he chooses to follow that path.

At the end of the episode we meet Peter and see the great scene where Jesus and Peter haul in a stack of fish in the place where Peter wasn’t sure they would catch anything!

For me, watching this episode was really exciting. As the series has been hinting towards, this promised king who was to come is finally here. Seeing #JesusisHere all over Twitter on Tuesday night was thrilling – especially because there is real truth in this story. It’s not just a fable on telly – this stuff really happened!

The angel Gabriel speaking to Mary in this episode is a mashed up version of Luke 1:30-33, which says –

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

This is just the beginning of Jesus’ time on earth, and as Gabriel makes it clear, there’s an incredible reason for him to be here. He is the promised King – not by way of military power – but one who will reign forever and whose kingdom will never end. As he continues to say, Jesus will be called the Son of God.

We saw a glimpse of Jesus on the cross, and as he hung there he didn’t just simply die like the other criminals we saw in this episode. He chose the will of his Father and took on the sin of the world. And as we know, he defeated death and rose again to rule his kingdom forever. He deserves that place on the throne!

As always, I encourage you to watch this with your friends. Yes, Nine might be pushing the episodes later and later each week, but what an opportunity to watch this incredible story together and talk about exactly who this Jesus is.

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