Killing Jesus: with the woman caught in adultery.

I watched the Killing Jesus 3 hour monster flick over the weekend – actually DVR’d from NatGeo the prior Sunday and it sat waiting for me to view.

I watch the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel, and after the mostly boot licking praise Bill O’Reilly got from a vast swatch of society, I wanted to weigh in a little.

The movie was good, but It wasn’t “all that.” I would classify it as a dramatic representation of Biblical events, not heresy as some purists may say.  (After the first few scenes and some fine drama provided by Kelsey Grammar, I had to put my purist hat to the side.)

For disclosure, when it comes to Biblical narratives, most of them lose me because they aren’t always true to the text.  The only ones that captured and help my strict attention are

  1. A 1970’s weeklong mini-series called “Jesus of Nazareth“aired Easter week for a few years when I was just a kid – featuring a very smooth American looking Jesus
  2. The Passion of the Christ – Mel Gibson’s portrayal remains my favorite, and the one I dread to view the most (watching an enactment of Jesus taking punishment for my sins upon himself – hard to watch, I should watch it more.)
  3. The Jesus Film – An adaptation of the Book of Luke promoted by the Jesus Film Project non-profit organization as they take the Gospel -via video – unreached people groups around the globe

Anything else … meh.

But O’reilly prepped me (and the rest of his audience) that his film was not a perfect scriptural adaptation, but rather hitting the major points and ultimately the cross itself.  So the bar was set way low for my expectations and I didn’t jettison the movie in the first 15 minutes.

What was “Off”

What disappointed me most about the film (and probably the book had I read it) is this strange detachment of deity from Jesus in this film.  Here are some of them that stick out in my mind:

  • Jesus exorcises a demon from a young boy.
    In this scene Jesus just hugs the boy and basically talks him back to consciousness.  In Scripture Jesus does a fine ancient day “Sweet Brown”: Ain’t nobody got time for dat!

Luke 9:37-43 “… But Jesus vrebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and wgave him back to his father. “

  • Sermon on the Mount
    The “movie” Jesus was basically giving the Sermon on the Mount on a busy city street to passer-bys who could’ve cared less

    • Scripturally, in truth, Every time Jesus spoke he enraptured folks and always gathered a huge crowd with him.  People were clinging to His every word for the truth he spoke.No one puts Jesus in a corner … ala a Dirty Dancing Reference

Matthew 5:1 5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

  • When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane
    The Bill O’Reilly Jesus was doing his best “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis?” as if his arrest was a surprise.  Read the Gospels and you know, not only was it not a surprise, Jesus knew exactly how it was going to go down: sorrowful, asking the Father for it to pass, and finally coming and telling his disciples the betrayer was at hand before the soldiers even arrived.

Matthew 26:38-39 – 38 Then he said to them, p“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and qwatch4 with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face rand prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let sthis cup pass from me; tnevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 26:45-46 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on.5 See, zthe hour is at hand, and athe Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” 

What wasn’t as-“Off”

There were portrayals I thought were swerving towards being in-context – albeit with a lot of literary license taken – and not quite getting there completely:

  • Herod’s step daughter dancing for him
    • This went a little over board with Herod and this young girl (in FRONT OF HIS WIFE — and HER MOM!!!) and wife/mom is just sitting there grinning … my wife would’ve rightly smacked both of us and set us straight in less than 10 milliseconds.
  • Jesus with the woman caught in adultery.
    There sat Jesus with this gal ready to field some stones to the noggin on her behalf in the face of an angry crowd to finally reasoned with itself not to throw stones.

    • I like the recounting in the Gospel of John:  (John 8:1-11.)
      There sat Jesus telling her accusers if they are without sin to throw the first stone, then he starts writing in the dirt with his finger (writings unknown / undisclosed)
  • Jesus overturning the money changers
    • The movie’s Jesus actor did a good portrayal of knocking over the money changers in the Temple Courts, showing anger and offense.  But the “movie”-Jesus came off indignant triggered by the Horizontal events.  Scripture goes vertical on us and tells us the real offense was the honor the Father and justice in house – Jesus was offended for God’s sake, something the movie didn’t represent fully.  (See Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17)

The very last scene with Peter out on the boat by himself threw me off too.

  • The Gospel of John 21 tells us Jesus was on the shore making breakfast (post-resurrection)  while Peter and John were out in the boat fishing – having returned to their former profession – this is when Jesus asked Peter three times “Do you love me?”  “feed my sheep”.

This again, being I’m not in the mind of the writers or director – or B.O. for that matter, I felt was a cheapening of Christ’s identity as God.  No resurrected Jesus making breakfast, no walks on the beach, no restoration of Peter.

The closing historical narrative of what happened to the various Apostles was quite good.  I enjoyed hearing that.

Signing “Off”

So overall this movie was good and decently enjoyable.  It was not so heretical I was ready to delete it and move on.  But, If like me, you feel sand paper scraping across your brain when facts aren’t followed closely, you will need to prepare yourself to be challenged throughout this entire movie.

The Jesus of this film was a very loving guy, which I think is a positive, but his Glory, Honor and Praise-worthiness gets lost.  Jesus is just boiled down to – character-wise – being just another nice guy.  He was, and is, far more.  I wish Bill O’Reilly’s interpretation would’ve retained that is he scribed a novel out of the pages of scripture.