HISTORY's The Bible miniseries concluded last night with a lead in to Revelation. Starting five weeks ago, the Mark Burnett and Roma Downey produced drama has taken us from Genesis to an aging apostle John living in exile on the island of Patmos. There, he writes the last book of our Bible.
In the first hour of last night's conclusion, families across America watched as Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Jerusalem, meets Jesus for the first time. A seeker of truth, Pilate is intrigued by the 'holy man'.
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. John 18:35-38
Found guilty, Jesus is tied to a post, whipped for our transgressions. This scene was less violent than expected given what Isaiah 52:14 says.
Though this scene stopped short of being nearly as gruesome as it could have been, it still portrays the excruciating pain Christ endured for us. In The Bible's "Passion" episode, we see the crowd chant, "Crucify Him!" Throughout the hour, we watch Jesus voluntarily ready himself for the lashes, pick up His cross and lay himself before the Roman guards commanded to kill him. We see His mercy when He asks God to forgive them "for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Taking on the sin of the world, Jesus satisfies the wages it requires of each of us -- our lives.
The second hour's depiction of Jesus' ascension and the Holy Spirit moving upon the disciples were incredible moments. This believer was glad to see them speak in tongues and heal in Jesus' name on a TV show. Watching the disciples, one by one, give their lives for the sake of Christ reminds us of the command to go and preach the Gospel. It's also a reminder to pray for those killed for the faith, past and present.
Risen from the dead, Christ redeems us all. His mercy is seen fully in the redemption of Paul. Originally called Saul of Tarsus (though not in the show), Paul persecutes Christ's followers before he's blinded by a vision of Jesus while traveling to the city of Damascus. In a moment showing the unification of believers, Christ asks a man Paul persecuted to bless him in His name. Here's that moving scene from last night's episode:
This epic miniseries took on an incredible task cramming the Bible into 10 hours of television. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's labor of love is a testament to our God. They took the heart of the Bible and introduced it to a TV-watching culture. And The Bible will continue to bless millions through re-airs, overseas promotion and the release of the full series on DVD (this Tuesday). God bless it; and God bless them.