“Change the world,” a caucasian Jesus answers, in a slightly British accent.
This is how Part Three of The History Channel’s The Bible ends. But The History Channel seems to have a different perception of what “changing the world” means than Jesus. This is revealed not by what is included in Part Four of the series, but in what is left out. And what’s worse, The Bible did not leave important scenes from the Bible out; it left important moments out of the important scenes, essentially reformatting the original context of the events.
Leaving key moments out of Jesus’ life would have been bad, but including the key moments and ignoring their crucial elements might be worse.
Consider these two portrayals from Part Four of The Bible.
THE LAST SUPPER AND JESUS AS THE ONLY WAY
In The Bible’s Last Supper scene, Jesus shares with the disciples that this will be his final meal with them. Naturally, this births fear and sorrow for a group of men who have grown very close to their Messiah.
Jesus quotes John 14:1-6, telling his disciples, “Don’t be afraid. Trust in God, trust in me also. You know the way to where I am going.”
“We don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” a balding Thomas declares.
Jesus replies, “I am the way. The truth. And the life.”
And then he stops.
But there is a very important line missing from Jesus’ monologue in The Bible included in the actual Bible. This line is, “No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6).
Of the various verses in scripture that reveal that Jesus is the only way to the Father, this one is arguably the clearest. Therefore, if a producer of a series on the Bible wants to accurately depict Jesus’ mission to “change the world,” including a scene dialoguing John 14:1-6 is a great way to start, but leaving out the final portion of the passage leaves the biblically immature audience they are supposedly targeting, well, biblically immature.
Jesus is not just the “way, truth, and life,” but the “only way, truth, and life.”
THE LAST SUPPER AND THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
In the same Last Supper scene, Jesus takes the bread and says, “This is my body.” He then takes a cup after pouring wine into it and says, “This is my blood.” He closes by saying, “Remember me by doing this.” These are all included in the Last Supper accounts detailed in the scriptures, but The Bible leaves out another line that reveals how Jesus “changed the world.” This line is, “which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt 26:28).
There is an old adage that captures why this line is important:
Jesus didn’t come to make bad men good, but to make dead men live.
To give The Bible the benefit of the doubt, there is a scene depicted from Matthew 9:1-8 in the early portion of Part Four where Jesus heals a paralytic. Jesus met both the physical and spiritual needs of the man, telling him both “Get up and walk” and “Your sins are forgiven.”
The reason the inclusion of the line is important in the Last Supper, however, is because it is directly connected to his death. Jesus didn’t come just to cure the physical ailments that plague mankind; he came to cure the spiritual ailment that plagues mankind. This ailment is sin and the penalty is death. Therefore, forgiveness of sins cannot come without death, the very thing Jesus references at the Last Supper.
While The Bible reveals that Jesus dies, it doesn’t necessarily reveal why Jesus dies.
This is the meaning behind Paul’s statement that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Jesus didn’t die to inspire bad people to be good, make lame men walk, and put people’s ears back on. He died to make dead people live.
This is clear in the Bible, but not in The Bible.
This is why his body was broken and his blood was shed. Jesus is our substitutionary atonement for the wages that we had earned through our sins. He paid it in our steads, and in so doing he “changed the world.” (But it probably happened with more of a Hebrew dialect.)
Read reviews of earlier parts of The Bible here: