I asked my husband Waylon (my resident theologian) to share his views on NBC’s Sunday night series “A.D.:The Bible Continues.”
You may be aware that NBC is showing the sequel to Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s series “The Bible” from a couple of years ago. I’ve watched the depiction of the resurrection, the ascension, and the work of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts with great excitement. I’ve had many people who wanted to know my reaction to the series. Here’s my take on what I’ve seen to this point.
First, the series contains many story lines which are not corroborated by Scripture. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Burnett and Downey are using contemporary history to help portray what was going on in Jerusalem.
The most glaring difference between Scripture and “A.D.:The Bible Continues” is the depiction of the Roman reaction to the resurrection. We simply don’t know how the Romans reacted to the news that Jesus had been raised. Nor do we know that they reacted at all. What we do know is that the depiction of the Romans is entirely and completely consistent with what we know in history. We don’t know that they executed the Roman and Jewish guards who could give evidence of the resurrection, but we do know they routinely did this kind of thing in history. If a Roman soldier lost a prisoner by escape or by other means, the Roman soldier would be executed with extreme cruelty. Even if the soldier could not have helped the circumstances, the Romans would execute the soldier. “A D: The Bible Continues” makes the Roman reaction a major story line. That is consistent with what we know, but we, of course, don’t know that actually happened.
Second, I loved the depiction of the resurrection. Remember, there were no witnesses to the resurrection itself. Unless the Roman and Jewish guards were witnesses, we have no witnesses in history. “A D: the Bible Continues” gives an entirely plausible picture. The picture is of God’s unapproachable light. I watched it a second time and gloried in the resurrection of our Lord.
Third, the resurrection appearances lacked some punch. I believe the best actors and producers cannot depict what the resurrection means in history or in our hearts. I salute the producers for giving it their best shot. No producer or actor can ever capture the power of God’s Word. They can only make an honest attempt to let us see what they are seeing. May God use this and other attempts to draw you closer to Him.
Waylon blogs daily at waylonbailey.com. Check him out.