A.D.: The Bible Continues 2.01-The Tomb is Open

You can free stream the entire episode here: NBC’s free showing of The Tomb is Open

My Recap:

The story picks up before Jesus’ trial and execution on the Roman cross.  Jesus infuriates the high priest and the priestly council by using the unique name of God “I am”.  The name is holy and is never to be spoken.  Fearing an insurrection by the followers of Jesus at the time of the great festival of passover (100’s of thousand visitors are there in Jerusalem), the high priest orders the execution of Jesus, but needs the sentence carried out by the Roman military.  Only Rome is allowed to execute criminals and they will only do so if they pose a threat to the Roman emperor’s authority.  The high priest convinces the Roman general that Jesus refers to himself as King.  After questioning Jesus the general sentences Jesus to death on the cross, but first Jesus is brutally whipped.

The followers of Jesus are afraid and try to hide, but Peter is spotted and denies Jesus three times (exactly like Jesus predicted he would).  Judas (another follower) regrets his decision to take money in order to give Jesus over the priestly council for questioning (Was Judas greedy or did he just want Jesus to confront the ruling class and take his place in charge of the temple worship?).  Meanwhile the Roman governor’s wife is having dreams about Jesus;  she thinks he is a good man.  They hear about a prophecy that Jesus will survive death and return to lead his new kingdom.  So the Romans spear his lifeless body to ensure he is really dead.  The high priest is afraid the followers of Jesus will steal his body and pretend that Jesus has risen from the dead, so a small group of Roman soldiers and temple guards are sent to the tomb and it is sealed.  The disciples want to flee Jerusalem but Mary mother of Jesus tells them to wait three days, for that is the time Jesus said would occur before he arises.  On the third day they find the tomb empty.  The guards witnessed some sort of angle opening the tomb.  In fear they return to tell the high priest that the body is gone.

Thoughts:  I found this to be a well made episode.  This is a dramatization that highlights certain things about the crucifixion and resurrection that may not be widely understood.  First the death of Jesus causes an earthquake that nearly brings down the holy temple.  In particular the curtain between the holy place and the most holy place (where only the high priest may enter) is torn in two.  Next Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus get Jesus’ body and place it in a rich man’s tomb before the body can be eaten by wild animals.  Also Mary keeps Jesus’ leg bones from being broken (which is normally the procedure used to remove the body from the cross).  The high priest is unaware or he would have stopped this from happening.

One thing that works in the disciples favor is that Jerusalem is very crowded for the passover, so the temple guards who are looking for them are not able to find them.  Also the disciples meet the sicarii (or dagger men in latin) who want to take revenge against the Romans.  They will likely be a big part of the events to come in Jerusalem.  If you saw the recent show The Dovekeepers, it’s the sicarii who kill some Romans and then flee to the mountain fort of Masada.  The Romans track them down and besiege them there.

Galleries:  Check out the galleries page to see the characters in action.  There are a lot of characters to start with so its worth it to take a look at their faces and names.

Next week:  April 12th – The Body is Gone.

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