You can free stream the entire first three episodes here: NBC’s free showing of A.D – The Bible Continues.
This week we focus on the anticipation of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, which is a very mysterious thing to me. Jesus says the disciples must return from Galilee to Jerusalem to wait for the spirit to come. At the spirit’s arrival they will be equipped to declare the message of Jesus’ coming kingdom to the people of Jerusalem, Samaria, and all the “known” world. I put known in quotations because very long sea voyages were difficult and dangerous in those days. So to the disciples “the world” to them was the area around the Mediterranean sea. But I am getting ahead of the story. At this point they are waiting.
While they wait a lot of politics are going on at the Temple where Caiaphas and his wife receive a visit from the widow of a loyal temple guard who was at the tomb when Jesus’ body disappeared (last week we found out Jesus did not disappear, but rose from the dead). The guard was killed but the wife can’t understand why she doesn’t receive honors for his service (money and a decent burial for her husband). Of course we know the answer was that he was killed by those trying to cover up the fact that the body was not in the tomb and that Jesus had predicted this event.
We also see Pilate and his wife discuss his murder of the roman guards who were at the tomb. She is disgusted that Pilate killed them in their own house. Pilate has just about had it with all the events that have spun out of his control. And to make matters worse, the son of the roman puppet king Herod comes for a visit for Pentecost (I think it is a celebration of the giving of the law by God to the Israelites). Herod Antipas as he is called, wants the Romans to leave the temple area so that the pilgrims may enter freely and enjoy their celebration. But Pilate takes this instead as a challenge to his power. So he decides to increase his power of the temple and symbolically decides to visit the temple and to enter in the gate reserved for the Israelites. (Romans are Gentiles and must enter through a different way or gate).
When Pilate shows up at the temple, Caiaphas cleverly tries to convince the crowd that this breach of protocol is because Pilate wants to make an offering ( a gift) to cleanse Pilate of his sin. But Pilate can’t speak Hebrew (or Aramaic) and has no idea what Caiaphas is saying. As Pilate leaves, the Zealots try to mount an attack on the Romans and do end up killing one soldier. Pilate is furious and wants any suspects rounded up and executed for all to see.
As this is happening the Holy Spirit arrives to empower the disciples for their mission. The spirit not only empowers them but enables them to speak in foreign language(s) to the crowd outside. This is a reversal of the Tower of Babel story where God confused man’s language from one to multiple. So now at Pentecost God has “unconfused” the languages to build up His kingdom, which is in direct contrast to man’s attempt at Babel to reach up to God’s level.
Peter and the disciples begin their ministry by healing a beggar on the street. Then they go to the temple but are recognized as Jesus disciples and arrested by Caiaphas’ temple guards. They beat Peter and also John and throw them into a cell. Mary Magdalene brings them food and tells them that a few thousand people are now part of the Jesus movement.
Thoughts: This was another good episode. It’s interesting that no matter what the authorities did to stop it, the message still got to the people. I liked them bringing Peter’s daughter into the story. She kept begging her father to return home but it is clear that Peter (who felt guilty betraying Jesus before he died) now wants to work hard to fulfill his teachers instructions.
Next week we can expect to see the Romans arrest and execute the Zealots and those who oppose Roman rule over the Temple.
Galleries: Check out the galleries page to see the characters in action. There are a lot of characters to track of so its worth it to take a look at their faces, names and category groups (Followers of Christ, Temple Authorities, The Romans, Zealots).
Next week: April 26th – The Romans Crack Down