To proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "true truth," and to disciple and encourage people to grow in faith and participate in influencing their culture.
And Jesus cried out
again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of
the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the
rocks were split. Matthew 27:50-51
The most watched miniseries of all time was The Bible on the History Channel. I, too, watched
this production produced by Roma Downey, star of the TV series Touched by an Angel, and her third
husband, Mark Burnett. Although enjoyable, there were many liberties taken of
Scripture. I had issues with some of the portrayals, but I was deeply concerned
with how Burnett and Downey depicted the crucifixion. The Lord’s suffering
along the Via Dolorosa was very Roman Catholic. Jesus fell three times, spoke
to his mother Mary, and had his brow wiped by Veronica—none of which is in
On the cross, Jesus spoke seven times—the most important
being when he cried out, “My God, My God,
why have you forsaken me!” This wailing statement came forth at the time
when all of sin was placed on him as he became the curse of God. A holy God
cannot look upon sin and therefore Christ felt abandoned. But this abandonment
gives us hope, for Christ died to pay our debt, serve our punishment, and make
peace with God the Father. These words were not in the crucifixion scene of
Downey and Burnett. To neglect this cry is to ignore the real reason that Jesus
had to die. Roman Catholics still think they can attain heaven by their good
deeds. If this were so, then Jesus had no need to come to earth and die on a cross.
The producers did show that an earthquake occurred at the
death of Christ and a curtain in the temple falling down before Caiaphas. There
was no depiction of the veil in the holy of holies being torn in two from top
to bottom, another significant occurrence left out of the miniseries, which
tells mankind that the way to Christ is now open without having to go through
priests. I can’t help but think of the Roman Catholic influence that still
insists that a person must go to a priest to confess his sins. The priest
therefore continues to act as mediator between sinner and God.
The renting of the veil was no small miracle, for such a
curtain was 4 to 6 inches thick. The tearing was not intended merely as a
display of power, but rather to teach believers some great truths. First, the law of sacrificial ordinances was satisfied
and, like a worn-out vestment, ripped and thrown away. When Jesus died, the
sacrifices were finished, completed and fulfilled in him; and therefore the
place of sacrifice, the temple, was clearly marked with change.
Second, the torn curtain tells us that all the hidden and
concealed things of the Old Testament sacrificial system could now be seen. The
mercy seat that hid behind the veil was revealed, indicating that all who place
faith in Christ have direct access to the Lord Almighty. Christians can now boldly
approach the throne of grace without an earthly mediator, for Christ is the
only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
Third, the annual
ceremony for the day of atonement was also abolished. The atoning
blood that once every year was sprinkled behind the curtain and inside the Holy
of Holies was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No
blood of bullocks or of lambs need be shed, for Jesus has entered inside the
curtain shedding his own blood as the Lamb of God.
The renting of the curtain, however, does not allow all
people access to the gates of paradise. Jesus is the High Priest, who has
entered the inner place behind the curtain to become the anchor of our soul and
is the only key to heaven (Heb. 6:19-20). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the
life; and no one comes to the Father unless through him” (John 14:6). When
Diogo Morgado (portrayer of Jesus in the miniseries) quoted this Scripture from
John’s gospel, he did not repeat the last phrase. Neglecting to say “no one comes to the Father except through
him” removes the exclusivity of Christianity—that Christ and Christ alone
is the way to heaven, thereby letting the populace think that there are other
roads to God the Father.
Christ is the ONE-WAY STREET to God. No one will see heaven
without confessing Christ and placing faith in him.
Proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "truetruth,"andtodiscipleandencouragepeopletogrowinfaithandparticipateininfluencingtheirculture.