A.D. The Bible Continues
is a wonderful twelve-part miniseries produced by Roma Downey and
husband, Mark Burnett, which is a follow-on to their miniseries, The Bible.
It is an excellent historical presentation on the first century church
that focuses primarily on the Apostles Peter and Paul. The quality of
the story and production is superb, considering the typical Hollywood
television fare that is chocked full of occult symbology and immoral
themes. But sadly, NBC cancelled the series after one season.
story follows the Book of Acts, with the resurrection of Christ and the
disciplines receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The
filling of the Spirit is a beautiful scene, which may not be presented
in a way that many of us have imagined from our denominational
background. But it does its job in that it sets the tone for a Godly
spiritual story, which is rare for television, indeed.
Levy is terrific as Peter, who is chosen by the Lord to lead the church
through a harrowing period of persecution from their fellow Jews.
Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, and his conniving wife play the
political game against the evil Pontius Pilate and his compassionate
wife, Claudia, who is willing to sacrifice her husband’s favor to
protect the new believers. Once the insanity of the Roman emperor,
Caligula, enters the mix, the stakes get higher, and everyone is at
risk of losing all power to Rome. The excitement of the political
intrigue amongst the leaders of the Temple, the Zionist rebels, and the
followers of Jesus takes the standard Christian story to a higher level
than what most of us have seen over the years. All of the players must
carefully maneuver through this most important time in history, which
culminates with Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
A note on the casting of several major characters: because
people of many races and ethnicity made up the body of Christ during
those days, the producers have reflected this truth by casting actors
of African descent to play Apostle John and Mary of Magdalen. It is an
unusual, yet refreshing, portrayal that reflects the Lord’s unity in
His church, despite man’s prejudices.
The most passionate
scenes in this miniseries are played by Emmett J. Scanlon who portrays
the Apostle Paul. His transformation from the maniacal Saul of Tarsus
who mercilessly persecutes the faith to the apostle of grace is
extremely powerful. I was especially touched by his water baptism; as
he immerged out of the water, the joy he displays seemed so authentic
that it brought tears to my eyes. His words of encouragement to the
other believers are impassioned and heart-felt and aren’t the least bit
preachy. Because it is so rare to find Hollywood productions portray
the life of Paul, this theatrical display is quite special. I would
have loved to have seen a miniseries that focused on his missionary
travels throughout that known world.
While Jesus is not a central character of this miniseries,
His resurrection is what drives the story. Christ is represented in
every scene, and the reaction of His message from the established
Jewish temple system is the antagonist that provides the greatest
conflict. Richard Coyle does a great job of portraying the stubborn,
stiff-necked Caiaphas who will stop at nothing to preserve his position
as High Priest of the Jewish temple system. As the powers of Rome begin
to stir, it is clear that what he so desperately desires to save is
headed for doom, just as the prophets predicted. Even the disciples
recognize that God’s prophecies of judgment are coming to pass.
A.D. the Bible is truly one of the best historical Christian productions I have seen since The Passion of the Christ.
It opens the door to a crucial part of church history that so few of us
believers are exposed to in our denominations. It encouraged me to dig
into the writings of Josephus and some of the other ancient historians
to learn more about the political climate of that time that many
believe is reflected in End Times theology.
Roma Downey and
Mark Burnett are commended for a job well done on this project. I look
forward to more biblical productions from them in the future, whether
it be in the theater, television, or perhaps the Internet. It is so
important to support authentic Christian media during these times when
the occult agenda has dominance over most of our entertainment choices.
May all of us creative believers in Christ keep creating and presenting
His Truth to the world!
May the Heavenly Father richly bless all of you!