With gripping drama and passion, fresh media portrayals of this first century figure leave many questioning if Jesus was more than a man. Who should have the last word—Hollywood or Scripture?
The National Geographic Channel premiered its adaptation of the book Killing Jesus on Sunday, March 29, 2015. The show drew the channel’s biggest audience in history—over 3.7 million viewers. This last Easter weekend, Google searches for “Jesus Christ” jumped up 53 percent. The miniseries A.D.: The Bible Continues launched on April 5, 2015, with “The Tomb Is Open” and will release a total of 12 weekly one-hour episodes.
Is there really a growing interest in Jesus in our culture? Are people searching for the truth about Christ? Is the dose of realism presented in these programs giving a more accurate understanding of the Messiah? Do record-breaking ratings assure us that we are hearing the facts as presented in the Bible? You have to wonder when you hear the director of Killing Jesus say, “We wanted to go for a muscular Jesus, someone who was in a way a sort of rock star in his time.” 
Perhaps it is time for a less soft, Caucasian Jesus with blue eyes and a British accent. Maybe we need to see someone with energy and strength. But Bill O’Reilly, author of a book on which the Killing Jesus film is based, gives us more than we might ask for: “The matter of Jesus’ divinity is up for interpretation in the National Geographic Channel production as well, so viewers are left to make that call on their own. Jesus himself is shown experiencing moments of doubt, at one turn asking his disciples who they and the people think he is.” 
The show’s director adds, “I hope we’ve kept that element of doubt, because otherwise he’s not human.” The miracles of Christ are “left to viewer interpretation.” In one scene, Jesus holds a child who is ill and then gets better. Was it a miracle? “Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t,” says the director, adding, “The miracles you see … could be luck.” Jesus is not portrayed as walking on water or raising the dead.
But “maybe” is not a neutral word. The film clearly shows Jesus as human and not divine, starting off with doubts about His divinity. Yet the Bible portrays Christ as one who clearly understand His divine nature, even as a child, when He said to His earthly parents, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).
A recent Barna poll brings out this mixture of beliefs about Jesus among Americans. While 92 percent believe Jesus Christ was a real person, only 56 percent believe He was God. Though the Bible repeatedly describes Jesus as One who “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21) and as “a lamb without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19), over half of Americans believe that Jesus committed sins like other people. 
Who is the real Jesus? In the last days, we should expect more and more dishonest, deceptive accounts of Jesus and His mission in our culture. If we’re so mesmerized by what popular entertainment tells us about the Savior, will we ever truly know the real Jesus?
If you look to the Bible, it unequivocally tells us Christ is the divine Son of God. Skeptics who raise doubts cannot simply edit out the faith of millions.
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