And another thing about Sunday night’s “The Bible”

There was another portrayal from the fourth part of The Bible on the History Channel that was potentially the most explosive insinuation of the entire series thus far. It wasn’t Peter walking on the water, although Burnett and Downey’s depiction of that story came awfully close to saying it was just a dream. I think the view of Peter lying there stunned was him on the boat afterwards wondering what had just happened. No, I’m talking about something much more serious.

While Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for the Father’s will, Caiaphas was also seen praying in the temple. Of course we don’t know whether Caiaphas was doing that or not. I suppose there could be extra-canonical material that might shed light on how Caiaphas would have approached such an event. I think frequently the view we take of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, etc., is that they were not honest in there doings since there were false witnesses, etc. So, if that is your view you might find it hard to imagine the Jewish perpetrators of the crucifixion as having “been in prayer” during that time. Nevertheless, that is what we saw Sunday night. But there is more.

We also saw Pilate’s wife praying to her ancestors.

One of the most important aspects of the family religion was the family cult. Romans believed that offerings to their deceased ancestors were crucial to their happiness in the afterlife. Furthermore, they feared that if they neglected their duties to their ancestors, the unhappy ancestral spirits would haunt them and their families. Because of this, Romans felt that it was vital to see that their ancestors were well cared for during their lifetimes and in future generations. Carrying on the family name, then, was a major concern of the pater familias. 1

The scene came very close to placing all three on the same level. The music and the visuals created a sense of suspense; a sense that something was about to happen. We see Jesus praying, we see Caiaphas praying, and then we see Pilate’s wife praying. Had they shown her one more time, it would have put her spiritual effort on the same level as the priests and Jesus and I would have to have assumed that a statement was being made. As it is, perhaps a statement was being made.

What was your interpretation of this scene from the History Channel’s fourth installment of The Bible?




Categories: History Channel Bible

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2 replies

  1. I noticed that, too. However, I think the statement being made was that all the players were following their hearts to complete the actuality of Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus desperately wanted to be spared, but prayed ‘not my will, but thine, be done’. Ciaphas prayed as was his duty, and the prayer they gave him mirrored the prayer of the Pharasee in Jesus’ parable. Pilate’s wife prayed in her ignorance to the family ancestors. So all these prayers were on equal footing in that they were sincere, and from the heart. All these players were required of God to play their roles as part of the Divine Plan.


    • Thanks for the response Ben. Yeah, I don’t know if I would go so far as to include Pilate’s wife’s presumed prayer in with God’s plan, but I think the scene, barring any other purpose for it, certainly depicts that those involved in the real-life passion of Christ were so on spiritual grounds. I would include Pilate in that statement only insofar as he gave any consideration to his wife’s admonition. Of course, her praying is an assumption based on cultural norms of the time, not any scriptural evidence. She is mentioned in the following verse as having suffered in a dream because of Jesus. So, it seems fair to say she was one who was willing to make real-life decisions based on dreams.

      19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him (Matthew 27:19).”


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