Hannah I have been watching the new NBC series, “A.D. The Bible Continues”, and we have really been liking it. I like how it puts a lot of the story of the early church into the history of the day, especially the tension with the Jewish and Roman authorities, and the rising threat of the Zealots (who would later rise up in war against the Romans, which led to the destruction of the Temple by the Romans). I like how the writers creatively solve some of the Bible’s riddles. In Matthew the final resurrection appearance is on a mountain, but in Luke they are waiting in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The show writes the disciples as starting in Jerusalem, then to Galilee for the Great Commission, then Jesus calls them to go back to Jerusalem – even at great danger to themselves. This is a good (and possible) explanation, and also shows the peril the disciples took in obeying His command.
I also like some of the creative liberties the show takes. For example, in the last episode they hinted that Stephen and Peter’s daughter had romantic interest. There is nothing about this in the Bible, but it is not impossible, either. I like that they have a diverse cast (though historically, of course, all the Jews were … Jewish; the tension among the Jews of the day was how they dressed and spoke – like Jews or like Greeks/Romans). There are also some creative liberties that are just too far off history for me. Some things are smaller – like a woman publicly reprimanding her Roman husband (that would have never happened in the history of the time). They also cast Caiaphas as a younger man – when in fact the elders of Israel were … elders! And some things are bigger – like Pilate shoving a dead man’s ashes into Caiaphas’ mouth. Pilate is not known in history for being a great guy – but this is taking it too far. The Jews had been granted official religious freedom, and the high priest was a highly influential and powerful character – Pilate could have been arrested and killed for an action like this.
All in all, though, it has been a great series, and I am looking forward to more. I love that the story of the early Christians is being told without watering down our faith. It is a powerful story! I am hopeful the series will get continued into multiple seasons so they can make their way through the entire book of Acts, and maybe even beyond. God is still working today, and continuing His story in us!