(Photo Credit: Joe Alblas)
"The Bible" episode four aired Sunday evening on The History Channel and showed Jesus becoming more popular among the people.
As Jesus enters a village, the children and adults abandon a Pharisee who was teaching them and flock to Jesus, with the children shouting, "It's Jesus!" This visibly upsets the Pharisee. Jesus and the crowd settle into another courtyard and he teaches them the parable of the Kingdom of God being like a mustard seed. As Jesus teaches them, a group of friends lower their paralyzed friend through the rooftop. Disciple Peter carries the paralyzed man to Jesus, who tells the paralyzed man "Your sins have been forgiven my son."
The Pharisee from earlier takes the opportunity to challenge Jesus, accusing him of blasphemy. But Jesus responds, "Which is easier to say, that his sins are forgiven or to say get up and walk?" With the help of Jesus, the paralyzed man is able to stand up and walk, and the people and the disciples are amazed at Jesus' power.
As Jesus and his disciples walk out, the Pharisee challenges Peter by asking by what authority can Jesus forgive because only God can forgive, so Jesus will be stoned for this. But Peter retorts, "This is just the beginning."
Jesus disciples keep growing in number and he goes town to town preaching. In one scene, a leper walks towards Jesus, covered in rags and his face wrapped in bloody gauze, and he is clearly disfigured from the disease. People tell Jesus to not touch him, but with compassion in his eyes, Jesus approaches him and touches him, healing the leper in front of everyone.
One of the more touching scenes of episode 4 is the recruitment of the disciple Matthew, a tax collector scorned by Jews as a traitor for collecting money from his own people for Rome. The same Pharisee from earlier says to Jesus as they near an area with tax collectors, "stinking vermin, you should keep your distance from him (Matthew)."
But Jesus responds by delivering a sermon right then and there, saying that there are two men who went to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee prayed to God that he is thankful he is not like the other man, thieves, adulterer, or this tax collector. But the tax collector couldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, and said, "God have mercy on me. I am a sinner."
Matthew listens intently with tears in his eyes as his emotions well up as he identifies with the shame that Jesus is speaking of. Matthew actually completes Jesus' story, saying "God have mercy on me. I am a sinner."
Jesus concluded that God blesses the tax collector, not the Pharisee because anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be praised. Matthew is recruited and he follows Jesus.
In an interesting scene soon after, the disciples are arguing, with Thomas and some of the other disciples unhappy that a tax collector is now among their group. But Mary Magdalene and another disciple defends Jesus and Matthew, saying that Jesus came for the sinners, he came to give them a second chance.
Episode 4 also includes the scene in John 8 about the adulteress woman whom the Pharisees wanted to stone, and Jesus teaching his disciples on the mountain how to pray the Lord's Prayer. Nicodemus the Pharisee, who has a deep conversation with Jesus, is also introduced in this episode.
A spectacular scene in this episode is when Jesus feeds the 5,000 people. The camera pulls back after Jesus steps off the boat and we see just thousands of people on the beach waiting to greet Jesus. The viewers feel overwhelm like Jesus must have as he is greeted by this massive crowd of people.
For "The Bible" Episode 4 summary, Part 2, click here.