JESUS OF NAZARETH – REEL TALK from the Hungry IPublished December 27, 2017
One of the best mini-series ever produced for television is JESUS OF NAZARETH. Each time I watch it I love it more for it’s gentle and introspective look at the daily life of a man whose personal burden no other human could imagine then or now. The story is not perfect, but as told by director Franco Zeffirelli in the min-series format it is excellent because there is time to dwell on certain key points.
One of those is the kingdom or nature of HEAVEN. One of the earliest lessons given by Jesus Bar Joseph in the film is depicted after he has made a public display of friendship for Levy-Matthew, a reviled tax collector. He deftly arranges an invitation to have supper at Matthews house which is an unthinkable error in judgement according to the Purity Codes that kept “sinners” and the “righteous” apart. Even after this is pointed out to him Jesus insists on going. His newest disciple, Peter cannot tolerate the idea of the holy man entering the home of a man they all hate, and so he refuses to be involved.
The scene is set as Jesus approaches and then actually enters the tax collectors home. There are many guests that are pleased and baffled that this latest celebrity is among them. Jesus rejects being given a favored seat and chooses another seat nearby. He’s always teaching.
Outside the houses’ entrance the curious gather, including Jesus’ followers. They will not cross the threshold of a sinners house. Earlier that day Jesus had told them that the Kingdom of Heaven was within each of them. They had heard that before and no doubt thought they understood it.
The turning point develops as Peter’s restless and guilty spirit drives him to seek the others, and he soon appears at Matthews abode. The Teacher, Jesus, is just beginning to relate the story of the Prodigal Son. His audience is enraptured as he eloquently illustrates the anguish of the prodigal son and the great joy of his father upon his younger sons’ return. He further recounts the anger of the older, loyal son at discovering that his father had called for a great banquet to honor the brother he thought should remain an outcast!
The directors camera lens focuses on Peter in the doorway. The words of Jesus pierce his consciousness. The Teachers story continues as the father explains to his angry son that he truly loves them both, but he rejoices now because the son he considered dead, has repented of his errors and returned to life with his family!
Peter gets the message loud and clear. He slowly walks into the Tax Collectors home. He embraces Matthew, the man he hated, as Jesus looks on. Matthew is also affected and begins to understand what is happening. The Kingdom of Heaven is appearing on Earth. Jesus is healing those who are sick in Spirit.
The Mind of Man is the Womb for Gods’ Seed. The Kingdom of Heaven Within becomes the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, as we let go of who we THINK we are, and begin to understand that we are ALL children of the same FATHER.