Day #27: Friday, March 27

Netflix Weekend  

Messiah: Episode 7  

Clip: 00:00 – 11:30  

Old Testament: Daniel 7:24-27 

New Testament: Mark 13:1-27 

Practice: Solitude  

Music: “I Come to the Garden Alone” by Mahalia Jackson; “Never Grow Old” by the Harding University Concert Choir;  “So Will I (100 Billion X)” by Hillsong 

During this extended clip of Messiah, we are shown several different reactions to the messiah figure, Al-Masih, walking on water at the Washington Monument. A movement is beginning to take shape, and each character must choose for themselves how they will accept what they’ve seen. Will they join the movement or is the movement a sham that needs to be put to bed? The image of Al-Masih crossing the famous pond at the heart of America’s capital is striking, but as the characters try to process what their eyes have seen, we see many of the very reactions on display that are in the Bible when people were confronted with the person of Jesus.  

The opening scene highlights the age of skepticism that we have come to embrace in our world today. It once seemed that video cameras and live television footage would provide the ultimate evidence for truth. However, we more recently have been trained to doubt what our eyes tell us. We have learned that foreign governments and other agencies intentionally distribute false information in order to distort reality and cause us to question the very things that our eyes are telling us is the truth. It’s hard to know what or who to believe anymore.  

We can appreciate the sentiment from Pilate in John 18:30 when he asks Jesus, “What is truth?” That seems to be the same question the characters watching Jesus walk on water are asking. Is this true? Can this be? Is this just another media trick? Is this just another sleight of hand? The thing that really stands out to me in this clip from Messiah is the way it shows how open the public is to the idea that something major might be taking place. There is skepticism, to be sure, but there is also hope. Generally, I think most of us are open to the idea that there is something bigger than ourselves at work in the world around us and would jump at the opportunity to be a part of it. That helps explain why people are so drawn to “movements” – the environmental movement and the Civil Rights movement are both examples of believing that there is a higher calling and more profound purpose to life than simply dog-eat-dog.   

That’s why Jesus causes such a stir in first-century Palestine. When he makes the claim, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT), this is no small promise. Or when he claims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 NLT) a few chapters later, he is making a claim that speaks to those deepest longings in each of us. Try to find some time in solitude today – just you and God. Jesus makes some pretty bold claims that still resonate all these years later. How does your faith in Jesus connect to your deepest longings? How is he the way, the truth, and the life for you?  

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