04.06.18

Superstar?

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:17 pm by Administrator

Jesus Christ Superstar came out in 1973, the same year I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. There was a lot of buzz about that production, but as a new believer in Christ it just didn’t sound right to me. Jesus wasn’t a superstar. He was a savior. And he was the Lord of the universe. I didn’t think Superstar was a very respectful title, so I didn’t bother watching it.
With the recent release of the new production the questions resurfaced after seeing long-time, respected, Christian friends, some ministers and pastors, raving about what a great production it was. Then talking with a friend who recently appeared in a local production, he offered to loan me his DVD of the original production. So I watched it and sadly my expectations were fulfilled. I tried to watch with an objective View, but it’s hard to be objective when your best friend is being depicted inaccurately.
So here’s my take on Jesus Christ Superstar:
1. The opening narrative has Judas challenging, questioning, and accusing Jesus of being unbalanced, going too far and sabotaging the whole project. Now, Judas was a bad guy. He betrayed Jesus in the end. And additional comments indicate that he was dishonest and misunderstood Jesus’ priorities. But I see no biblical evidence of him challenging or undermining Jesus except for the instance where the perfume was poured over his head, which was a minor incident. (John 12:4)
2. The second thing that struck me was Mary Magdalene constantly rubbing and draping herself on Jesus. And Jesus didn’t seem to be bothered by it. Now we must remember that Mary Magdalene was a reformed prostitute. As such, she would have avoided any suggestive behavior, especially toward the man who had informed her. It must also be noted also, that in this ancient Jewish culture, men and women did not touch each other unless they were married. It would have been very improper and offensive for Mary to have her hands all over Jesus and for him not to put a stop to it.
3. Throughout this production Jesus was unsure, questioning himself, discouraged and frustrated. Nowhere in the biblical account do we see Jesus unsure of himself, questioning whether he is the Son of God, or questioning whether his ministry is effective. This travesty has Jesus crying out to God. “I gave it my best for 3 years”, as if he had failed. In another scene, Jesus said to his disciples, “None of you will remember me 10 minutes after I’m dead.” Again he says, “None of you really cares if I live or die.” In The Garden of Gethsemane Jesus is questioning why he has to die.
I find these things very disturbing, because Jesus never questioned who he was. He never questioned his ministry. Sure, he probably got frustrated with these thick headed disciples. But he never suggested that he would be forgotten or that he was a failure. Jesus knew who he was and why he came. He knew his mission was to die, to give his life as a ransom for the souls of mankind. (Matthew 17:22-23) There was no question in his heart or in his mind. What we see in the Gethsemane account is his flesh crying out for survival. Nobody looks forward to torture and humiliation on a cross. Even though Jesus knew it had to be, his flesh still dreaded it. After 45 years of living and preaching the Gospel, I believe I can say with some authority that Jesus was not questioning whether there was another way. Rather, he was confirming that there was no other way to save mankind, to wash away sin. Jesus knew the price of sin and he knew the price he had to pay. And he know he was the only one who could pay it. He had already prophesied it and the prophets had spoken of it centuries before. (Isaiah 53:3-6) So there was no question or hesitation in Jesus, whatsoever.
4. In his frequent discouragement (in the play), it appears that Mary Magdalene was always there to encourage him and push him on. Where did that come from? Certainly not from the Gospels. Certainly not from the historian, Josephus, or anyone else. It was a Hollywood fabrication to add a little sex appeal to the production. To suggest that Mary Magdalene and possibly others followed Jesus for romantic reasons destroys much credibility.
5. Going back to Judas, it seems to me that he was the star of the show, not Jesus. Okay I can buy that they were telling the story from judas’s viewpoint. But if one wants to honor the Gospel and honor the Lord Jesus, why does the bad disciple have the leading role instead of focusing on all the good that the others did. The other disciples were pretty much depicted as a bunch of wimps. These were the men who turned the world upside down after the crucifixion and resurrection. (Acts 17:6) they suffered persecution, torture, and death for what they believe about Jesus
6. In yet another of the closing scenes Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Can’t you see that it’s all over? Just go back to fishing.” Jesus never said anything like that or suggested anything like that. The disciples obviously thought it was over and were confused by that. But Jesus never suggested it was over. He knew he was coming back.
7. Throughout this whole production Jesus refuses to acknowledge who he really is. I can cite multiple times in the Gospels where Jesus confirmed who he was, or others confirmed it, and he didn’t deny it. (John 10:36; John 5:19; John 20:28-29; Matthew 16:13-17; Mark 5:7; Matthew 26:63-64; Mark 14:61-62; Luke 22:69-70; John 18:36)
8. In one of the final scenes one of the leaders suggested the Jesus that he was the Son of God and Jesus said, “Your words not mine.” That is certainly not in Scripture. Jesus said, “You have said so”, is not the same as saying, “Your words not mine”, which suggests a denial.
9. Finally the production ends with no Resurrection. Without a resurrection, what was the point? Jesus Christ Superstar appears to be the story of a delusional man who failed in his mission and ended up dying on a cross. That is not the story of Jesus Christ. If Hollywood wants to tell Fairy Tales, let them stick with Pinocchio and Moby-Dick and leave my Lord and Savior out of it.

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