The episode begins with Atticus warning Quintas about the ever increasing fame of Jesus the Nazareth and that he could be a threat to the Romans.
And as the story unfolds, we are shown the disciples fighting over who will go fishing and to decide this, play a rock throwing contest. The sons of Thunder (James and John) win and go ahead to listen to Jesus explaining the importance of the Sermon on the Mount and how it is meant to prepare his disciples. He emphasises on the “why” of the sermon which is the truth about Jesus’ entire ministry. He also adds that these would not be first time listeners but his followers who know him and who have witnessed his signs and wonders. He wants to have a personal conversation with each one, just as John the Baptist would have in his sermons.
Shmuel the Pharisee visits an old friend, Yosef, another Pharisee. He inquires about the Ethiopian woman who was a witness to Jesus’ healing of the paralytic at Zebedee’s house. Shmuel believes she could provide evidence for his case against Jesus. Yosef tries to redirect Shmuel attention away from focusing on Jesus, but is unsuccessful. When we watch this episode, today in 2023, we may think the Pharisees were rigid in their faith and beliefs and were focused only on the Law. We can be the lost souls in this same sense; when you try to do right by God but in the bargain create a checklist of what we need to do, to be a good Christian. Actually Christianity is not a religion, but is about holding/building a personal relationship with God.
The focus again shifts and Atticus is shown influencing the Romans, imputing fear of a new revolution Jesus was creating through his signs and wonders. He knows Jesus is harmful and is vocal and clear about this, but he is also aware of the Jesus movement possibly speed balling into a political movement and become a threat to Rome. This terrifies Atticus. How many times do we come across such extraordinary things/people and choose to fear instead of having faith in them! Here’s where we can ask God to help us. In reality we may never know the right response to anything. What is right today, may end up being wrong tomorrow, and the opposite is also is a possibility. We need to get into a conversation with God, and ask him to respond to such moments correctly, his grace to respond in correct faith to the present unknown, that’s when we will truly experience Jesus.
With Simon and Andrew preparing to fish, Andrew in his fear and anger expresses his feelings, his thoughts about some of the disciples actions when they were troubled, that he thought wouldn’t happen if they opened themselves to Jesus. Andrew blamed everyone but himself. here Simon Peter beautifully points out that even in his ill choices, at wrong choices at unexpected roads, they all led him to Jesus. It shows us that God is faithful, and He will show up and lift us at unexpected places and times in our lives, what is asked of us is that we hold on to Jesus through are faith in Him, and expect to see His goodness to save us. Andrew’s fear and anger is a mirror to how many of us feel even today about our loved ones, when they don’t act in a certain way or behave in a manner which we don’t understand. But the important thing to note is that fear does not come from God. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, ‘For God did not confer on us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of strength, love and good judgement.’
Atticus and Gaius are shown heading to bring Jesus in for questioning. And when they arrive, Gaius asks Jesus to come quietly. Jesus agrees, says goodbye to his mother, tells those around not to be afraid and that he will be back. Once He’s lead away, his disciples feel they have let Jesus down and get into a heated argument berating each other. Being consumed by fear Andrew heads out to look for Jesus and Philip accompanies him.
When Jesus is brought before Quintas, he wonders why Jesus doesn’t look crazy with wild hair and animal skins. He thought Jesus would look much like John the Baptist. He tells Jesus a fish story and compares him to the meat, skin, and bones. There are many Christians today, defending their faith and standing up for what they believe. Many are being arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and even dying for their faith. If we are questioned about our faith, our fear and love to safeguard our families may keep us from professing our faith boldly. We need to be confident that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words to say and the strength to face any circumstance or evil, and this is crucial yet difficult for most of us. Even as our Lord and Master Jesus had it difficult, so will we, and let us not shy away from this reality.
Nicodemus’ disciple, the Pharisee Yosef, is more in line with his teachers thoughts and ideas. Shemuel is another of Nicodemus’ disciples but he believes Jesus to be fake – because he misinterprets from a false sense of righteousness, Jesus’ actions of performing miracles on the Sabbath and also Jesus’ new perspective of looking at the Law, is revolting to him. He is not alone in this, the larger Pharisaical Community also shares his views. In the midst of the the turmoil amongst Jesus’ disciples regarding His arrest, Yosef reaches out to Andrew and the Ethiopian woman and asks them to hide and lay low, because he knows of Shemuel’s plans to seek witnesses to make trouble for Jesus.
Jesus returns back to his disciples, without any trouble from the Romans, just as He said he would, but does not head back to camp right away. Jesus is shown informing his disciples that things are only going to become more difficult as time goes on and they can’t just shut down when they are afraid, but need to continue doing what they are called to do.
Jesus states, when in fear and anxiety, prayer is the first step to getting the mind and the heart right. It is so important for our minds and hearts not only to be at rest but in unity and in understanding of God’s will, and this can only happen through prayer. As humans we tend to lean on our own understanding and knowledge of things, our own feelings, which could lead us to make decisions which could be wrong. While facts are often important over what one feels, when deciding on a certain path, it also means we don’t have to wait for a sign.
- Proverbs 3:5-6
- Matthew 6:5
- Luke 6:37
- Matthew 6:9-13
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO REFLECT:
- Andrew’s fear is paralyzing his perspective. Jesus tells him, “You can’t just shut down when you’re fearful. What will you do when I’m no longer here?” How have you struggled with fear and has it impacted on your life? How have you seen fear impact others and the church?
- Jesus’ constant calmness (and his modeling solitary prayer) convinces the disciples to ask Him to teach them how to pray. How did this scene impact you.
** Please note this episode review is also inspired from other comments and reviews on the net. More specifically (www.thebibleartist.com, northstarfamily.org)
Do leave your thoughts and comments below.