These were, in essence, the closing words from the 1977 made for television movie, Jesus of Nazareth. Having seen it a number of times in its entirety, and the resurrection section even more often, I still consider the best video presentation of the life of Jesus.
The production was directed by Franco Zeffirilli and starred Robert Powell as Jesus along with other more notable actors such as Olivia Hussey( Mary) Ernest Borgnine, Anne Bancroft, James Earl Jones, Rod Steiger ( a great Pontius Pilate) and Michael York ( John the Baptist) among others.
It was a two-part series that was annually aired every Easter for a number of years. I appreciated the reverence with which it was done as well as its faithfulness to the biblical record.
A number of things intrigued me but I will for obvious reasons focus on the resurrection section. It was almost underplayed, nothing flashy or dramatic, just an empty tomb with , a bit incongruously, an angel with an English giving the miraculous , unbelievable biblical quote ”Why do you seek the living among the dead? Jesus is not here. And the dramatic footage of an empty tome holding abandoned grave-clothes. The scene always spoke volumes to me. ( Had a kind of Jack Webb quality, just the facts)
But now the title quote. It was spoken by an extrabiblical character,an official of the Jewish temple. It was made in response to the reports that Jesus was not in the tomb. As best I remember, his character was a skeptic, but all the same, he knew something earthshaking had happened and things would never be the same.
His statement is not a bad response to the sermon title I saw this week on a local church sign, ” What does Easter mean to you? ” Yep, and so it began and so it continues today!
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