The life of “Jesus of Nazareth” has long been called “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” The modern mind cannot fully appreciate the realities and ever-present implications of the Jewish Passover, the Christian Holy Week, and how they meaningfully interact now as they did some 2000 or more years ago. Visual tools illustrating that historic context makes these free full-length classic movie videos further below helpful. For instance, oppression is hardly new. Tyranny and persecution has existed since the early days of human history. The struggles that some face in affordable housing, in fighting for their rights in manufactured home living, or in any other type of struggle for justice can aptly be tied to the ‘politically incorrect’ three-letter-word “sin.” You may not read that in the main pages of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Which is precisely why the story of an atheist Chicago reporter who wanted to disprove “The Case for Christ” is fascinating. Each of these three classic movie videos shed light on timeless topics. Never forget that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr worked largely with a coalition of people of faith to advance American social justice. That included Dr. King’s efforts for housing justice. So do these topics and related movies still matter? Absolutely!
A few brief words about each of these headline videos are warranted.
The Jesus of Nazareth video has several items that are not found in the Bible. That is not a slam. It is a statement of fact. For those who grew up with laptops and internet connected smartphones, imagining days gone by when there was no electricity – much less modern forms of communications – is useful to understand the richness of the Biblical narratives. For instance. The Jewish people or early Christians that lived during the biblical period before- and after-Christ knew first hand what Roman repression was like. In contrast to those ancients, we moderns need that contextual backdrop to be filled in. So the Jesus of Nazareth movie is quite faithful to the Scriptures. But it also adds what might be called short elements of historical fiction, hypothetical examples of how those biblical events took shape. Overall, it is quite well done.
Like Jesus of Nazareth, the Greatest Story Ever Told also uses many lines directly from the Bible. But it too will have nuances that some biblical purists may not immediately agree with. That said, the points made above could be applied as necessary. Both The Greatest Story Ever Told and Jesus of Nazareth have huge “all star” casts that won numerous awards.
The Case for Christ is also based on a true story. It recalls how a jaded, atheist Chicago reporter – named Lee Strobel – does a series of interviews with various medical, scientific, archeological, and religious experts. At each step he expects to be able to debunk the core beliefs of Christianity. At each step, Strobel found that the truth was not what he expected. It is the shortest of the three movies. The former atheist Strobel becomes a believer and eventually a Christian minister.
Before going further, it is useful to turn to the readings for today from the Gospel of John. These readings go to the heart of what famous author C.S. Lewis, well before that Chicago reporter, said was the summary of the arguments about Jesus.
Jesus, said Lewis, was either Lord, Liar, Or Lunatic. Since Lewis, an additional L has been added by some, that Jesus is either Lord, Legend, Liar, or Lunatic.
There is ample evidence outside of the Bible that Jesus was no legend. Jewish and Romans wrote about Jesus outside of the biblical references. There are numerous examples of archeological evidence that dates back to the biblical period. One of the most famous is found further below. There are also remarkable examples of ancient fragments of Scriptural texts that conform to the best modern Biblical texts.
That said, per the Bible Gateway, using the New International Version (NIV), is this from the Gospel of John, Chapter 20 verses 1-18. Each of he numbers before a sentence is that chapter’s ‘verse.’ It will be briefly unpacked following this reading that millions of Christians use on Easter day. The headers in black are not in the Gospel, but are human divisions to spot part of the narrative more quickly.
The Empty Tomb
20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.” ##
Note that the burial cloth of Jesus, mentioned above, is believed by millions to be the Shroud of Turin. While controversial, there are numerous scientists and medical experts that have explained in recent decades why they too believe that the Shroud depicts a crucified man and whose wounds correspond to the wounds of Jesus.
More MHLivingNews Commentary
As was noted above, there are those who think that Jesus was a ‘good man,’ a ‘wise teacher,’ or some other merely mortal figure. But believers and atheists alike could quickly point to why those notions are wrong.
If Jesus was not the Messiah, if Jesus was not the Son of God who entered into human history through the virgin birth of Jesus’ mother Mary, then Jesus is either a liar or a lunatic. Neither a liar nor a lunatic is a ‘good man’ or ‘a wise teacher.’
There are biblical verses – brought to life in the first two movies above – that make it clear that Jesus asserted himself in Scripture as ‘the Son of God,’ a co-equal to God the Father. That would seem to be blasphemy to orthodox Jews. They understandably thought of God as ‘one,’ because the Bible says God is one.
But God is one – in what sense?
In our family, for example, we are one family, but our family has three persons in it. In the Christian view, God is a Trinity of Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost). That may be analogous to a divine family.
In the first biblical book of Genesis, there are no less than three different set of verses, two of which show God referring to Himself in the plural – not the singular form. For more on that, see Genesis 1:26, Genesis 3:22 or the last part of the report linked here.
The point is that there is no disconnect between God being One and God being a Trinity. St Patrick, centuries later, explained that through the 3 leaf clover. One clover or a ‘shamrock’ has three distinctive leaves. By analogy, that three leafed but singular clover corresponds to Father, Son, and Spirit.
Why this is timeless, and thus still matters, are illustrated by these examples.
- America’s founders applied religious principles in fighting for freedom from English rule and the British crown monopolies. The Declaration of Independence specifically cites the Creator (God) as the source of our rights and liberties.
- The movement for the abolition of slavery in America – and in other lands too – was equated with a religiously inspired movement.
- The modern civil rights movement in the U.S. was also based upon the efforts of numerous leaders that spanned many faith-groups.
Other examples are possible, but those are enough to make this inquiry. The question “why does this matter” to affordable housing or any other kind of authentic advocacy?
It is difficult to imagine how a purely secular effort for affordable housing justice, manufactured homeowners’ rights, or any other kind of social or economic justice can be accomplished outside of the direct involvement of faith-inspired people.
There are millennia of examples of the importance of people of faith who were moved to make positive social changes.
Indeed, the case could be made that those who are undermining the rights of people in or out of affordable housing – meaning, those who are harming the interests of the vast majority of Americans – are being promoted by people who either have no faith. Or those rights are being ignoring by those who claim or posture faith, but who do quite the opposite of what truth faith teaches. For instance, Bill Gates may posture being Catholic. But is he really Catholic, or is he a CINO – a Catholic in Name Only? How can Gates be a serious Catholic when he embraces, takes part in, and promotes actions that are directly contrary to what his church teaches? Gates supports Democratic causes, but another Democrat – who also happens to come from a Catholic background – exposes the horrors of Gates’ work. That report linked below very much ties into the struggles for affordable housing and social justice mentioned above.
Reason and historic experience therefore suggest that it may be a fool’s errand to try to use only secular thinking to root out what is at its core violations of Divine law. In fact, it is precisely secular thinking that is contrary to God’s law and will that creates these social problems in the first place!
According to Bible.com, John 14:6 RSV reads as follows. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”” The only way to the Heavenly Father, or eternal salvation – said Jesus – was “through” his “way.” He said that in reply to the doubting Thomas, prior to his death and Resurrection.
There are modern thinkers who speak of the importance of having a balanced and holistic life. True enough. But how can you have a balanced or whole life unless the spiritual component is also in balance?
When someone comes to the realization that God is the author of all Creation – and that God did not create a universe only to abandon it to its own devices – then it stands to reason that the pressing issues of our age as well as others can find resolution only by an embrace of Godly ways. There are rewards for following God’s will just as there are consequences to ignoring or violating God’s will.
Therefore, this article and these videos will be relevant for years beyond Easter 2021. When your time permits, dig into these videos. Read the relevant Biblical passages. Check out the linked and related reports. Yes, it may take several hours. But the investment of time may save you years of otherwise painful and fruitless efforts. It is Jesus – the Crucified but Risen Messiah – who said that he “is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Postscript. Regarding first report linked below the byline and notices. Kevin Borden of MHAction was given a documented opportunity to respond to, disprove, or otherwise refute the evidence advanced in that report. He declined comment, as did his colleagues. Something similar occurred several times previously with those associated with Berkshire Hathaway and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). A documented example of that is linked here.
Put differently, those allegations stand publicly unchallenged at this time.
That’s a wrap on this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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