Photo courtesy of CNN
"Finding Jesus" discovers fascinating new insights into the historical Jesus, utilizing the latest scientific techniques and archaeological research.
March 9, 2017 – A United Methodist bishop contributes to several new episodes in a television series about notable individuals and events during the time of Jesus.
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, from the California-Nevada Annual Conference, provides expert commentary in the latest season of “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery” airing Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.
In each show, scholars and clergy examine what the Bible tells about the historical Jesus. The producers combine these discussions with footage of archaeological discoveries of potentially key artifacts and reenactments of notable events during this period.
“Archaeology and historical research work fascinate me,” says Bishop Carcaño. “I am always open to learning more. It helps to strengthen my biblical scholarship, which helps me with my preaching and my teaching. The archaeological and historical work cause us to stop and reflect on Scripture in a different way.”
The March 12 episode, “Raising Lazarus,” examines the events surrounding Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead and includes what archaeologists say may be the final resting place of Lazarus.
Carcaño speaks passionately in the episode about what Martha and Mary, Lazarus’s sisters, might have felt when they buried him.
“The death of Lazarus must have been a desolate moment,” she says. “They knew he was dead. They knew there was no life left in him. It was the custom that you bind someone’s face knowing that there is no longer any breath or possibility (of breath). And so, it was the end for their brother.”
She goes on to say that this miracle was a turning point in the ministry of Jesus.
“I believe that Jesus resurrected Lazarus out of compassion and mercy towards this beloved family, this beloved friend. I also believe that Jesus knows that it is time; it is time for him to show the fullness of God within him, even if it causes him his life.”
"Finding Jesus" discovers fascinating new insights into the historical Jesus, utilizing the latest scientific techniques and archaeological research. Illustration from CNN.
“Jesus has a real sense of destiny in John’s gospel,” says Mark Goodacre, a New Testament scholar and professor at Duke University's Department of Religion, who also provides commentary in this episode. “There’s no way that he is going to allow even the most important requests from his close friends to interfere with that destiny and the path that God set before him. He knows that this could lead him into trouble, into persecution on a path that ultimately leads to the cross.”
The second season of “Finding Jesus” has attracted good viewership numbers, especially with adults age 18-34. Bishop Carcaño believes that United Methodists can learn a great deal about Jesus’ life from the historical research.
In an upcoming episode, “The Boyhood Home of Jesus,” she states “The series can make a difference in how we reflect upon Scripture. If in fact this is the boyhood home of Jesus, it would be amazing and wonderful to touch something that Jesus touched. We all have the human tendency to touch, to know more through our senses, but ultimately it is about faith. We need to have a balance between the human need for the tangible and our faith. In this balance, we can feel the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”
During the season of Lent, when we are taking more time to examine our conscience, read more Scripture, and practice acts of kindness and sacrifice, there is value in learning more about the life of Jesus.
“This series and other archaeological and historical research are tremendous resources for finding Jesus anew,” says Carcaño. “We learn more about the day and age in which Jesus grew up, what human suffering he endured. Understanding how Jesus lived can help us know how we should live. It informs us how to be better disciples in this world.”
Carcaño provides commentary in three episodes: "Raising Lazarus" (March 12), "The Childhood Home of Jesus" (March 19) and "The Tomb of King Herod" (March 26). Additional episodes in the second season are "The Pilate Stone" (March 5), "The Bones of St. Peter" (April 2), and "Doubting Thomas" (April 9).
“Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.
Christopher Fenoglio is managing editor for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. This article was distributed via UMC.org.