Friday, December 6, 2013

Book Review: Killing Jesus

Killing Jesus. The book Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard was released on
September 17th.  I picked it up that day and read it in three nights. 

I opted not to review the book at the time, but with Christmas only a couple of weeks away I changed my mind and thought I would post my thoughts on the book. The book has been a huge best-seller with over one million copies sold to date. Not a shock considering one of its author's hosts a successful television program with loyal followers. Bill O'Reilly is a public personality you either like or don't like. Some may love and some may loathe. This review has nothing to do with Bill O'Reilly. Quite honestly, when you read a book you must go into it with a singular purpose. Do I want to turn the page or scroll down? Authors and titles become irrelevant.

O'Reilly's two prior books in this arena were Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy. Both were major best-sellers. As a U.S. history student and buff, I cannot honestly say I learned a great deal from either of those books, but in many ways that is not why you read something. With the recent 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination I managed to view 12 specials on his final days of life. That is correct.  I watched 12 specials on Kennedy's assassination story.  In one way or another, I learned at least one new thing with each passing hour of my television viewing life, so some little nugget will be processed, if not remembered for the long-haul of brain life.

I'm a Christian. The concept of killing Jesus is viewed only from the temporal, since Jesus Christ lives. Christianity is simple, yet complex.  I also know, and I say this sadly, if I had to come to Christ based on other Christians, I probably never would have approached the Cross. We have become a weak and feeble group of believers. C.S. Lewis and Oswald Chambers would not be happy thinkers if they were writing today. They were thought provoking and convicting theologians who understood man's weaknesses.

O'Reilly has said Killing Jesus is not a religious book. Well, in theory, you could say that, but whenever you decide to write about the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords you are writing on faith. You can't escape that fact. What O'Reilly and Dugard attempt to do is show the history of the time and it isn't a pretty picture.

The Roman Empire was full of brutality and heinous crimes against humanity. They were among the most pagan people that ever walked planet earth. We learn of sex consumed deviations that might not make this book a pleasant journey for some readers. Fortunately, the authors do bring it up since it needs to be brought up, but they don't relish telling us about Tiberius and his horrific acts.  Some of the Caesar's and their comrades were sex traffickers long before the term came into our vernacular. Grime of the earth. Yet, Jesus Christ loved them as much as he loves me. My sin is not any more unique than their sins.

If you have never explored any historical journeys through the Roman Empire you will learn a great deal of history through this book. Scriptures don't take us down the historical path of the times, so we need historians to explore the lives of Pontius Pilate, Herod Antipas, the high priests, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. O'Reilly and Dugard take us back long before the Roman Empire of Jesus' exact placement on earth. We receive a rather extended learning experience about Caesar Augustus and even Cleopatra. Caesar Augustus comes off smelling like a rose next to all of his successors. No wonder the Roman Empire fell. Sin and the degradation of sin overwhelmed them.  

O'Reilly is a gifted writer and he holds your attention throughout. The book is an excellent read no matter your faith allegiances. If you know little to nothing about the Roman Empire I highly recommend this book.

Jesus came to save. Pontius Pilate wanted to be excused from his order to execute, but he couldn't do that. He had the power to crucify and he did what he did.

Jesus does indeed live. In spite of myself I am going to see Him one day in all of His glory and I too will share in His glory.

Copyright Read On Read Now 2013