SNL takes on the resurrection and divine retribution: Djesus Uncrossed #SNL #DEJESUS

February 17, 2013

Often I feel like the Grumpy Anglican. It can be a challenge to articulate Christian belief (a belief system rejected by most Americans) from an Anglican perspective (diminished by its own tendency to schism). There is, however, something about the Church of England heritage which is both necessary and beneficial to the modern world. I will try to bring that theological patience to bear in this review.

I do not generally watch SNL. In fact, I gave up on it years ago, but maybe I should get back on board. The NBC icon takes on here the currently popular revenge genre, which relies heavily on alternative versions of history. Academics spend a lot of time wondering what might have happened if; Benedict Arnold had received the promotions and respect he deserved,  Lee had won Little Round Top, the plot to kill Hitler had been successful. This is a bit different, and very disquieting, approach to the resurrection. “Djesus Uncrossed,” casts Jesus Christ in a Tarantino-directed, ultra-violent revenge flick akin to “Django Unchained.”

NOTE: The video was removed from YouTube because of copyright concerns and is, therefore, no longer available on this blog.

Please understand, I completely reject the entire vengeance theme. Haven’t any of these people read The Count of Monte Crosto? One current film presents a fantasy retaliation against slave owners. What good does that do? It is just more violence injected straight into the veins of a society with too much bloodshed and shoot-’em-ups. This SNL parody, however serves a very useful purpose in that it gives Christians a real opportunity to explain the true life-giving message of Jesus, out savior and coming king.

Jesus did not take revenge. If you carefully read the scriptures, you will notice that, after the resurrection, he never visits anybody except believers. He did not come back to confront Pilate or the Roman Emperor. He did not speak a single syllable, as far as the biblical text reports, to the Jewish authorities who instigated his arrest and execution. The risen Lord conversed with plenty of people and every one of them was just a plain old everyday loser.

This SNL skit contradicts everything that the real Jesus preached during his earthly ministry. Pay attention. It’s parody. The purpose is to make us think and ask questions. Jesus said to walk the extra mile with the man who would force you to carry his bags. The Lord said, if it is demanded, to hand over our clothing. Here is one that might cause a fist fight among some supposed believers. Jesus called on his true followers to turn the other cheek. Retaliation is absolutely forbidden to practicing Christians. Not only did Jesus  He ordered every one of us to take up our crosses and he led the way. Jesus was struck mercilessly, stripped of his clothes, and nailed to the cross, while asking forgiveness for his tormentors. Don’t feel comfortable turning the other cheek? Jesus, fully human and fully divine, did it, why are you any better?

Christians expect the resurrection of all the dead and a final judgment. Will Jesus and his disciples kick some Roman rear end? I have no idea, but the biblical record seems to suggest that Almighty God is always more generous than we deserve. It would be an enormous twisting of the scriptural message if some Christians preached the type of pitiless retribution suggested by the SNL writers. Is there any Christian who does not know, ‘Vengeance is mine says the Lord?” Yes, there is an ever-burning hell, and it is not my place to wish my enemies end up there. That is part of God’s holy discretion.

I am not offended by the skit, but I suppose some opportunists might seize on it for some powerful self-promotion. I have a soft spot for satire and parody, so this bit of creative license seems absolutely appropriate for the Lenten season. This is a powerful opportunity for thoughtful believers to introduce skeptics and seekers to Jesus, the Anointed One. He gained strength and power through the weakness of the cross. Jesus, the “turn the other cheek” Lord, is head of the church today. He is coming back in glory to complete God’s wondrous plan of reconciliation. This is very good news, especially in this difficult hour.

Don’t miss an opportunity to spread the good news. This is a real opportunity and followers of Jesus should make the best use of it.

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