Did SNL’s portrayal of Jesus cross the line?
When “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend decided to do a skit based on Quentin Tarantino’s recent film “Django Unchained,” many Christians were sent into an uproar. “DJesus Uncrossed” featured our Lord Jesus Christ as a gun-slinging warrior who, after rising from the dead and leaving the tomb, decides to get revenge on the Romans who crucified him.
Sometimes the difference between satire and something that is offensive is not a large gap. Jesus was, and is, a peacemaker of the world. The act of him raging war and slaying his enemies with guns and swords on screen was quite the juxtaposition. Jesus as a soldier is obviously not the first image that pops into our heads when we think of his ministries of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and sheltering the homeless.
The reason this skit was humorous, however, was because of that contrast. The thought of Jesus killing the Romans is so outrageous that there is a comedic side to it. We know that this is not what happened. In Luke 23:34 Jesus’ gentle and forgiving approach to the crucifixion is shown. As he was on the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” Even if the skit was a little tasteless and offensive to some of its Christian viewers, SNL does have the right to say what it wants to. As unfortunate as this may be, freedom of speech protects their right to stir the pot. They are not the first time (and will definitely not be the last) someone has used religious views to cause tempers flare to over the presentation of religion. Family Guy's "Passion of the Christ 2" and SNL's "Retirement Ad" are both examples of this.
Instead of taking the time to be offended by the skit, I think this is a great opportunity to show everyone who Jesus really was. He was not some revenge-seeking, gun-wielding warrior but a man whose commandment was to love one's enemies. If someone mentions this skit with rude remarks, simply turn the other cheek and share with them the ministry of the true Jesus Christ. This is the Jesus we need to show people. This is who they need to know.