Indulge me. Let me tell you of a scene in a television series and how I was blessed by it after preparing the recent sermon ‘Up On the Roof.’ I had pointed out the seven times, and their consequences, in the Bible where someone goes up on a roof:
- Rahab – looking for safety;
- Saul – looking for a way out;
- David – looking for a demanded domination;
- Absalom – looking for a displayed domination;
- The Shunamite and Elisha – looking for blessings in service;
- The Paralysed Man – looking for healing;
- Peter – looking for sustenance.
I was deeply impacted by what I found as I studied: that we all have rooftop moments in our lives and what is important is our own heart attitude; our own reasons and reactions in how we approach Jesus. In a sense, researching and delivering that sermon involved one of my own rooftop moments.
The television series is The Chosen, depicting the life and times of Jesus and his followers and the impact of Jesus on those who encountered Him. It’s a blockbuster, quality tv series following the gospels but made off-system; a media project financed not by investor moguls, but by the largest ever crowd-funding. It does not follow the money; it seeks the truth. Authentically and faithfully it follows the Bible, and if a scene or conversation is not expressly in Scripture, it looks not just at what was possible, but what is plausible.
The Chosen team has expert advisers in faith, culture and history, including a Messianic Rabbi, a Roman Catholic Priest and an Evangelical Christian leader. I urge everyone to try it; it’s on YouTube and free on www.thechosen.tv – as Jesus said, `Come and see.‘ (John 1:39). Indeed, that has been one of the taglines of The Chosen.
Relaxing after preparing the sermon, I watched my next episode of The Chosen. In it, there is perhaps the most famous line in the Bible: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16). Jesus speaks these words to Nicodemus, introduced just before:
‘Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”’(John 3:1-2)
The Biblical context is clear: Nicodemus acknowledging Jesus for who He is and asking about being born again in the spirit. The cultural context is clear: a Pharisee would not be seen with Jesus (it is recorded that Nicodemus came at night). And the historical context is clear: houses had flat roofs and were ideal secluded places for quiet meetings at night.
And so I was blessed when I saw that the scene was portrayed occurring on a roof. Not expressly scriptural, and not merely possible but actually plausible. Nicodemus was looking for the Messiah, Jesus and he found Him, up there on that roof. (Photo © The Chosen.)
Find the rooftops in your life and encounter Jesus. Find The Chosen and watch it.
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. (Matthew 10:27)
[from Timothy Pitt]