Nothing objectionable and much to be commended

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Picking up where the acclaimed JESUS OF NAZARETH left off, A.D. vividly recreates the turbulent years following the death of Christ.

When Jesus was crucified on a hill outside of Jerusalem in the year 30 A.D. (the Year of the Lord), the world was a place of intense conflict. The Roman Empire extended from Persia in the east to Gaul, Germany and Spain with military garrisons and appointed governors keeping peace as best they could. Peace was fragile, with bands of freedom fighters trying to drive the occupying legions back to Rome.

Rome was ruled by emperors; many were tyrants. The Roman Senate often maintained order as madness and perversion spread throughout the government. Battles between the Emperors and the Senate were often verbal; at times, physical. The Emperor Claudius had 40 Senators murdered. Nero was so horrible that the Senate voted to have him arrested, whipped and crucified. Nero committed suicide before the sentence could be carried out.

The religion of the people had degenerated into a superstitious mixture of Roman, Greek and Eastern religions. Several Emperors had themselves declared gods and oversaw the construction of temples in their honor.

Rome ruled the territory known as Judea. A series of governors, the most famous of which was Pontius Pilate, tried to maintain order by appeasing the religious leaders and allowing a local king to act as a figurehead. Jewish zealots were active during the entire Roman rule.

A.D. opens as Roman soldiers take down the cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified, two men pass by. As they walk on, they encounter a “stranger” who accompanies them to the town of Emmaus for a Passover meal. When the men notice the marks of nails on the stranger’s hands, they fall to their knees. The stranger is Jesus Christ. He tells them not to fear: he has risen and promises them eternal life.

In Jerusalem, there is strife and fear. Followers of Christ, fearing for their lives, hide from the Romans. After the two men from Emmaus report that Christ has risen, Jesus appears before a gathering of his faithful including his mother Mary and the apostle Peter. Meanwhile, Saul of Tarsus is persecuting the church as Stephen, a Hellenist Jew, supports it.

Although the Jews were never comfortable with Roman rule, an uneasy truce was maintained until the Emperor Caligua attempted to force a statue of himself as a god in the Temple at Jerusalem. Caligua died before the order was carried out, but fears of rebellion and rioting were widespread since the Temple represented the center of the Jewish faith. It was the year 66 A.D. that the peace was finally broken and Judea went into open revolt against Rome. The rebels suffered heavy casualties. The Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman legions.

The years of A.D. were years in which the three very different groups — the Romans, the Jews and the Christians — met in a conflict that often led to suffering and bloodshed, but was ultimately a battle won by the faith and love of those who followed after Jesus, the Christ. Jerusalem was ultimately overrun, the Temple destroyed. Rome decayed from the inside and collapsed in ruins. The Christian faith grew and became stronger as the life-changing love of Christ was shared and multiplied.

In this magnificent television production, you will: rejoice with Christ’s disciples at Pentecost; cry with them at the stoning of Stephen; see the church grow as Paul is dramatically converted; watch the message spread to the Gentiles; finally, witness the great triumph of the church despite persecution by Roman rulers and the martyrdom of Peter and Paul.

A.D. should be seen by every Christian. You must pay attention because A.D. cuts back and forth between the stories of the Christians, the Jews and the Romans.

There are a few jumps in continuity because A.D. has been edited for church use by excising some of the depravity and earthier scenes of life in the Roman Empire. These scenes would offend some Christians even though they did present graphically the context in which the church was persecuted and grew.

In general, this is an excellent $30 million production. The photography is magnificent, the acting superb, and the production design is incomparable.

A.D. will entertain and captivate audiences from 6 to 60, and introduce many to Jesus Christ. My sons (4, 7 and 9) loved it so much that they want to see it again and again. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE commends A.D. as a great tool for evangelism and discipling.

Quality: - Content: +4
Watch THE SNOOPY SHOW: Season Three
Quality: - Content: +2