Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s television series A.D. continued this week with episode 10 “Brothers in Arms.” We asked for your questions. The following are brief responses to top questions.
Find video clips related to this episode and additional resources at jashow.org/ad-series.
Would James really have known about Jesus at the temple at age twelve?
Though James was a younger brother of Jesus, he was likely alive by the time Jesus was twelve. Of course, losing your brother for three days would have also been a major event long remembered by those in the family. James may or may not have been in Jerusalem with his family on this trip, but the portrayal is at least a plausible or possible portrayal.
The one difference is that Luke 2:46 says it was Joseph and Mary who found Jesus at the temple, not James: “After three days they [Joseph and Mary] found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” James may have been there as well, but this is more to help introduce James as a leader in the church and character in the series.
Did Caiaphas attempt to bring Saul back to the Jewish faith?
This is an addition to the series not found in Scripture. However, a great line is said by Saul in this scene. Saul tells Caiaphas, “You cannot forgive me. Only Jesus can do that.”
In a later scene, Saul confesses his salvation and declares no need for the temple of Caiaphas a high priest.
Was James really a Jewish rabbi?
James was not a Levite (like Jesus, he was from the tribe of Judah), but the Jewish historian Josephus noted James was “Torah true.” He was a man well versed in the Jewish Torah and obeyed its teachings. After the resurrection, James was listed as one of the witnesses who saw Jesus alive (1 Corinthians 15:7).
James is later shown as the leader of the church at Jerusalem. Acts 15 shows James along with Peter and Paul as one of the top voices leading the church at this time.
Did Simon the Zealot nearly return to the Zealots during the time of Caligula?
While it is possible Simon still wrestled with his views at times following the resurrection, this episode’s portrayal of Simon seriously considering a return to the Zealots is an added addition to the series. In fact, Simon the Zealot is only mentioned in Scripture when all of the apostles were listed together (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).
Did Caiaphas and James the brother of Jesus talk together to negotiate the end of Christian persecution?
This addition to the television storyline is not found in Scripture. Instead, the scene shows the tension between James, Saul/Paul, and Caiaphas. In fact, early Christian theology did show there was some early tension between James and Paul regarding salvation to those beyond the Jews (Acts 15).
Did the Ethiopian eunuch receive a scroll of Isaiah from Caiaphas?
This act is not recorded in Scripture, yet clearly offers an explanation to how he received a scroll when he speaks with Philip in Acts 8. Verses 27-28 share, “This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.” As a future episode will show, this Ethiopian is a key person in the early growth of Christianity beyond the Jews.
Was there really a death threat against Saul in Jerusalem?
Acts 9:28-30 reveals, “So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.” While the details are not given, the fact is clear—Saul was a marked man.
For articles on the other episodes in this series, helpful videos, and other resources, visit jashow.org/ad-series.