Tonight, NBC airs episode two of “A.D.: The Bible Continues,” in which Jesus’ Apostles and disciples must move beyond the Lord’s Crucifixion and deal with His Resurrection and all that implies for their futures and that of the world.
Chief among these is Simon, now called Peter, an ordinary Galilean fisherman who now finds himself the leader of a movement that has suddenly become far more than he ever dreamed it would be — and in turn, becomes more himself then he thought possible.
Speaking after a press event in Pasadena, California, in January, British actor Adam Levy (at right, above), who plays Peter, said, “Peter is just a worker, he’s a fisherman, and he’s illiterate. That’s the premise. He’s never written anything. The thing is, if you talk in the language of workers, everybody will hear you. If you talk in the language of scholars, only scholars will hear you.
“So, I think Jesus needed somebody to stand up and say, ‘I can talk to everyone.’ At that point, Peter doesn’t know that. He didn’t know he could speak. Within the first, three, four hours [of the series], he finds his voice.”
Gambian actor Babou Ceesay (at left, above), who plays John — the Apostle who stood at the foot of the Cross — said at the press conference:
The most powerful thing that comes out of “A.D.” for me is this idea that, once the Crucifixion happens and after the Resurrection, the message is left in the hands of people, just people, against the might of Rome, against a completely different ideology, a very simple message, one that’s not popular, that’s just, “show some love, some patience.”
And this small group of people did actually change the world, through a series of luck, faith, courage. We talk about dying all the time. “We’re going to die today. We’re going to die tomorrow for sure.”
Levy then added:
Peter holds the secret that Jesus told him, that, “You will die for me.” I can’t tell the rest of the gang, because they might run.
After the press conference, Ceesay said, “The first few episodes are all about post-Crucifixion. There’s not much space for anything but support, warmth and courage. In later episodes, the part becomes funny, but in those moments, he takes a space between something happening and a response, whereas other people, something happens, they respond.
“Something happens, he’ll think about it, realize that it means nothing in the big scene of things. I have lots of moments where Peter’s doubting, Thomas is doubting, and at end of it all, I’ll just go, ‘End this.'”
Also, today the first episode of the Web companion series “Beyond A.D.” became available at NBC.com and through other place. Click here to learn more about that at Pax Culturati, my blog at Patheos — and see what premiere-episode guest, former NFL QB Kurt Warner, has to say about Peter and quarterbacking Team Jesus.
For Sophia Institute’s Catholic-based study materials to accompany “A.D.,” click here.
UPDATE: Speaking of Peter and John, today in his homily, Pope Francis was doing just that. Here’s an excerpt.
The Pontiff recalled that Peter and John, having performed a miracle, had been jailed and threatened by the priests not to speak in the name of Jesus. But they continue to do so and when they return to the others, they encourage them to proclaim the Word of God “with frankness.” They entreat the Lord “to take note of their threats” and enable His “servants” “to not flee” but to proclaim His Word “boldly.”
“And today too, the Church’s message is the message of the path of openness, the path of Christian courage,” the Pope said. “These two simple [men]– as the Bible says – with no education, had courage. A word that can be translated as ‘courage,’ ‘straightforwardness,’ ‘freedom to speak,’ ‘not being afraid to say things’ … It’s a word that has many meanings, in its original form. Parrésia, that frankness … and their fear gave way to ‘openness,’ to saying things with freedom.”
Click here to read the rest.