Jesus Christ, Superstar. This 2018 version of the 1971 Weber production was spectacular in so many ways and disappointing in others. Legend’s voice was so smooth and powerful. Judas was portrayed with passion and made a connection to everyone of us that often struggles with understanding why things do not go our way. Sara Bareilles version of ‘I don’t know how to love him’ was an emotional hurricane. And who would ever thought they would say Alice Cooper might have played the best Herod ever with swagger and panache – in a 20’s swing/Charleston mood to boot. The imagery, the energy, the lighting, and the music was well deserving of the rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Lisa, Calvin & I greatly enjoyed the time spent watching it. The choreography reminds me of my early dance days – okay, went too far there. (When you think that you dance like Fred Astaire but are more like Napoleon Dynamite). I loved singing along when the familiar tunes hit the airwaves.
BUT – as great as the story was, it ends way too quickly. I am not talking about the time span, I am talking about the story line. It ended with Christ still on the cross. Yes, it loosely told the Gospel narrative. Yes, it took quotes straight from the Word. But it ended with the death of Jesus. What a stunning shot as the cross faded into the background and the light was all that was left. But there is more – so much more. He is not dead, He is risen. If He is not risen, our faith is in vain. On the cross He defeated sin, but the empty tomb shows He defeated death.
So here are a few challenging take aways …
… Use this production as a launching pad for a conversation about Jesus and what the cross really did.
… Think about what difference it would make it Christ was still in the tomb. And then, be glad that the tomb is empty. Think about just how much that means to our lives – for all eternity.
… Talk about what this was really trying to get across. Think about all the emotions of Judas, Mary, and others that were around Jesus. They were real people, real expectations, real short comings, and really loved by Jesus. – kind of like everyone of us today.
… Thank God that we live in a country where Jesus can be talked about. True, much of the show fell very short of the full Gospel, but maybe we believers should be filling in the rest.
… Pray for believers in Hollywood. It is difficult enough to live for Jesus in the Bible Belt here in Dallas – the pressure and the demands for believers in the entertainment world is tremendous. Pray for their witness and impact. Pray that more shows and arts that open doors to talk about Jesus.
… And lastly, maybe I should take some dance lessons. Or Not.