Was the life of Jesus an epic story? And if so, why is it so often overlooked by otherwise epic-loving modern audiences? Drawing on the biblical accounts alone, I believe that the answer to the first question is “Yes” and have created the Jesus Jumpkick series with addressing the challenges of the second question in mind.
Jesus Jumpkick invites readers to re-discover with fresh eyes the epic nature of the biblical narrative as dramatically culminating in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It treats the four gospels as its primary source material and understands them not merely as read alone but more richly as read in the full context of the biblical narrative as a whole.
Jesus Jumpkick seeks to draw out the often-overlooked epic nature of the life of Jesus with five major scriptural motifs or through lines:
Epic Battle: The ultimate Good vs Evil struggle
The Jesus story is often overlooked as an “epic” story by modern audiences. Similarly, he was also overlooked as a potential King David-like warrior and “messianic” figure by his contemporary audience (who were expected a more militant revolutionary). Could it be that both modern and ancient audiences have overlooked the life of Jesus for the same reason: that he was a warrior but in a far less common way; one whose fight was not with humans but spiritual powers?
By including this facet of the gospel narratives more explicitly in adapting the Gospels as a visual story, this epic facet of the life of Jesus is no longer hidden from the reader’s view.
Epic Romance: God + Humanity
Another epic facet of the biblical narrative that’s often overlooked and culminates in the life of Jesus is the cosmic love story between God and humanity.
This story which begins in the Old Testament finds new expression and fulfillment in the New Testament and in the relationship between Christ (God in person) and his bride the Church (Humanity redeemed). Jesus Jumpkick will embody new ways of expressing this ancient biblical theme.
Epic Meaning & Mystery: "The Fulfillment"
Many students of the Bible have heard about the ways the life of Jesus in the gospels reflects his fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. But many modern readers also remain unaware at just how many ways the gospels reflect the life of Jesus as a culmination of even more foreshadowed in the earlier biblical scenes of redemptive history. Jesus Jumpkick will draw out the fuller scriptural weight of key moments from the gospels still commonly overlooked by modern audiences for their broader contextual biblical significance and meaning.
Epic Love & Compassion
One of the primary dramatic tensions that runs throughout the gospel narratives is found in Jesus’ willingness to defy social expectations in favor of staying true to his deeper understanding of the truth. In this sense, Jesus might even be called something of a rebel or iconoclast; he was certainly a disruptive innovator to his time. And while the gospels reflect those witnessing this facet of Jesus’ life often taking it badly (and eventually, murderously so), there’s also a clear message always underneath the surface and beyond the misunderstanding of the moment, that Jesus’ actions are ultimately shown as both good and true. Jesus Jumpkick relies significantly on this underlying tension between Jesus and the expectations of those around him to explore and resolve for the reader the question in the hearts of many of those knew him: What is Jesus doing? Can he be this wild and unpredictable and yet still ultimately be trustworthy and good?
Epic Visionary: Jesus as Storyteller and Poet
Finally, yet another central defining feature of the life of Jesus captured in the gospels is that of a powerfully effective visionary communicator: a great storyteller and teacher to his culture and time. Jesus use of parables and metaphor are particularly striking. His compelling words and often backed up by powerful and miraculous deeds. Jesus Jumpkick will also make a point of giving this more commonly appreciated but no less epic facet of the life of Jesus reflected in the gospels its due.