Killing Jesus

Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly
Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly

This book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard is the perfect companion book to Bible Study Fellowship’s study of Matthew.

In Killing Jesus, we follow the life and times of Jesus, complete with historical perspective that puts us back in Jesus’ time.  Bill O’Reilly makes it clear this is not a religious book but a historical book.  Therefore, the term Christ and Messiah are never applied to Jesus as it is left up to the reader to decide that.

However, the Bible is quoted quite frequently and it follows our study so far to the T.  From the birth of Jesus to the temple scene at age 12 to John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptizing, it’s all there.

In explaining why Jesus stayed behind at the temple, worrying his parents, O’Reilly says this:  “The need to dig deeper into the meaning of God overwhelms every other consideration.”

Wow.  If only that were true for us all.

This book has some of the best maps I have ever seen of Jerusalem and Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.  MANY MAPS (and you all know I’m a map person).  The map of the Jewish temple where Jesus stays to listen to the Jewish scholars is unparalleled.

Pictures of Roman emperors and famous paintings of Jesus enhance this book to give us a complete visual.

The information on Roman rulers is awesome and the cruelty of the Roman Empire is laid out vividly so the reader can picture just how violent first century AD truly was.

Chapter 7 is on Tiberius, the Roman ruler after Augustus, where we learn the reason behind his cruelty:  he is forced to divorce the true love of his life in favor of a political marriage.  After this, he degenerates into debauchery, prostitution, and a penchant for killing that truly begins the slow decay of the once great Roman civilization.

Bill mentions how you could hear Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian, and Hebrew all in Jerusalem.  That would have been cool to hear!

I also like how on P.222 Bill writes some, “are willing to believe parts of his (Jesus’s) teaching but they cannot accept the dark side of his message.”  He writes this with regard to the disciples who don’t believe Jesus will die but I saw myself and all of mankind in this quote.  It reminded me of how everyone loves the “Loving God” but ignores the “wrathful God.”

The book goes into detail about what it’s like to be executed on the cross.  It talks about the guards who were commissioned to do this.  It talks about how they pierced his hands in just the right spot so the prisoner would stay on the cross (P. 248).  I’m assuming Romans learned this the hard way–by trial and error.

Furthermore, the book goes into detail about the political dance played by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin and by Pontius Pilate to have Jesus legally executed.  Fascinating…

This is a historical book.  It is not a religious book.  It’s an attempt to trace Jesus’ life but not say either way if he was the Messiah or not.  Thus, it is secular and meant to present just the facts as much as is known about Jesus’ life.  The rest is for the reader to decide.

This is a book not to be missed, especially if you want to go deeper historically.  Highly recommended!