Finding the Divinity of Jesus Christ Superstar’s Countercultural Messiah


If my life were a film, music would certainly be its soundtrack. It would certainly be a diverse launch as my preferences are instead extensive, consisting of timeless rock, hefty steel, individual, punk, funk, classic, and also also a program song or more when the celebration requires it. There’s a song for each minute and also a playlist for each period.

Throughout Lent, nevertheless, I have actually made it a custom to restrict my paying attention to songs that aids repair my eyes on Jesus, him being the factor for the period and also all that. My seasonal playlist borders with timeless hymns, CCM faves old and also brand-new, Aretha, and so on. In 2014, I also tasted some EDM-laced tracks thanks to Kevin Max. You might claim I surrender non-Jesus songs for Lent.

A couple of years earlier, while searching for something brand-new for my Lent playlist– and also remaining in a program songs sort of state of mind– my ideas resorted to Jesus Christ Super Star, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s trippy rock opera regarding the woodworker that would certainly be king. I had actually know Jesus Christ Super Star for a long period of time yet had never ever really paid attention to it, due in big component to my sincere moms and dads’ singing displeasure of the product. Yet it did not take wish for this groovily orchestral take on the Messiah to come to be a Lenten preferred and also a staple of my Holy Week praise.

Like my fundamentalist moms and dads, praise possibly isn’t what enters your mind when one considers Jesus Christ Super Star That definitely had not been the instance when it debuted in 1970. Not able to return for a performance at the time 1, author Webber and also lyricist Tim Rice launched Jesus Christ Super Star as a rock opera idea cd, a brand-new category promoted by The That’s Tommy, which had actually been launched the previous year. The cd ended up being a hit, charting in the United States and also UK with preferred songs “Super star” and also “I Do not Know Exactly How to Love Him” blazing a trail 2 This success brought about a Broadway run in 1971, a a lot more effective West End run in 1972 3, and also a film in 1973.

I was stunned to discover that as soon as you surpassed all the counterculture posturing, Jesus Christ Super Star obtained one essential point appropriate regarding the scripture accounts.

In spite of its success, numerous in the spiritual area did not take a sparkle to the cd’s perception of Jesus as a young firebrand suffering through a repressive federal government. BBC Radio located the cd sacrilegious and also prohibited it from its programs 4 Christian teams picketed the Broadway opening 5 and also no much less an authority than Billy Graham fretted that the program “approached blasphemy.” 6

When I ultimately paid attention to the cd, however, I was stunned to discover that as soon as you surpassed all the counterculture posturing, it obtained one essential point appropriate regarding the scripture accounts. Like those stories, Jesus Christ Super Star busies itself with one concern, the concern as it ends up: Is Jesus the Christ?

As the avoid cd’s critical track, “Super star,” places it:

Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
That are you? What have you given up?
Jesus Christ Super Star,
Do you assume you’re what they claim you are?

Midway with the scripture of Mark, Jesus asks his adherents: “That do individuals claim that I am?” (Mark 8:27, ESV) “John the Baptist; and also others claim, Elijah; and also others, among the prophets,” the adherents react (Mark 8:28, ESV). Every person, it appears, had their very own take on Jesus. Therefore it remains in Jesus Christ Super Star

The cd does not offer a scenic sight of Jesus’ life. It gets the tale as he prepares to go into Jerusalem and also follows him with an extremely active week that finishes with him toenailed to a cross where he breathes his last. Along the road, we learn through those around him, close friend and also opponent alike, as they battle to understand this most enigmatic number. Think about it as the rock opera variation of Mark 8.

In the opening track, “Paradise on Their Minds,” Judas sees Jesus as a male at risk of thinking his very own press. (” You have actually begun to think the important things they claim of you,” Judas laments.) In “This Jesus Has To Pass Away,” the spiritual facility sees him as a hazardous provocateur that will certainly bring the rage of the Roman inhabitants down upon them. (” Our removal as a result of one guy,” states Caiphas.) To the anti-Roman insurgents in “Simon Zealotes,” Jesus is a celeb that can be manipulated to “win ourselves a residence.” As well as in “The Test Prior To Pilate,” Pilate attempts to assure the put together crowd that Jesus is “simply misdirected, believes he is necessary.”

Back in Mark 8, Jesus complies with up his first concern to his adherents with one more. “Yet that do you claim that I am?”

” You are the Christ,” addresses Peter.

Jesus Christ Super Star does not reach Peter. As an item of its time, the cd’s picture of Jesus shows the dominating enchanting counterculture sight of him as a political saint, a sufferer of the Male. (For evidence of this, look no more than Norman Jewison’s movie adjustment, which makes the tale as an obsolete “New age” fantasia that’s even more Hair than The Chosen) One can additionally identify a whiff of scriptural objection as Jesus Christ Super Star avoids any type of representation of Jesus’ mythological accomplishments, most significantly the rebirth. This has actually led numerous Christian critics to implicate the cd of rejecting the divinity of Jesus entirely.

Upon closer listening, nevertheless, that allegation does not hold– or it goes to the very least surface.

It holds true that, by their very own admission at the time, Lloyd Webber and also Rice were not followers in Jesus’ divinity. In a meeting after the Broadway program’s launching, Rice claimed that “Christ has extra importance for me as a person than He does as God.” 7 As well as yet, words out of their personalities’ mouths validate that Jesus’ distinct allure came from his insurance claim to divinity.

Take Herod’s words to Jesus upon fulfilling him for the very first time in “King Herod’s Tune (Attempt It and also See)”:

Jesus, I am thrilled to fulfill you in person.
You have actually been obtaining rather a name around the location.
Recovery cripples, increasing from the dead.
As well as currently I recognize you’re God,
At the very least, that’s what you have actually claimed.

In the last bookkeeping, nobody will certainly ever before blunder Jesus Christ Super Star for a “Christian” cd. Keith Eco-friendly, it most definitely ain’t! Yet while Jesus Christ Super Star‘s designers might not have actually thought that Jesus was God, they were loyal sufficient to the scripture stories to recognize that Jesus definitely did. Like the typical blind guys explaining the elephant, they were feeling their means along the shapes of the fact. As well as there is worth because.

In chapter 17 of the book of Acts, the apostle Paul experiences a strange view in Athens. Amongst the holy places of the numerous Greek gods, he locates a church with the adhering to engraving: “To the unidentified god.” Being the great evangelist that he was, Paul utilized this church as an avenue to present the Athenians to the divinity of Jesus. In Jesus Christ Super Star‘s obscurity on the issue of Jesus’ divinity, I additionally discover a church to an unidentified god that, every Lent, comes to be an avenue to the genuine point as the songs leads me to contemplate that most essential of concerns: “That do you claim that I am?




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here