Tim Bechervaise reviews the new BBC documentary on the work of...
Tim Bechervaise wonders what would happen if Jesus entered the jungle...
I haven’t watched ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in years. But when it emerged that football legend Harry Redknapp would be featuring, I couldn’t resist tuning in.
But as I’ve sat through the daily happenings of the celebrity campmates, it’s not just ‘Arry’s cracking anecdotes that have left me returning for more. To my pleasant surprise there has been much that has, dare I say it, warmed my soul — from Nick Knowles choosing a pillow as his luxury item for others to use, to the stirring encouragement offered to each other.
This has got my imagination going.
If Jesus went into the jungle, how long would he last? Would he be the first to go, or would he be crowned King of the Jungle? It probably wouldn’t matter either way to him (nor would any appearance fee). He would just want to love people and tell them about his Father. He may not win every heart, but he’d certainly win more than a few.
I’m certainly not normally one to second-guess Jesus. But here are six thoughts as to how he may (with tongue firmly in cheek) take to the jungle…
1. Jesus would be okay with beans and rice
Having gone 40 days without food in the wilderness, coping on a meagre diet of rice and beans (with the odd “luxury” meal thrown in) wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Indeed, fellow campmates would love him because he’d probably regularly give away his portions. On top of that, it puts less pressure on those doing the challenges to get a full complement of stars (each of which wins one meal for camp). Perhaps he’d use the opportunity to share about his cousin who was famous for living on a low-key diet of locusts and honey…
2. Jesus would relish the boredom
One of the features of camp so far is the space opened up for conversations. Interesting conversations too, many involving Anne Hegerty (presenter of The Chase) who is a great source of general knowledge. Who knew Uzbekistan is one of two countries that is double-landlocked, or what double-landlocked even means?
Jesus always had a story to share and he loved hanging out with people and building relationships with them, often over food. Some classic, modern day parables about the kingdom of God would emerge that would likely leave his fellow campmates — and viewers back home — amazed, if not perplexed (or annoyed).
3. Jesus would take a novel approach to the Bushtucker Trials
Inevitably Jesus would have to face one of the dreaded challenges. The use and treatment of animals in the show has been a controversial subject over the years. How would Jesus respond? My guess is that he’d politely decline to take on the task, offering some wisdom that totally makes sense. Maybe he would point to a nearby snake primed for the trial and take the opportunity to tell them about a snake that once appeared in a garden with two people called Adam and Eve. As for his hungry campmates, well he’s multiplied food and turned water into wine before, so…
4. Jesus would be Emperor, but…
The week began with 10 celebrities. It now has 11 after Noel Edmonds arrived as the Emperor of the camp. The role initially gave Noel special privileges. He was exempt from the trials and responsibilities, could order people around, and had a throne and bedroom reserved for him.
If the title of Emperor was offered to Jesus, perhaps he’d accept but gently flip the role on its head. He’d give up his privileges (tearing up any contractual obligations in the process) and get down to wash the campmates’ feet and tell them, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.” (Matthew 20:26)
5. Jesus would lay his hands on the sick
One of the more amusing moments of the series so far was when Harry Redknapp woke in the middle of the night with cramp in his leg and asked Noel Edmonds to massage it to soothe the pain! Whatever ailment that arose in camp, Jesus would likely lay hands on them and heal them. That would make a few headlines — not that he wouldn’t have made headlines already!
6. Jesus would get up early to pray
Early on in the week the campmates bonded over prayer as Anne Hegerty offered to pray for actress Emily Atack before taking on her trial. Jesus would no doubt rise early each morning for prayer, a routine that would surely prompt fascinating conversation, perhaps even a request first uttered by one of the disciples: “Lord, teach us to pray.”
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