Why would the Holy Spirit lead Bill O’Reilly to write “Killing Jesus,” his new book about the historical life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ? In the “60 Minutes” interview which aired September 29, 2013, O’Reilly when questioned by Norah O’Donnell about the provocative book title agreed it was sensationalized to reach the mass market. Sensationalism is a clever attention-getting stratagem that indicates a secular, not spiritual influence.
Additionally, the less than straightforward book title, especially when linked with O’Reilly’s other two best-sellers, “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy,” implies that Jesus was unaware of, and was powerless to prevent His approaching death. But the Spirit inspired Scriptures say otherwise and nowhere more directly than in John 10: 17, 18:
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
O’Reilly unabashedly talks about his Catholic faith, Independent political affiliation, and proudly contends that there is no religion in “Killing Jesus”; it’s all history. Citing the Bible as one of his research reference sources, portions of which he arrogantly discards.
O’Donnell pressed O’Reilly regarding his assertion that one of the statements Jesus made while on the cross did not happen. O’Reilly insisted that because of the way Jesus was nailed to the cross, He could not have said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 34). One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to guide into all truth, (John 16: 13). Did the Holy Spirit lead O’Reilly to contradict the Bible, which He inspired holy men of God to write? (2 Peter 1: 20, 2).
However, O’Reilly does say “Killing Jesus” is void of religion, a point he emphasizes by omitting the “Christ” appellation in the book, nor does he refer to Jesus as the Son of God. And yet, Jesus speaking about work of the Holy Spirit regarding Himself said, “He shall glorify me.” (John 14: 14).
Other bold and fresh declarations O’Reilly made in the 60 Minutes interview were that Jesus was a violent man. Jesus was an angry man. Jesus was very afraid, and scared to die. O’Reilly did not say what he based his assumptions on, but would the Holy Spirit inspire statements that oppose what is written about Jesus Christ in the Scriptures?
Was Jesus violent and angry? The Scriptures do describe an incident when Jesus displayed righteous indignation, and a holy zeal. The time was nearing when Jesus would be offered up as a living sacrifice for the sins of the world.
It was the Passover season, and He went up to Jerusalem at the Passover season. Inside the temple of God, He saw men changing money, and selling animals for the Passover sacrifice. The Bible records His reaction like this:
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21: 12, 13).
And O’Reilly’s claim that Jesus was very afraid, and scared to die may have been based on Matthew 26: 39:
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Even though the book “Killing Jesus” underscores the humanity of Jesus, Jesus is also God. As God, Jesus knew beforehand what lay before him. His face and body would be disfigured more than any man, His back whipped bare, His beard plucked from His face, be spat upon, and bear the sins of the world in His own body. (Isaiah 46: 10; 50: 6, 52: 14, 1 Peter 2: 24). It was the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional torture His humanity recoiled from.
And yet, knowing ahead of time what He would endure, Luke 9: 51 states, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go Jerusalem.” Jesus was not afraid or fearful of death. He was determined to finish the work He came to do.
Why would the Holy Spirit inspire Bill O’Reilly to write “Killing Jesus? Maybe, just maybe the reason was to inspire readers to follow the advice Jesus gave concerning Himself in John 5: 39:
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
’60 Minutes’ telecast aired on September 29, 2013
The Holy Bible, KJV