Documentary Series Looks at Jesus' Nazareth

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Many tourists are going to Israel during this Christmas season to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Bethlehem is the city of Christ's birth, but Nazareth was the hometown of his parents, Mary and Joseph.

The Israeli city is now the location of a new video series titled the "Nazareth Jesus Knew."

The series is hosted by entertainer Pat Boone in the United States and actor/host Gary Bayer from the city where God chose to reveal himself to the virgin Mary.

"In this place, he chose to speak to Mary and say, 'You will give birth to the son of God,'" Bayer said.

"In this place, Mary and Joseph and the little boy Jesus returned after the exile in Egypt. And now, in this place Jesus was coming to announce his ministry and to proclaim his lordship," he continued.

The producers of the documentary series want viewers to experience what life was like for Jesus and others in Nazareth more than 2,000 years ago.

It was filmed on location at Nazareth village, a recreated first century village.

"It's a combination of being a working village, like we would know here in the United States like a Jamestown or that kind of a thing," Bayer told CBN News.

"But they have actually found historical pieces from the time of Jesus. They found a wine press from. It's very possible that Jesus as a boy-and he spent 80% of his life there," he explained. "He could very well have been jumping up and down in this wine press that they have found."

Bayer says the contextual setting is an important part of the production. But the producers hope to draw people into a better understanding of God's word through fresh reenactments and teachings.

"What they have done is they have created 12 half-hour pieces," he said. "They are a combination of parables. Jesus' parables as well as events in his life that we know, like when he announced who he was to the world in the synagogue."

"It will enrich their understanding and deepen their understanding of what Jesus said, not only in the parables, but in the events like dropping the paralytic," Bayer explained.

"When the four friends brought the paralytic that was on the mat and lowered him through the roof. I'm thinking tiles, remove a few tiles you know. It was a major deal -- the commitment. They so believed that Jesus would heal their friend," he said.

"And the amazing thing is that the room was so packed it meant that they couldn't get in, which means the power of God had to be working in such a powerful way that nobody wanted to give up their seat," Bayer said.

The series producers are hoping the public will be glued to their seats for the six-hour series. Broadcast negotiations are currently under way and producers are aiming for a 2009 release.

*Originally published December 19, 2008

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