Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber. The musical has been popular ever since its debut in 1970, from Broadway to going on tour, several films, and a live concert version that aired Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, on NBC.
In case the mainstream success of Superstar is not a dead giveaway, the theology is a blasphemous mess. It comes across as a story told from the perspective of Judas, who opens and closes the opera with the first and last numbers. But even Mary Magdalene refers to Jesus as “just a man.”
There is nothing miraculous or even caring about this Jesus. When the sick come to him for healing, he gets angry and tells them to leave him alone. When his disciples ask him about the future, he’s annoyed and says he doesn’t know. At the last supper, he tells them, “For all you care, this wine could be my blood. For all you care, this bread could be my body.”
In his prayer in the garden, Jesus says he’s uninspired and doesn’t understand his purpose. He says being a martyr would be better, so he tells God, “Take me now before I change my mind.” And then he dies and becomes a superstar but doesn’t rise from the dead.
As lyricist Tim Rice said, “It happens that we don’t see Christ as God but simply the right man at the right time at the right place” (Time Magazine, November, 1970).
The Bible says that when the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, Jesus, to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), and redeem them by His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. Whoever believes this gospel will be forgiven their sins and have eternal life. Whoever does not believe will not be saved, but the wrath of God remains on them. Accept no imitation, when we understand the text.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raise don the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…” 2 Timothy 2:8
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life… Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:16, 36