Is Jesus in Supernatural? (It's Complicated)


As well as urban legends and mythical monsters, biblical lore has been an intrinsic part of Supernatural since its first season. In the fourth episode, "The Phantom Traveler," Sam and Dean are stunned to encounter a black-eyed man terrorizing airplane passengers -- their first demon, which leads to their first exorcism. It was by far the strongest thing they'd encountered thus far in their early hunting days and, more importantly, opened the floodgates -- Genesis-style -- for the show's writers to pull from the entire Judeo-Christian theological canon for inspiration, if they wanted to.

Fourteen years later, and Supernatural has done just that. From big-name players like Lucifer, Eve, Lilith, Cain and archangels Michael and Gabriel, to legendary beasts like the Leviathan, to lesser-known figures like Metatron and the Knights of Hell. After years of hinting, God finally graced the Winchesters with his divine presence in Season 11, or rather, revealed his divine presence by confirming the popular fan theory that he'd been hiding in plain sight in the body of the novelist/prophet Chuck Shurely this entire time. Not only that, but he also has a sister: the darkness to his holy light.

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Supernatural God

With the series having transformed itself to a Who's Who of the good book, one very notable absence sticks out: Jesus Christ. Despite his father, his aunt and the religion he spread being inducted into its world, Supernatural has always tip-toed around the son of God's inclusion. This is probably for good reason: A show that depicts the All Mighty as a deadbeat dad who'd rather pen trashy fantasy novels on Earth than lend his creations a helping hand would likely attract unwanted controversy for depicting his most important offspring in a similarly humanizing, flawed manner.

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That isn't to say Jesus doesn't have a definite presence, however. He's been alluded to as a biblical figure and/or real person in every single season, whether his name is being taken in vain by a frightened bystander to one of Sam and Dean's cases or reverently reminisced about by a nostalgic angel. Artifacts relating to him, like the Spear of Destiny or, purportedly, nails from the True Cross, have been sprinkled through episodes, while Judas Iscariot features in the tie-in book, Supernatural: The Unholy Curse. He characteristically denounces, as Eve does in the television series, that his former leader really was God, to which Castiel decries his blasphemy.

Of course, those of certain faiths will also tell you that Jesus is already in the show by way of God's presence, as belief in the Holy Trinity means that both father and son are one and the same. Still, in a show where supernaturally powered time travel exists, the possibility of Jesus' physical appearance is never totally off the table.

Although not as commonplace as Lucifer, portrayals of the son of God aren't exactly a rarity in our culture. Bible movies are far from a dead genre; adult-orientated comedies like South Park and Family Guy love working him into their satire, and there's famously an entire, hippy-filled musical dedicated to him. Not to mention all of pop culture's numerous Christ-like figures, from Aslan to Superman. Jesus' likeness, character and symbolism are fair game, especially to a show so firmly rooted in his theological pasture.

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Again, though, the question isn't whether Supernatural could feature Jesus in physical form, but whether it should. "We're not here to tell the story of Jesus Christ," Jensen Ackles, paraphrasing creator Eric Kripke, told Entertainment Weekly. "We're here to take that element and use it as inspiration for the story." Well, that's that then.

Except that there is one loose end: Joshua. The angel first appeared in Season 5, and despite claiming to "just trim the hedges," Heaven's humble gardener had a reputation as the last being to speak with God before he went MIA. In fact, he was the Creator's designated confidante, although he told Sam and Dean that their conversations were mostly one-sided. He was also the one to break it to them that God was hiding somewhere on Earth.

Joshua Supernatural

Fans have noticed that, as well as his intimate relationship with the Lord, Joshua bore other parallels to Jesus: In the Bible, Jesus was mistaken for a gardener when he first rose from the dead, and the name Joshua is only one letter different from Jesus' Aramaic name, Jeshua (or, Yeshua, in its Hebrew spelling). Either Joshua and Jesus are one and the same in Supernatural, or the angel is a close stand-in. The big wrinkle in the former theory is Joshua's death in Season 12 at the hands of a vengeful Knight of Hell. Then again, Chuck appeared to "die" before his true identity was revealed.

With the final season looming on the horizon, it's now or never for Jesus to actually rear his bearded face, whether it's as a miraculously resurrected Joshua or in some other form. But, given Kripke and the casts' past comments, fans probably shouldn't hold their breaths.

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