Pastor B.T. Gilligan: What it took to let Him go
One of my favorite hobbies is watching movies. I love all kinds of movies, but my favorite are action movies. I love where the hero of the movie does whatever it takes to rescue those in trouble. Sometimes it is their spouse, or their kids, or even complete strangers. To the hero, it doesn’t matter what the victim has done or why they are in trouble. All that matters is that they are in trouble and they need rescued. There are more than a few movies where the hero dies in the process of rescuing those in trouble. I may mention some of these and if you haven’t seen them then I apologize for the spoilers.
We see these themes in all genres of movies, Harry Potter, Terminator, Saving Private Ryan, The Avengers, Iron Man, Big Hero 6, and even Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo. From Rated G to Rated R we see these themes played out over and over again that the hero is willing to do whatever it takes, even die, so that others may live. Sometimes, the person who ends up needing rescued has had an argument with or even rejected the hero. Even then, the hero still rescues. The hero loves them so much that nothing will stop them. Not explosions, wild animals, guns, broken glass, or anything else. They will use whatever means necessary to rescue their beloved!
To me, these movies reflect exactly what it is that Jesus did for us. Harry Potter is a perfect example, at the end of the last movie (and in the book written by J.K. Rowling) Harry Potter realizes that his death is the only way to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort and keep him from destroying the wizard world and the human world. So Harry does what needs to be done and gives up his life so that his friends, family, and even complete strangers can have life. Through his death, the whole world can live. However, that isn’t the end of Harry Potter, shortly after his death he comes back to life. In the movies, he comes back to life and shows that even death from the pure evil that is Lord Voldemort can’t destroy Harry Potter.
This is the story of Jesus, that Jesus knew that in order to save his friends, family, and all those who had ever and would ever live, He needed to lay down His life and die and then Jesus came back to life. Jesus walked out of that grave to show that not even pure evil could keep Him down. When Jesus willingly laid down his life and died, it was an act of pure love meant to rescue the entire world. Jesus didn’t care what happened or why people were in trouble, all Jesus cared about was the fact that all of humanity was in trouble and needed rescued. So Jesus was going to do whatever it took to rescue all of humanity. This is the point of Easter, that on Easter, Christians gather together around the world to celebrate that no matter what they have done or why they have done it, they have been rescued from the evil that threatens to destroy them. No matter their addictions, choices, or objections Jesus has rescued the whole world.
I don’t know if the authors and script writers are Christians, but at least in the moment they are writing about rescue they are echoing the God of the universe and are declaring that people matter to God and that no matter what you are worthy of rescue from the evil that surrounds us.
So then, the next time you watch Taken and you see Liam Neeson’s character promising to do whatever it takes to find his daughter, who belittled and lied to him, may you remember that through Jesus, God did the same thing for you.
Worship services are held at California United Methodist Church every Sunday at 10:45 p.m.