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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Is Bruce Willis the Messiah?

Is Bruce Willis the Messiah?

Ironically, the answer is yes.
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, and Charles Bronson are, too. So are Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, and Mel Gibson. Like Bruce Willis, all of them are messiahs, or at least movie stars playing the role. And the role is based on Jesus, though they may not know it.

In the 1998 movie “Armageddon,”  Bruce Willis played the leader of a group of men sent into space to destroy a planet-threatening asteroid. They are under sea drillers with equipment which can drill a hole and place an atomic bomb in the core of the asteroid. The plan is to blow it up and cause the two resulting pieces to by pass planet earth. The science in the movie was in error, the bomb would not be able to do it. The movie reviewers said it was awful, many included it among the worst movies of the year. So why was it the highest grossing film of the year? I think because it echoed the Jesus story. And people, even unbelievers, are hungry for that story.

In the film, Willis and his team encounter all manner of challenges until the climax when, just before he sacrifices his own life to save the world, he speaks with his daughter whose name is Grace. Was the name chosen on purpose? I do not know, but grace is what the Jesus story is about and grace finds its way into this echo of Jesus' story

Their conversation between father and daughter always destroys me emotionally. Any man with a daughter can connect on many levels with a father who is trying to do the best he can for a daughter whom he loves more than life itself. Any man who is a man also knows that the impulse to self-sacrifice for the greater good is even more important. While only a deluded fool thinks he is the messiah, any man worth his manhood knows we are still called to self sacrifice. Watching father and daughter tearfully interact is like Jesus’ heart wrenching Last Supper. It is easy to overlook the humanity of that night. Jesus faces death, alone, yet gathers with His dearest friends, His "family" the sons and daughters He has made. Jesus tells them (and us): Remember Me. Love one another. Do for others what I do for you.

Fiction reflects reality. In the real world, sometimes heroes die to save others. Firemen, police men, soldiers--they do it regularly. But any of us could find ourselves in a situation where we must lay down our own lives so others can live. 

Self sacrifice is at the heart of God. It is the core of the story of creation and redemption. In the movie, just like in the real world, few people know the truth. Only a few are privy to all the details. In our world, many people do not know Jesus. They do not know or understand His sacrifice. They just live each day oblivious to salvation. They have no clue what God has done in and through Him. Even we who do "know" only know it partially and incompletely.

And if we know, we know because we know The Hero. We love Him; Who first loved us. We see Him in every hero who gives his life to save others. Jesus is the authentic and true story which others imitate.

Jesus’ story gives us hope. It is light in darkness, life in death, and healing in brokenness. We have love, joy and peace from Him. We also have power and authority. We can tell His story and imitate His deeds. We can point to Him in a world hungry for The Hero: Jesus, Who gives His life to save the world.

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