Monday, August 8, 2022
Like most people, I enjoy stories about people being rescued. There is a universal appeal to a story where it’s life and death on the line and the hero comes to the rescue. Sometimes, it’s an ordinary person with “a particular set of skills” like the father Liam Neeson played in the movie Taken. Sometimes it’s a group of people who pool their talents to do a heroic deed and defeat evil powers or existential threats. Think, Lord of the Rings, Armageddon, or Independence Day. Sometimes it’s a hero with otherworldly powers who is willing to put his own life and safety on the line, like Superman, the Man of Steel. Many people have noted that Superman can be viewed as a kind of allegory of the greatest hero of all, Jesus.
As Paul opens his letter to the Galatians he leads with Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead by God, the father. God raised Jesus from the dead after Jesus “gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.”(Galatians 1:4). There it is, the heart of almost every hero story. This is the story of Jesus, God’s chosen one who gave himself to rescue us from evil. This is not only the overarching story behind Paul’s letter to the Galatians, but it is the big story of the Gospel, the story of the Bible, and the story of life. This is the story that is God’s story, it is history, and we are part of that story. What I just wrote is called a metanarrative. The post-modern worldview which has come to predominate our culture rejects metanarratives which are grand stories that explain the truth in clear terms. There is no place in post-modernism for things like objectivity and universal truth. You have “your truth” and I have “my truth” and “no one should impose their truth on someone else”. Of course, this is not actually practiced by those who preach it and who are working to impose “their truths” on others as if they are right and others are wrong. If you don’t follow “our truth” we will work to get you canceled.
Paul has no patience for those who reject the Truth and listen to the voices of those who are trying to throw the followers of Jesus Christ into confusion by preaching a “different gospel”. I’m sure Paul would have a lot to say about what is happening in our world today. The loss of Truth, of metanarratives or big coherent stories around which we organize our life. As Christians, we are part of God’s Big Story and that story is Truth. Jesus said of himself that he is “the way, the truth, and the life.” The Bible speaks in binary terms: good and evil, right and wrong, light and dark, male and female, lost and found, etc… The evil one has always tried to sow seeds of doubt and contradict such clear thinking. The evil one prefers to operate in the realm of “50 Shades of Gray.” Ever since the serpent tempted Eve by causing her to question and doubt God’s word introducing confusion and chaos into the world, there has been a war on the truth. Jesus told Pontius Pilate “The truth will set you free”. That was true 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, and it is still true today.
Jesus is a True Hero sent by God to rescue us from this “present evil age” which he did by laying down his life for us. That’s a hero worth believing in and following. Let’s not fall for the trendy lies of post-modernism, the lies of the evil one.
Questions for Discussion:
1. What is your favorite hero/rescuer story? What is it about that story that you find most appealing/inspiring?
2. How does Jesus as a hero/rescuer stack up against others (fiction or non-fiction)? How can you share the big story about Jesus with others effectively?