Ascension Day 2014
One of my favourite movies from my college days is The Matrix, released in the spring of 1999.
[Spoiler-alert: There are spoilers below. If you haven’t seen The Matrix before I highly recommend it if you can handle a movie with a fair amount of violence. This is not a movie for the kids.]
I’ve always enjoyed science-fiction and The Matrix weaves this with lots of action and a plot that includes many biblical ideas and characters. Morpheus (a John the Baptist-figure), Neo (a Christ-figure), Trinity (a figure of the church), Cypher (a Judas-figure) and Agent Smith (a figure of Satan) all play major roles in the movie. Concepts such as baptism, faith and doubt, prophesy and the nature of reality including those things that are present but unseen are skillfully woven into this movie.
From a Christian point of view the movie has a neat portrayal of faith where Trinity believes in Neo as a saviour-type and through trust or faith Neo is raised from the dead after He is killed by Agent Smith.
The Holy Bible, God’s Word, shows us that though unseen God the Creator of the world is present. We cannot see him with our eyes but he is a part of reality. His creation gives us the hints we need to break away from the group-think of our day which says that he is not here and does not exist. Likewise, we cannot see Satan the angel created by God who rebelled against God, became evil, was judged by God and who now seeks to lead the world to sin and away from faith in God.
While we cannot see God or see Satan we do feel the weight of our sins, that is the wrongs we have committed against God and against others. Sin which gives us a feeling of uncleanness makes us want to avoid the presence of God because instinctively we know God is holy. The Holy Bible reveals what God is really like: it show us God is a God of love not anger. The Bible also shows our sins stay with us until they are lifted up and taken away by God. Out of concern and love, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to become man, be baptized and live perfectly and then die for you on the cross so that you may know that God loves you and has taken away your sin. By faith, trust in Jesus as your saviour God promises you a literal resurrection from the dead. Though you die, like Neo in The Matrix you will rise again, forever free from death and with a new and glorious body. This is God’s promise to you.
My favourite part of The Matrix is the last scene. It is a scene which parallels Jesus’ ascension from earth to heaven. On Ascension day, 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on Easter morning, Jesus, who had stayed with his disciples teaching them for forty days, was finally taken up before his disciples eyes into heaven. The book of Acts (Acts chapter 1) describes how Jesus went straight up into the sky until he disappeared from the disciples’ sight. An angel who appeared afterward said Jesus will return to earth in the future in same way. The day that happens will be the day God finally ushers in heaven on earth. Christians wait for that day. It is unknown but it will come. Between now and then Christians continue to worship and serve God knowing that God keeps all his promises.
That last scene of The Matrix reminds me powerfully that the world is different now that Jesus has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. Sin is defeated. Satan has been defeated. Death can no have no lasting power over those who trust in Jesus. Neo’s last words in The Matrix make me smile as I think about Jesus‘ resurrection, his ascension, his defeat of the devil who wants to hide Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and my future resurrection from the dead…
“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world … without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.” -Neo speaking to the matrix in the last scene of The Matrix (Warner Brothers, 1999)
Happy Ascension Day!
P.S. Welcome to our new neighbours at Victoria Common. It’s great to see that a few of you have already moved in. We are praying that the Lord will bless you with a smooth transition to your new home. Welcome neighbours! If you would like your new home to be blessed please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be my honour to meet you and bless your new home.