Today is one of those days that far too many of us have forgotten the significance of. Or maybe we’ve never really given it much thought. And I don’t know what your views are on God and spiritual stuff. (If you are up for and interesting thought excersize, check out this article on the logic of believing.)
But the reality is it doesn’t matter what you believe, at least in one respect. Choosing to believe or not believe doesn’t make an event that happened in the past any more or less true. It either is or isn’t, whether we choose to believe or not.
I’ve been reminded once again this week by John Eldridge how we are all part of a grand epic on the scale of The Lord of the Rings. Think about it.
You have a distinct role to play in the battle of the ages. And I bet you don’t even know it.
If you are anything like me you certainly don’t act like you know it.
And here’s the kicker. By not acting like we know we are actively a part of a larger war that has been raging throughout the ages, we are actually playing a part anyway. It’s just probably not the role we’d want to go out and audition for if we were going to be in the movie.
The war we are a part of is the ultimate struggle of Good vs. Evil. The battles themselves often go unseen. What we see in the headlines every night are the results of those battles.
A drug deal gone bad and another child’s dead. A politician or a preacher has a moral failing. Bombs going off killing dozens. A child predator was caught only to be set free.
Rescue workers risk their lives to save natural disaster victims. A charity is gifted with millions that will allow it to greatly expand the work they do. An athlete overcomes a significant handicap to win the prize.
The Key Players
In any epic tale there are some key players. There is a nefarious villain who is out for total domination and wants to enslave as much of the world as they can. Whether it is the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, the truly gripping tales have an evil villain who is a force to be reckoned with and who has the upper hand when we enter the story.
The other player each of these stories has is a champion who plays the role of guardian of all that is good. Edmund comes face to face with Alsan the lion, rightful but displaced ruler of Narnia. Middle Earth had Gandalf always showing up at the hot spots, laboring long and hard to protect the remaining free peoples.
And the thing about these stories is that at some point the champion is faced with a hard choice: Are they willing to lay down their lives for their cause?
Aslan chooses to offer his life in exchange for the wayward Edmund who’s life is forfeit because of his poor choices.
Gandalf stands to fight the overwhelming power of the Balrog and plunges into the depths of Khazad-dÃ»m.
Both of these heroes give their lives in exchange for their companions.
In the same way, as the ageless story goes, Jesus offered up his life in exchange for his friends. Mel Gibson covered that whole side of the story quite thoroughly in his movie, The Passion of the Christ.
We see Aslan on the table being humiliated, tortured and killed. Gandalf falls to his demise in the depths of the mountain. And Jesus is beaten, hung on the cross and dies.
Jet Mel sort of glossed over the most exciting part of the story.
Both Aslan and Gandalf return to lead the armies of the free people in a final battle and ultimate victory.
Today’s the Day
Today marks the anniversary of the pivotal day in our own ongoing war. It is the day when Jesus rose up from the tomb where he’d been buried after he died one of the more horrible deaths imaginable.
You can dismiss that story of Jesus being alive after he died as a myth or a work of fiction along the lines of the other two stories I’ve been talking about if you like.
But please understand you must do that in spite of the overwhelming evidence that says it’s true.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is arguably the single most well documented event in history. It is a historical record that has withstood countless assaults over two millennia.
Choosing to disbelieve doesn’t alter the historical record. Making that choice doesn’t make the event any less real and true.
Do you not have enough faith to believe history? The truth is it takes more faith to disbelieve in spite of the evidence!
Today marks a great victory in the epic battle of the ages. Today the enemy of all that is good and wonderful thought he had the upper hand only to be sent scampering off into the darkness.
But that’s not the end of the tale. Just like Aslan and Gandalf still had to lead their people in desperate battles yet to come after they returned, we still have fights to face. A battle is coming that is bigger than any of us can imagine.
What role will you be playing when it happens?