Evil enters the world and takes control of people and they start to do the bidding of their Evil Lord. Everything seems pretty helpless and then Jesus shows up. Jesus rescues these mindless robots of human beings and gives them back their lives. Then, he assembles a team of tough Navy Seal type guys and it’s on!
They walk into bars where the bad guys hang out and kick some serious tail. They call fire down from heaven and go all Old Testament on them. There is one guy left standing and Jesus looks at him with his group of combat hardened disciples and says, “You tell Lucifer that I’m coming for him. And tell him that there is no place he can hide…no place. Do you hear me?!” Then Jesus opens his eyes wide, juts his chest out and says, “Shoo!” The quivering and bloodied bad buy scampers off thankful to be alive but also knowing this is not the last time he will see Jesus or his band of merry followers.
Lucifer is livid that his forces have been so easily defeated. He needs a plan. He needs some way to break the steely confidence of the Son of God. He attacks the weakest link, Judas. Judas has his issues. He isn’t cool like Peter or cocky like James and John. All Peter, James, and John can talk about is how awesome it is to hang out with Jesus. They see things…really fantastic things. Judas? Everyone treats him like an ATM. They are only interested in him if they need money for bread or something.
Lucifer plays to his sense of mistreatment and the plan is hatched. Judas will betray Jesus. It is perfect and well executed plan. Lucifer gathers his forces and they arrest Jesus. Everything looks hopeless. Jesus must die or all of his disciples will be killed. Jesus has no play, no options, no hope.
You know Jesus has a plan because of that look he gave Peter before they took him away. Our hero will not die. And, if this is like the Avengers, he destroys Lucifer and his army of darkness with a rallying cry and a vast army of his own. Evil is defeated. Jesus is victorious and we all live happily ever after.
But that isn’t how it plays out, is it?
Jesus is more lamb than lion. He is more servant than King. When the chips are down and they come to arrest him, Peter draws his sword and tries to cut someone’s head off. Jesus tells him that people who draw their sword will die by the sword. Jesus doesn’t use his power to destroy his enemies. He didn’t use his power to crush his opposition or obliterate them with legions of angels. He sacrificed his body and shed his blood out of love for all of us.
Sure there are movies that talk about the sacrifice for someone else. I don’t think I have seen many movies where a person is willing to die for someone that we know doesn’t deserve it. It isn’t a happy ending. Sure, Spock died in one Star Trek movie for the good of many. And he was brought back in another movie, but we liked Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise, right? What if Spock died for the evil Klingons? That wouldn’t make sense, at least I don’t think we would like it much. But that is Easter. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners.
Easter is a great story, not because of great strength, like the strength of the Avengers, but because of the strength of God’s love. It is a great story because it is so unlike the way we understand power and might and how to deal with evil. It is a great story because it challenges the “peace through superior firepower” storyline we almost always see in movies, read in stories, and live in our lives.
Easter is the greatest story ever told. On March 31st, why not stop by anyone of the fine churches in your area and hear the story again. Let the Lamb of God change the way you look at the world and let it challenge the way you think evil should be dealt with.