Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A Messiah Figure

We all need a Messiah-figure to lean on!

1. Many claim to be Messiahs (fulfilling the prophecy in Mat 24:4)
2. Many are made to be Messiahs after their death e.g. Moh. (PBOH), by some sects of Islm
3. Many stories contain a messiah-figure

The film the matrix had some parallels with Jesus as Messiah:

* The Matrix is the Gospel of Neo, the coming of age of the postmodern messiah, his death, and his resurrection.
* The Matrix Reloaded perhaps corresponds to the Acts of the new messiah and his disciples, chronicling the next stage of their struggle with the machines.
* The Matrix Revolutions concludes the trilogy with the Apocalypse According to St. Neo, where during the apocalyptic final battle between humanity and the machines, Neo ends the war and brings the final realization of the messianic age of peace between humanity and machines.1

The Matrix, despite all its philosophising, is a story. Matthew clearly saw Jesus as fulfilling OT prophecy for a Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of God, (and most strongly) the Son of Man – the figure in Daniel 7, who is given authority over all nations – hence the end of Matthew (‘All authority has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples of all nations…’). One of the questions that comes up is, ‘What now do we make of the law and the prophets, now that Jesus the Messiah has come?’ Notice that the question is not, ‘What do we make of Jesus, in the light of the law and prophets?’, but, ‘How do the law and the prophets apply, now that Jesus has come?’ In fact, Jesus taught his own version of Moses’ law, in the Sermon on the Mount.

Often we focus too much on carrying out Jesus’ command to go to all nations, without realising who Jesus is, and the authority He has been given. Without Him, and his authority, we are nothing, and can do nothing.

Also, when we do go, the message we take is often to do with a set of faith doctrines, a philosophy (almost), that people have to sign up to. We forget to tell them the story of the Old Testament, the need for a Messiah, and Jesus coming to fulfil that expectation. We also forget to tell the ultimate happy ending of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, focussing too much on our guilt and its need for forgiveness, or some other me-centred gospel (that can sound like a spiritual insurance policy or alternative spirituality). The good news about Jesus is that he is ‘the One’, the one who came to make us the human beings God wanted us to be, and to bring into being the Kingdom of God focussed around a new community of followers of Jesus, no matter what their background or past. Good news indeed!

1 http://www.unomaha.edu/jrf/Vol9No2/StuckyMatrixMessiah.htm accessed 12th January 2010


Anonymous said...

What prompted this, David?Did you watch The Matrix on TV over Christmas? I'm glad to see you referring to the OT: "We forget to tell them the story of the Old Testament, the need for a Messiah, and Jesus coming to fulfil that expectation." Maybe that's because I heard Chris Wright on mission twice last weekend - first from 1 Kings 8 and then from Exodus 19 - great stuff!

DaveG said...

The Matrix has a much clearer Messiah figure than any other recent film - if you can call it recent. Avatar was great, but mainly an advance in technology (and budget) rather than in ideas. The plot was an old one, though it raises some interesting issues about how to defend cultures (with their languages) that might soon disappear. Arming them or fighting with them might be going too far, however...