Summary: This fad shows us how we can connect to this world’s fascination with the story of Jesus.
Good Things About The Da Vinci Code Fad
By now perhaps you have heard about the extremely popular novel, The Da Vinci Code written by Dan Brown. I was toying around with the idea of doing this message on Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey colt. I was going to title that message, “the Da Vinci Colt.” But I guess, I thought I better do it after Easter, closer to the movie’s opening day in May. Published in 2003, this mystery-thriller, with apparently 40 million in print (in 44 languages) and with 6 million more in paperback since March 28 of this year, is King-Kong sized huge! The movie trailers are already on TV, and it looks like it’ll be big box-office attraction. I am sure many of you, along with your friends will be watching or talking about this. I was golfing on Monday and folks are talking about it. It seems to be gaining a good following throughout the world. Why make a deal out of this fad? Mainly because it has gained such world-wide exposure and it is influencing pop culture of our day. If we are to reach this world with the good news of Jesus, we need to be ready to give a reason for the hope we say we have and do it in gentleness without looking ignorant of what they have been exposed to (1 Peter 3:15-16). If the numbers are correct in a recent poll (Apr. 2006) conducted by Ipsos Reid, CanWest News, already one in 5 Canadians believe in Dan Brown’s alternate version of history. And if we are ignorant of this, we will miss a great chance for Christians to build a bridge of understanding with people who seek to know the real story of Jesus and the reason for the hope we have in Him. I completed reading this novel and I believe there are really good things that we Christians got to grab a hold of with this fad.
Summary of the Plot
Tell u the truth, I am not a novel reading type. Just give me the movie version, or the Coles notes version, that’ll do! But I read it, all for the sake of doing research. First few chapters were good but it kinda bogs down in the middle for me as it becomes a little preachy and it sure had a rather lousy ending. My reaction to the ending of the book was – “What the… that’s it??” On entertainment value I’ll give 3 stars out of five. My wife read it and says she has read better mysteries and found it laughable especially when Mickey Mouse and Disney (p.282) made an appearance in the novel. What is the novel about? Basically it is about chasing after the Holy Grail. So we get an adventure, sort like Indiana Jones except that Indy is now called Robert Langdon, also a university professor, like Dr. Jones, blazing around Europe chasing after clues in search of the holy grail. Here is a good summary of the book by James Emery White (April 24, 2006 www.christianitytoday.com).
It starts off with the murder of a curator at the Louvre in Paris, leads to a trail of clues found in the work of Leonardo DaVinci, and the discovery of a centuries-old secret society. It’s a page-turner. But that’s not what has grabbed our attention. It’s that the clues of Leonardo’s work and the mission of the secret society (the priory of Sion) revolve around the Holy Grail.
This Holy Grail is not put forward as what we traditionally think of as the Holy Grail, the chalice that Jesus used during the Last Supper. The novel identifies the Holy Grail as the bloodline of Jesus and suggests that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and the mother of his child... After the crucifixion, she fled with their child to the south of France where they established the Merovingian line of European royalty, which then became the basis of a secret society to preserve that bloodline and to protect the secret until it was time to make it known to the wider world.
Along the way, author Dan Brown also suggests the church (at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD) invented (the bible as we know it and) the deity of Jesus, and it’s all been covered up primarily by a secretive Catholic group known as Opus Dei.
But let’s read from the Bible as we get into today’s message…
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. – John 1:1-3 (NIV)
Scholars date John to around 90 AD. No doubt on that! There is also no doubt where John is going with his opening statement about his gospel. He assumes that Jesus is divine. It was the NOT the church that invented Jesus as God in 325. So who wrote that Jesus is God first, the council at Nicea in 325 or John? John purposefully brought in the OT imagery of the creation account in Genesis where it states “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” to connect Jesus with creation. In the beginning Jesus was there, He is God, and there really is nothing to debate here. If you like, John coded His message like this - the Word, which spoke, the world into being is actually the code-word for Jesus. Conclusion: if you wanna decode what God is really like, all you need to do is to find out what Jesus is like, and you’ll get the picture. Don’t need Da Vinci or some later art-piece to tell you that. John and the other apostles told us this with even if it meant possible death and suffering for them. To pass this message on, was a dangerous thing but they did it. Why? Because if Jesus is God and He rose from the dead and forgave them their sins, then they have eternal life. It is a message worth giving their lives for.They have no intention to suppress the truth about the real Jesus. They risked their lives to tell it and so Jon writes the radical message of Jesus down telling us it was Jesus who made all things! Just in case you still can’t quite get the picture, John tells us that this Word who is God became flesh, if you jump down to v.14