Summary: Through this classic children’s story turned into movie, we find an essential element for following Jesus and the coming of God’s Kingdom.
The Gospel According To…
December 7, 2008
This week we are going to look at the Gospel According to Prince Caspian, which came out on DVD this week and we was shown on movie night on Friday. How many of you have read the Chronicles of Narnia? I’ve read them three or four times since I was a kid. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t get Prince Caspian. I didn’t get it’s connection to the gospel of the kingdom until recently. This is probably because my idea of the gospel was really too small.
Speaking of missing the point, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, Holmes wakes Watson. "Watson, look up at the stars and tell me what you deduce."
Watson says, "I see millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life."
Holmes replies, "Watson, you idiot, somebody stole our tent!"
Prince Caspian is about a crucial theme of the gospel of God’s kingdom—reconciliation. It is about the reconciliation between High King Peter and Prince Caspian. [view clip] It is the reconciliation that Prince Caspian has with his hatred and anger from his past. But most of all it about the reconciliation between the humans and the myth creatures. It is about finding peace and forgiveness. All are crucial ideas of God’s kingdom.
In the story, Prince Caspian has escaped into the deep forest after his uncle seizes the throne and attempts to have Caspian killed. From there Caspian summons the heroes of the first movie to return to Narnia to set things right. A thousand years has passed in Narnia while it has only been one year in our world. Reminds me of the scripture that says a thousand years is like a day to the Lord and day is like a thousand years.
What we learn is that these humans called Telmarines have taken control of Narnia and have tried to wipe out the myth creatures. Caspian needs the myth creatures with the help of Aslan to set things right and bring reconciliation between the races. Furthermore there is a competition between Peter and Caspian who each have different ideas on how to depose Caspian’s evil uncle. Finally they reconcile learning to sacrifice for one another.
Specifically this narrative is about race reconciliation. It is Christian in that in God’s kingdom there is no Jew or Gentile. They is no male or female. There is no black or white. This story shows us that in God’s kingdom there is no place for discrimination.
In Acts 10, we find the same principles given to us. I’m not going to read the whole chapter, you can do that this week. But let me give you some highlights. A Roman centurion named Cornelius has a dream. He lives in a town called Caesarea. This is a town named after Caesar. Cornelius was probably retired from the military or at least as retired as a centurion could be because you never really retire. Now often men like Cornelius who commanded hundreds would have a pretty loyal following. After all when you serve on the front lines with men and survive for many years and proved yourself, you often earn respect and admiration. So to keep these commanders from marching into Rome and taking command, the Caesar would create towns out on the fringes where these commanders and often their men would “retire.” They would be too far away to revolt and cause trouble but close enough to be valuable resources if needed.
However, we learn that Cornelius follows the one true God. In verse two it says that he was god-fearing. This was defined as someone who prayed regularly and gave to the poor. The Jews even respected him. But he probably wasn’t an actual Jew. First of all, he was a Gentile. But Gentile could go through a complicated process of becoming a Jew although they would never be a full-fledged member. Besides his military commitments probably prevented him from doing even if he wanted to.
Well, Cornelius has a dream. He is told to have a man named Peter brought to him so that Cornelius could hear some important news about what God was doing. Meanwhile Peter has a vision of a all kinds of animal many which are supposed to be unclean and unsuitable to eat under Jewish law. Yet, God instructs Peter to kill and eat them. Peter says, “No way! Never! It is wrong.” Perhaps Peter thought it was a test. But God tells him not to refuse by calling anything impure that God has made clean. Three times this happens and afterwards Peter is perplexed. He doesn’t know what this vision means until the men from Cornelius come. The Spirit tells Peter to go with them.