3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: Confusion happens when you miss the first part of the story. The Passion of the Christ doesn’t give you the first part of the story. Second of four in the series "Dying was His Reason for Living."

Dying Was His Reason for Living

The Plot: Why Did Jesus Have to Die

Brad Crocker

Landmark Christian Church, Chippewa Falls, WI


Confusion happens when you miss the first part of the story.

If the first line you heard in Gone with the Wind was Rhett’s parting shot at Scarlett, you would probably have wondered, “Why is he being so rude to that poor lady?”

If you had walked in halfway through The Return of the King without having seen the other two in the trilogy, you probably would have wondered, “Why are they risking their lives over a ring, and why is that really ugly thing their guide?”

If you had walked in halfway through Tootsie or Mrs. Doubtfire, you would have wondered why Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams were crossdressing.

Confusion happens when you miss the first part of the story.

The Passion of the Christ doesn’t give you the first part of the story. It picks up at the very end of Jesus’ life, which is also the most important part of His life – the reason why He came to earth. But because it picks up at the end, it leaves many people wondering, “Why did they hate this guy so much? Why did people want to kill Him? What does His death mean? Why did Jesus have to die?”

To understand Rhett’s rudeness, Frodo’s quest or Dustin Hoffman’s wardrobe, you have to go back and watch the movie from the beginning. Then it would all make sense. To understand the meaning of Jesus’ death you also have to go back – all the way back to the beginning of His story, which is also the beginning of the story of our world.

Today I want to help you better understand why Jesus died by tracing the plot line of our world, which just happens to parallel a classic plot line in many movies and books.

1. Classic Plotline

There are five major elements to the plot of countless stories.

The first element is

A. Idyllic Beginning

Many stories begin with the world, or at least some part of the world, as we all think it ought to be. This may be a family that is happily enjoying life together. It could be a whole community peaceful and prosperous. Romance movies illustrate this beautiful beginning with the famous couple montage that to the background of sweet music shows scenes of the couple together, running in the park, sharing and ice cream cone, laughing falling into each other’s arms – these make many men gag but they get the point across. The world couldn’t be better.

Finding Nemo begins with the world just right. The opening scene shows an in-love clownfish couple that has just found its first home (a sea anemone) and is about to have a bunch of little baby clownfish.

But then, a barracuda appears, and we are on to the next classic plot element

B. Ruinous Problem

The barracuda attacks the clownfish couple, killing the wife and all the babies except one – a little clownfish named Nemo that survives but suffers permanent damage to one of his fins. The father, Marlin, also survives, but is traumatized by the attack and becomes suffocatingly overprotective of Nemo. Nemo, during an act of rebellion, subsequently gets captured by a scuba-diving dentist and taken far away to the fish tank in the dentist’s office in Sydney, Australia. Marlin is devastated.

If there is one plot element that is universal, it is the intrusion of a problem. There is a problem or a conflict or a disaster in virtually every story ever told or every movie ever made. There is always something bad that happens or threatens to happen that sets in peril whatever goodness the people have found.

Sometimes there are dark forces of evil or a sinister plot. Sometimes there is a tragic death or a vicious crime. Other movies have more subtle problems like cultural conflicts, misunderstandings, or misplaced priorities. But there is always a fall, some sort of bad thing that ruins what was good.

This leads to the third classic story element:

C. Improbable Solution

In the case of Finding Nemo, his father has to go find Nemo, which means he has to figure out where Nemo sped off to in the boat, swim all the way there, and then retrieve him out of a fish tank – hard to do when all you have to work with is fins.

Mission Impossible put the name to this plot element, but it is very common. A task with virtually no chance of success has to be attempted.

The fourth classic plot element then is that, despite all the odds, the hero attains success.

D. Surprising Success

Amazingly, through perseverance, bravery and luck, the hero somehow accomplishes his feat.

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