Summary: The world needs a real Savior. Jesus warns that there will be those coming who claim to be the Christ. This is a God and the Movies look at one of the cultures’ fictional saviors, James Bond, using the current interest in Casino Royale. The real World nee

Wow, the readings today speak to end times prophecy. There are many theories about when the end of this phase of life will happen and what to look for. The Prophet Daniel had prohecied that the Temple would be desecrated, and in 168 BC it was. Jesus speaks of the Temple being destroyed, of the disaster that will befall Jerusalem, and in 70AD the Romans do exactly that. But those are foreshadowings of what is to come. We are still waiting for the return Jesus promised. I am not going to speculate on the "when" of these events, Jesus said only the Father knows that, but rather that it is clear that what this points to is that the world needs a savior. Man has been coming up with heroes and saviors of his own creation since we first told stories around the fire. This week the latest incarnation of the hero who saves the world hit the screens with James Bond’s Casino Royale, and I thought it was great. If you’ve read the novels I think you’ll agree that this Bond captures the author’s intention when he penned the character.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s when spies were cool.

Bond had cool theme music, and I always wanted cool theme music. It made you feel that if you just had the right look you could be just like him. (Bond theme came on here and I took off my robe to reveal the Tuxedo I had on)of course I was 6 year boy in Knoxville Tn, so I don’t know how suave I actually was.

This outfit (my rental tux) just makes you feel cool and accomplished. In the 60’s there were Bond toys (pictures of these on screen) to prepare the budding hero, and men read articles on Bond gadgets,clothes and lifestyle. Bond became an icon for the American man. "Every woman loves him, every man wants to be him" is a paraphrase from one of the current movie trailers on TV. But as the years went on you could choose your favorite Bond. Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton,Brosnan, and now Craig.

Everyone has their idea of the definitive Bond. It spawned a facination with spies and a host of copies with the Avengers, Wild Wild West, I Spy, Get Smart, Secret Agent Man, and the Man From Uncle. But which incarnation of Bond matches the author’s intention? Which Bond is the Bond?

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus warns that when these events begin to occur there will be pretenders and false Christ’s,but not to be taken in by signs, the elect will know the Christ, because they are in a real relationship with God. For us right here and now, the "Temple that becomes desolate" that I want to focus on is our heart, and that is the Temple that the Christ should reign from. Too many churches are trading in the actual Christ of the Scriptures for a culturally acceptable version, rather than a Counter- Cultural Savior who calls us to radically transformed lives.

The false Christ I need to be aware of is the Jesus I invent, the comfortable Christ that with a wink and a nod gives me a pass and allows me to make deals with myself. The comfortable Jesus who allows me to remain unaccountable and undercover. That false Jesus is the one that really doesn’t expect me to be transformed.He doesn’t really mind when I choose to ignore my relationship with God. He is as ever changing as my own desires. But he is a Jesus of my own fiction, an incarnation of my own design, and really that means I am acting as my own savior and not trusting God to be enough. We aren’t facing an evil legion dressed in color coordinated jumpsuits in an underground lair. Too often the enemy looks uncomfortably like me.

If we are to truly be diciples of the real savior, we need to know Him, we need to be familiar and intimate with the author of life. If we are to follow Him, we must know Him. So what does the real savior look like?

If you think that people were bummed out by Daniel Craig’s blond hair in Casino Royale, think how different our image of Jesus is from who He is in scripture. I remember the blond haired, blue eyed, meek and mild Jesus I grew up with. Phillip Yancey really describes this well in his book, The Jesus I never Knew. That Jesus wasn’t really a picture of the man I would pattern my life after or want to follow as I grew to manhood.

But the scriptures give us a real picture of a real man, and a real Savior. Jesus was a builder, the son of a carpenter, traveling by foot everywhere he goes, living outdoors. He is a strong man who faces off with evil at the start of His ministry facing Satan in the wilderness, demonstrating His confidence in, and His obedience to, God the Father. He is humble, becoming one of us, reaching out to women and children.He is courageous, facing the angry crowds, facing a demonic lunatic who rushes at Him from the tombs, breaking chains. He doesn’t compromise with evil because it may be convenient or politically expedient. He is forgiving and merciful, restoring the broken Peter after his denials.He is prayerful, spending quality time with His Father, engaging God on the deepest levels. He faces death and endures what no movie can really depict. He is victorious! The list could go on, there are so many images of Jesus from the Gospels. This is THE man that every man should desire to follow, that every woman should long for her husband to be in relationship with, and that every child can look to for love, protection and guidance.

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Louis Pinga

commented on Dec 28, 2017

There have been many people hurt by Discipleship. Be careful that you are not part of a Church that Lords over you. God wants us to be independent and critical thinkers. These are the qualities depicted in the Bond movies. Jesus the annointed one provided for us freedom from the slavery of sin. This doesn't mean we will be without sin altogether. However, the freedom Jesus gave us allows us to be creative and sometimes adventureous like Bond. You are not committing sin by being adventureous, creative, with an independent and critical mindset. God does not enslave but provides freedom. The freedom to think creatively like Bond who must act in a split second decision. God provides this freedom to you. God can make you anything you ask him in prayer. God can make you a James Bond. Better still God can make you a servant of all in his Kingdom. Blessings!

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