I happen to like science fiction and fantasy. I am enthralled by the idea of time travel, alternate realities, and the existence of things that I don’t understand. I look at the heavens and I know there is more—a whole lot more.
In the recent movie, Alice in Wonderland, by Tim Burton w/ Walt Disney Production, Alice enters Wonderland but doesn’t believe it’s real. It is very real; however, and the future of that place depends upon her realizing her destiny—slaying the Jabberwocky on the Frabjous Day. But to slay she must believe in the things she sees in that strange place AND she must believe who she is.
Neo, in the Matrix, faces a similar problem. That which seems real isn’t, and he has to learn to live out his destiny as a new man in a world that is deceived. He must believe in two realities at once. And to fulfill the purpose of liberating others and destroying the Matrix, he must work within the framework of the matrix from which he has been delivered.
The Kingdom of Heaven is also one of those things that seems unreal. If you haven’t swallowed the pill or fallen down the hole, it makes no sense. After all, Jesus himself said that that which is flesh is flesh and that which is of the spirit is spirit. One of my favorite stories in scripture is the story of the paralyzed man who is let down through the roof of a house to be healed. However, the first thing Jesus does is to forgive him his sins. The Scribes and Pharisees who were there, rebuked him and accused him of blasphemy because only God can forgive sin.
However, Jesus poses a question, “Which is easier to say, your sins be forgiven or rise and walk?” Of course it’s easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” because who can look and tell if they really are forgiven. But Jesus fires back to their questioning hearts, “So you will know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sin, arise, take up your bed and walk.”
And of course the man did.
Forgiveness of sins can’t be seen. The Holy Spirit can’t be seen, and neither can eternal life. So Jesus healed, raised the dead, and cast out devils to prove his point. Then he forgave and welcomed prostitutes, the despised, as well as arrogant, sinful fools like myself. He introduced a kingdom of compassion, peace, and justice—even if we as His children are a whole lot like Alice and Neo: we don’t know who we are, how we’re to act, or we haven’t fully comprehended the significance of our mission in this particular Wonderland and Matrix.
The Mad Hatter