Many films have a “Christ figure,” that is, a character who is savior-like. This person is usually larger-than-life and often fights for a cause, atones for wrongdoing, redeems hurting and broken people, or even sacrifices his own life for the good of others.
In the movie Braveheart we see William Wallace do all those and more. Wallace battled for the nation of Scotland to be freed from its slavery to England. He was executed for his beliefs and actions. His preached a new kind of freedom to the people of Scotland. And his sacrificial death helped usher in that freedom. He was an inspiration and example to his people.
In the last post, I wrote about the depravity of mankind. The reality of life is that there are major problems in my own life and in the lives around me. In theater and film, it’s characters like William Wallace that come to the rescue to solve those problems.
As mighty as Wallace might seem, however, ultimately he and other “Christ figures” fall short of the true Christ. Wallace — a real person, remember — could not forgive sin, empower the souls of men, or free the Scottish people from slavery to sin (or even another nation for that matter). Nevertheless, Christ figures like Wallace leave us longing for the true Christ. Characters like Wallace make us say, “I will follow that man!” Yet at the end of the film, Wallace is executed, never to live again.
But Jesus is the God-man who said, “Follow me.” He preached a new kind of freedom for men’s souls. He was executed for his beliefs and actions even though he was sinless. His sacrificial death actually purchased the freedom he spoke of. But he didn’t stay dead. He rose from the grave. He was not only an inspiration and example to his people: he was, and is, Lord and Savior.
To be continued.