Wednesday, February 22, 2023

When Jesus Saved the Dread Pirate Roberts

Suggested Reading: Luke 9:23-36

There's a scene in the movie The Princess Bride that I've always found funny. Princess Buttercup is engaged to Prince Humperdink because she thinks that her true love Westley has been murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. After the engagement, she is kidnapped by a band of rogues and finds herself in need of rescuing. This rescue comes in the form of the Dread Pirate Roberts, whom she believes has murdered Westley. When she confronts him about the murder, she manages to push him down a ravine. As he tumbles, he yells, "As you wish!" to let her know that he is Westley (if you didn't know that already, where have you been for the last 35 years?) At this revelation, Buttercup exclaims, "Oh my sweet Westley! What have I done?" and throws herself down the ravine as well, so that she tumbles and rolls and falls right next to Westley. From the very first time I saw that scene as a kid, I always wondered why Buttercup didn't find a less painful way to get to him. But she had missed him so much for so long she wasn't willing to wait and find a less painful route. She wanted to be with him at that very moment, so she purposefully threw herself down the ravine.

In Luke 9, just after Jesus begins teaching his disciples that he must suffer and die, Peter, James, and John get the chance to see Jesus transfigured on a mountain top and witness him conversing with Moses and Elijah. Verse 31 tells us that Moses and Elijah "appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem" (HCSB). I've probably read that passage four dozen times without catching the last part: his death which he was about to accomplish.

You see, Jesus' crucifixion was not an accident but something He set out to accomplish. Jesus looked down at us in the ravine of our sin and brokenness which separated us from Him, and He loved us so much that he threw himself down the ravine, enduring the pain and agony of the cross to close the distance between us. Just like Buttercup, who couldn't stand to be separated from her beloved anymore, Jesus launched himself into a world of heartache and despair so that we would never have to be apart again.

Maybe you've been wondering whether God really cares about you. Maybe you've forgotten. Or maybe God's love has simply become academic to you. Whatever your situation, stop for a moment and consider how much you would have to adore someone, how much you would have to long for them, to intentionally launch yourself into the kind of torture Jesus endured so that you could be with Him. Maybe, you'll finally begin to see how much you are worth to Him. And maybe, just maybe, you'll find yourself willing to launch yourself into danger for someone else.

What Did You Think Was Going to Happen?

Suggested Reading: Judges 16:4-21 or Judges 16 (the whole Samson and Delilah story) I may lose some readers over this statement, but.....