Monday, October 09, 2006
About a week and a half ago my wife and I saw the movie the illusionist. It is about a magicician (Edward Norton) who in the turn-of-the-century Vienna uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing. I found it to be an entertaining movie. Overall the acting was good, and the story line was suspenseful. It had a couple of interesting twists. With a PG-13 rating it was fairly tame by movie standards. But even more than the movie itself, the real intrigue for me was how people were so captivated by the illusionists' magic. Each night he would perform to a packed house.
What is it that drew the people to come and see him? I believe the answer was they were curious to see what he would do next. At first his illusions were physical (i.e. making an apple tree grow from a pot in seconds, or keeping someone from being able to lift a sword off the ground). But then his illusions go to the spiritual. Eisenheim the illusionist apparently summons spirits (including the spirit of Sophie, the woman he loved), leading many to believe that he possesses supernatural powers. This mystery of the power they believe he posseses is what draws them to the theatre each night.
What many forget (or don't know) is that people were drawn to Jesus for many of the same reasons. There was a great mystery that surrounded Jesus. People wondered how it was that the simple son of a carpenter could heal the sick, make the lame walk, or feed 5,ooo plus people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. But the difference between Eisenheim the illusionist and Jesus is that Jesus' power was not magic; it was real. Jesus' power flowed from God. Jesus' actions were all designed to help people to understand that the way to heaven was through faith in Jesus, the Son of God.
There is another wonder here as well. And that is that God wanted us to see and understand the mystery of God and life. In the book of Colossians, chapter 1, verses 25-27, we are told:
"25...the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." This wonderful mystery is that Jesus Christ, through faith, can live in you and me. And by His living in us, we can know the will of God and can have access to the power of God; the power that is designed to bring glory not to ourselves, but to our creator, God.
I believe that there are too many things in this world that deceive us into thinking that we are following the right path. I believe there are too many illusions that satan puts in front of us to keep us from seeing and understanding that life in Christ is the most profound and meaningful life we can have. If you are feeling a bit lost, seek Christ, who doesn't trick us with illusions, but brings us into full understanding, and then leads us forward into the life we were created to have. What do you think? Let me know.