It is [Christ’s] power to see into the depths of the human heart. It is not that he sees only the evil there; he sees also the sleeping hero in the soul of every man.
From Kung Fu Panda to Star Wars we see this idea of a “chosen one.” Usually this “chosen one” goes through a process of figuring out who he/she is. Someone picks them out, tells them they’re it, and as time goes on they see the evidence of it and begin to believe it.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not just wacky sci-fi voodoo. There’s some truth to it.
The Matrix is one of my favorite movies. Ever. Also, it’s probably the only Keanu Reeves movie worth investing any amount of time in. What I love about The Matrix is the parallels it has to the Kingdom of God.
“Mr. Anderson” is a software writer by day, hacker named “Neo” by night. He gets recruited by this guy named Morpheus who shows him the true state of mankind: namely it’s slavery to machines who keep us all entertained by this computer program known as “the matrix” which we think is the real world. Morpheus recruits Neo to be a part of a liberation group of sorts, fighting a losing war to free mankind from its enslavement slavery. They fight this war by infiltrating the matrix and attacking the machines. Morpheus wholeheartedly believes Neo is “the one” who will free the slaves and end the war. The only thing is Neo doesn’t think he’s “the one,” and the “agents” trying to stop the liberators from freeing mankind, want to keep him from realizing he’s “the one” and kill him.
Well, it’s a weird concept but it makes a lot of sense if you watch the movie. Anyway, here’s a clip. Watch it, we’ll talk about it after. Deal?
This is the turning point of the film right here. Two distinct things happen in this scene that bring this film into its climax, and they’re both centered on identity.
- The first happens at the beginning of the clip when Neo turns around and faces his enemy. Neo begins to believe in who Morpheus says he is, the one who can stand up to the agents and defeat them.
- The second happens at the end of the clip, when the Agent is trying to get Neo flattened by the subway car. Neo rejects his old identity (Mr. Anderson), which is being used to control him, and affirms his true identity (Neo).
There’s a lot one could say about this scene, but I want to talk about how it relates to our identity in Christ, and how our identity impacts our role in the Kingdom of God.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
Going off this verse, foreigners and aliens are outsiders, right? By very definition, they don’t really belong where they’re at in the world. But Paul the apostle, says that when we come into the family of God we get a share in God’s household. We’re not longer aliens. We belong.
In this scene, Neo can be used to represent the follower of Jesus. Once we give our lives over to God, this exchange happens. Jesus takes your identity, which was that of a rebel, and you get his, which is that of the son of God. Jesus takes your punishment, and you get his place as the son of God. Now when Jesus rose from the dead, he was seated with God in the heavenly places and all authority was put under his feet. Likewise, when we were dead in our sins, God raised us up and seated us with Jesus in the heavenly places. If we’re seated with Jesus, who has all authority under his feet, then what’s under his feet is somehow under ours too.
The second you come into the family of God, he gives you his life, his identity, and he gives you power. Now the enemy (the agents using The Matrix metaphor) know you’ve already got these things, which means they’re ultimately screwed. Though they can’t rob you of these things, they will do their best to convince you that they’re not yours, that you don’t really get that kind of power, that God doesn’t really love you as his own son, that you’re too weak to make a difference.
Life in Christ isn’t about what you’ve made of yourself, but what Jesus has made of you.
Jesus says, “you’re the one,” the enemy says, “you’re not the one, you’re insignificant.”
The point is, God has perfected you already. It. Is. Finished.
What we will begin to learn is that God sees you as his child who he loves and trusts. As his son, he’s given you authority over the things of this world. It’s easy for me to write, but difficult to believe. That’s what God’s working out in us all the time. Much like Morpheus speaking the identity of “the one” over Neo and believing it, Jesus says the same thing of us and believes it. He’s chosen us, he’s given us an identity and authority, and we just have to believe it. One of the lifelong journeys of discovery that we’ll embark on is learning more and more who we are in Jesus, learning what we’re entitled to as sons of God, learning the authority we have as sons of God, and all of it because God’s generous and loves us as his own children.
When we know who we are, we won’t be intimidated by the lies of the enemy. Instead of running, we will stand and fight and not give way to fear.
As we come to believe what God says about us, we will reject that old identity. You’re no longer the nerdy programmer working a 9-5 in a cubicle, you’re part of an army which is attacking the systems of this world from the inside. You’re not insignificant, you play a role in God’s story, in his adventures, in his purposes. You get to draw other 9-5’ers out of their matrix and into the reality of the kingdom of God. No longer will we respond to “Mr. Anderson,” but we’ll see ourselves as God sees us: As Neo, which, fittingly, is Greek for “new.” The old has gone, the new has come. You are not the old you anymore. In Christ, you are a new creation. There’s no process involved. Again, It is finished.
As Morpheus said: Lets begin to believe it.