Tag Archive: narnia


cliff

i can’t remember any time recently when i wanted to kill the pastor of the church i was in [Ben the Priest is kinda cool!]. In fact it’s probably more likely that there were people thinking those kinds of thoughts about me during some of my more challenging or hectic messages back in the day. Continue reading

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aslan“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”  [Aslan, ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe]

There are two passages I want to look at here, both from Matthew 16:

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’

What is possibly the most interesting part about this passage is the one that follows it. Peter has just demonstrated the ability to tune into the things of God and be directed towards the revelation of the Spirit. But then he returns to being Peter, the simple fisherman.

’21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. “Never, Lord!” He said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.’

I mean let’s not miss this here. He calls one of his best men ‘satan’ – it doesn’t get much worse than that. This is not a tame Jesus we are dealing with. The lion is out.

Although I do believe there is a subtle distinction to be made here, because I don’t think Jesus is actually calling Peter ‘the devil’ but He is addressing the nature of the devil that is coming through the statement that Peter makes. His follow-up statement seems to suggest that – ‘you have in mind the things of man and not of God.’ That message itself [actually the root of all human suffering if you dig deep enough] is so offensive to God that Jesus has to take issue on it. He rebukes Peter right there in front of his friends. None of this Matthew 18.15 stuff of quietly dealing with the person one on one. Peter makes a public statement that goes against the very will of God and so Jesus steps in forcefully and takes it down.

It is important to pick up the ‘He isn’t safe, but He’s good’ aspects of this story. Jesus is addressing the statement Peter is making and doing so strongly because it is important for the disciples to realise just what He is and isn’t about. But He remains friends with Peter and doesn’t turf him out because of this misstep. The increasingly unpopular ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ which I still find to be true.

I discovered this paragraph by Ken Matto on the passage which I really liked:

‘Peter was rebuked because he was looking at things from man’s point of view rather than from God’s point of view. This would be a very subtle satanic method and very innocuous. It showed Peter had a caring spirit but one that was misguided. Jesus rebuked Peter because his thoughts were in line with Satan’s thoughts which would be anti-God even if it was done violently. Much sin is committed under the guise of care when it is misguided. This is why we need to check things out in the Scriptures, no matter how caring a person is, if they are misleading us, then they must be rebuked and this is what Jesus did with Peter. He was not chiding him but trying to refocus his thinking back on the things of God. Jesus was always teaching and training His disciples, as He was here with Peter, so when Pentecost came and they were filled with the Spirit, the disciples would be ready to start evangelizing.’ [Ken Matto]

And so a great passage to start this series with as it demonstrated both the powerful and loving nature of Jesus, who, let’s not forget, is represented both as lion and lamb.

[To read the next part in the series, a guest post by Dalene Reyburn called Glory in the Claws, click here]

aslanIf you’ve never read the Narnia series by legendary author  Clive Staples Lewis, you’re doing yourself a misfortune.

In it he crafts a mysterious and magical world called Narnia that four young British children stumble into, through the back of an old wardrobe in a country house they are evacuated to during the second World War in London, in the first book titled ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’.

Much like Pilgrim’s progress, written by John Bunyan in 1678, ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ [and the subsequent books in the seven book series] was a Christian allegory sharing principles and truths of the Christian faith, through the telling of a captivating story.

Aslan is the name of the lion character that is introduced and it becomes clear that he represents Jesus in the way that He speaks and loves and lives [and dies, and comes back!]. He often represents a side of Jesus that we too often like to shy away from [especially in these emergent, post-modern times where we don’t ever want to feel bad or obligated or the need to repent for anything].

Two statements from ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ illustrate this well:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” 

The idea of Jesus not being safe, but still being good. With statements like ‘If you want to follow Me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me,’ is not a very safe statement. But it is good.

And the second one:

“He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

We tend to like the idea of a tame Jesus, that we can control. So the idea and practice of ‘this far and no further’. We like to be able to set the boundaries and draw the lines of commitment when Jesus has already invited us to a ‘life to the full’ but one that requires complete absolute commitment.

So I wanted to run a series [and maybe I will get some help from some friends] on some of the aspects of Jesus that are maybe easier to overlook or play down. The times when Jesus came across a little more like a lion than a lamb. This is an essential part of His character and should not be missed.

Join me on this journey as we take a bit of a deeper look at Aslan Jesus:

“I have come,” said a deep voice behind them. They turned and saw the Lion himself, so bright and real and strong that everything else began at once to look pale and shadowy compared with him.” [C.S. Lewis ‘The Silver Chair’]

[disclaimer: sadly Aslan is the one character I felt the movies got wrong. He needed a James Earl Jones Mufasa type voice of authority and they gave him a friendly Uncle Liam Neeson and so he, in my opinion, came across as rather a tame lion, which was an immense pity, as the rest of the movie was pretty good]

[For part I of this series titled ‘Get thee behind me’ click here]

[for part II of this series – guest post by Dalene Reyburn titled ‘Glory in the Claws’ click here]

[For part III of this series ‘Sticks and Stones’ click here]

[For part IV on Enough being Enough, click here]

[For part V on life backing up profession of faith, click here]

[For part VI on Jesus kicking some Pharisaical butt, click here] 

so we wait with bated breath til some Christ-followers can actually write, direct, film and act in a movie that is worth watching… there have been some that come close but at the moment it’s still ‘secular’ movies like The Blind Side and Dead Man Walking that seem to portray Christian love, grace, acceptance and forgiveness better than any ‘Christian’ film i am yet to see, and i sadly still believe that most ‘Christian’ movies are pretty rubbish [you disagree? post your ‘Christian’ movie of choice and let’s see if i’ve seen it]

in the meantime though it is exciting to see that the Christ-following authors have strongly gotten their act together, altho to be fair if we look back to Pilgrim’s progress and C.S.Lewis’ Narnia books i spose we can say that’s been happening for a while. But when i discovered my first Ted Dekker book titled ‘Thr3e’ something in me jumped and said ‘it is time.’ As much as i think Francine Rivers catches the heart in some of her stories [to be fair, only read Redeeming Love and The Atonement Child] and i really did enjoy both the ones that read, i think that her writing is still painfully cheesy at times and she doesn’t quite do it for me [and millions disagree and that’s okay – nice stories, not great writing imo] but Ted Dekker arrived and boom!

again there were authors like Frank Peretti whose ‘This Present Darkness’ series blew me away at the time altho most of his subsequent books failed to produce the same kind of response in me [‘House’ by Peretti and Dekker on the other hand…] and the Left Behind series guys who also provoked a ‘wo’ in me(at the time, altho stopped halfway through cos they couldn’t keep up with me, but then once they started writing prequels and left behind for kids i think i got a lot more suspicious about their motivationals and lost interest)

i had seen Ted Dekker books in christian bookshops for years and was always wondering if they were any good cos seemed to be a bunch of them and if they were good then a bunch of cool stuff to read, but never got round to making the move of trying one out. then i think someone recommended ‘Thr3e’ and i read it and was hooked and have now almost pretty much run out of Ted Dekkers and wait patiently (like for Terry Pratchett) for the next one – i describe him as Stephen King if he was a Christian and yeah ‘Thr3e’, ‘Blink’, ‘Circle Series,’ ‘House’ and others are well worth the read – very, very dark some of them, hectic thriller with supernatural elements but never going too far into the message-preaching realm but giving enough to make you think – very real characters, honest, raw, rough writing and page-turning stuff – difficult to put down

which brings me to Robert Liparulo – happened to venture into gospel direct last week and saw these two hardcover books which looked intriguing called ‘Comes a Horseman’ and ‘Deadfall’ for R55 and R40 which is nothing for a hardcover – never heard of him altho there was a Ted Dekker endorsement in the one book so thort let’s give it a try and yeah, he’s no Ted Dekker but he is not too far off…

equally dark and supernatural in terms of ‘C a H’ being about secret societies and anticipation of the antichrist and ritual serial killings but again some good characters, some hardcore action and some pretty decent writing… and now reading Deadfall which i am enjoying even more – occasional semicheesy trying-that-little-bit-too-hard line of dialogue, but generally riveting stuff

sadly, i think he only has one other book out – ‘Germ’ – so i might have to add him to my pile of authors-who-need-to-write-quicker-so-i-can-read-their-stuff but for the time being (with half of Deadfall to go) i am happy…

anyone else read him? thoughts? feedback? other good reads?

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