Darth Vader and Jesus Agree

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

Remember that scene in Star Wars where the Empire’s generals are discussing how to best use their new Death Star against the Alliance? A certain general gets very cheeky with Vader, calling his allegiance to the ‘religion’ of the Force as rubbish when compared to the power of the Death Star. I love the follow up – Vader performs a Force-grip on his throat, and says one of the best lines of the film – ” I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

What could this possibly have to do with Jesus, you ask? Though he would no doubt disagree with how Vader’s methods, Jesus, I believe, would surely have agreed with the sentiment. Jesus too finds your lack of faith disturbing.

I’ve been considering this of late. Think about Mark 3, where Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand. Jesus challenges his critics, healing a man on the Sabbath, even when he knew he shouldn’t. Mark writes that “he looked around at [the Pharisees] in anger and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts”. Mark also writes that Jesus went to his hometown, and no one believed in Him or His message, and “[Jesus] was amazed at their lack of faith.”; Jesus calmed the storm and turned to His fearful disciples saying “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”; and here’s the kicker – after Jesus is resurrected, He appears to his disciples saying “Bam!” (not a direct quote) and Mark writes that he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe.

I think you get the point. When we see patterns in the Bible we should infer their importance. Ravi Zacharias in his book “Jesus Among Other Gods” suggests that Jesus’ purpose was to lead us into a reality as God alone knows it. I dig that. Following that thought: God’s reality is the kingdom of God. One enters the kingdom of God through being reborn (John 3). How does one be reborn? By faith. Faith, in modern parlance, being a reasoned trust in God to be and to do that which, to me, may seem unreasonable.

I think that’s what Jesus was getting to when he said that faith as small as a mustard seed could move mountains; the same when he said “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Jesus wanted us to have faith in God more than anything because he knew – indeed he knows – that by it we will be reborn and live with God. The righteous shall live by faith, as they say.

Jesus employed metaphor to explain how we ought to have faith (the mustard seed/mountain metaphor) so our faith would not be rote, dry and formulaic; metaphor forces us to probe the idea deeply and critically with all our faculties. Faith in God may be difficult, but it can be simple also.

If we lack faith, however, Jesus finds it disturbing. In fact, he gets very frustrated. Out of a love, not out of spite. Consider Luke 10 where Jesus says woe to these twin cities that rejected his message, he says “For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.” Clearly Jesus is concerned with our faith.

I suggest here no answers to the “how” of having faith in God. Formulas lead us nowhere.

What I can say is have faith in God, and do not lack it – Jesus wanted you to have faith so you would live and not die. Faith in anything else but God is just disturbing – besides, remember what happened to the Death Star? Yeah, it got blown up.

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