We all love good stories. There’s something in us that wants be enthralled by the conflict, climax and concluding resolution of engaging narratives. In these stories there’s often a hero and a villain—think of Batman and the Joker, the Avengers and Loki or Harry Potter and Voldemort. An evil villain wreaks havoc on a peaceful world, and the hero arises from an unlikely place to save it. This hero undergoes difficult tests to grow in his or her power until they ultimately defeat the villain through some kind of great sacrifice, which is often their own life.
This kind of story has played out so many times—from Beowulf to the Odyssey to the modern examples mentioned above— that literary scholars call it “the Monomyth.” It can be said that most of the great stories are about a fall, the call of a hero, his death and resurrection, then the reward and redemption of the world.
Why are we so drawn to reading and writing these stories?
C.S. Lewis, a professor of literature, pointed out that “We should expect to find in the imagination of . . . myth makers some glimpse of that theme which we believe to be the very plot of the whole cosmic story – the theme of incarnation, death, and rebirth.” As Christians, we believe that the central story of everything, the main point of the whole universe is the death and resurrection of the Son of God.
We are drawn to these journeys of heroes because they reflect the story of the ultimate hero. All stories of redemption, sacrifice, and the conquering of evil are only glimpses of the ultimate redemption and sacrifice found in Christ. All stories of heroes follow a similar pattern, but the difference is that the story of Jesus is true. It is something grounded in history, not fantasy.
Jesus came into a world that was tarnished and broken by evil. He encountered tests, trials and triumphs and lived the perfect life through them. In the end, he battled against an enemy that has defeated every hero before Him: sin and death. At the climax of the story, it seemed as though death would beat the Savior of the world too, but Jesus conquered it by rising again from the dead. He killed death and proved that he was the greatest Hero.
This Wednesday, we’re beginning a new series through the life of Jesus, which is called, “The Hero’s Journey.” In this series, we’ll follow the major points, conflicts and resolution of Jesus, the original and perfect hero.