Herald Journal Columns
Dec. 12, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

‘The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe’

By Pastor Paul Friberg, Berean Baptist Church, Glencoe

One day, in art class, the teacher held up a picture. If you held it one way, it was a picture of an old lady. If you turned it over, it was a picture of a young lady.

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, I was not exposed to the finer points of art. I had to be honest – I did not see the old lady or a younger lady in the picture. I was not alone; there were others in the class that did not see it either.

It was not until the teacher started to trace out the face with her finger that the picture took shape. She pointed out the nose, the mouth, and the ear, to reveal the face. Then, we could see it.

During this holiday season, a movie based on C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” will play in theatres throughout the country. The books were originally published over 50 years ago. They tell a fantastic story that stirs the imagination of all who see it.

Narnia is a place and time outside our “everyday” world, and home to a host of astonishing characters. One of these characters is Aslan. He is portrayed as an awe-inspiring Lion-king of Narnia. He is the rightful king, but his rule was subverted by the White Witch: the Queen of Underland, who has plotted to overthrow Narnia.

This character named Aslan very closely compares to Jesus Christ (Lion of the tribe of Judah, Revelation 5:5) in a number of surprising ways.

Just as in my art class back in Chicago, some will see it, while others will not. Just as my teacher pointed out a few features to help me see the picture, let me highlight a few similarities between Aslan, the Lion-king of Narnia, and Jesus Christ (Lion of the tribe of Judah, Revelation 5:5).

Aslan and Jesus both had a similar problem: to save a friend in danger. In “The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe,” Edmund eats his fill of enchanted candy called “Turkish Delight,” given to him by the White Witch. Edmund’s greed and desire for more “Turkish Delight” clouds his vision of reality. Instead of seeing the White Witch as an evil person, he convinces himself that Aslan is evil and the White Witch is actually good.

The Bible describes our problem very similarly. We have sinned against God’s commands. “. . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [and] the wages of sin is death.” Romans 3:23, 6:23.

As king, both Aslan and Jesus could respond in judgment, but both Aslan and Jesus respond in compassion and kindness.

The awe-inspiring Aslan willingly sacrifices his life to save another by taking the place of Edmund. The White Witch sees this as an offer she cannot refuse, and agrees to trade the life of the great Aslan for Edmund.

Jesus Christ did that for us: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend . . .” John 15:13

Both knew the ultimate cost that would be involved in saving a friend. In the story, Edmund’s sister, Lucy, asked Aslan, “Can anything be done to save Edmund?”

“All shall be done,” said Aslan. “But it may be harder than you think.”

Christ is described this way: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10.

It is amazing how both were willing to lay down their lives for others.

Another powerful similarity is the way both are treated after they lay their lives down. In “The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe,” it is described this way: “Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage . . . kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.”

Look at Christ: “Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.” Matthew 27:27-30

What striking similarities! Aslan chose to lay his life down for Edmund; Christ chose to suffer and die for us.

Yet, in both accounts, they did not stay dead. Look at Aslan: “‘Who’s done it?’ cried Susan. ‘What does it mean? Is it more magic?’

“‘Yes!’ said a great voice behind their backs. They looked around . . . and there stood Aslan. himself.”

Compare this to the gospel account of Jesus: “‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there . . . ” John 20:13-14.

That is powerful! Both Aslan and Jesus reappeared after they died.

Aslan: “When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

Jesus: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’” Romans 5:8. Then, in Romans 6:9, it says: “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”

They both can say, “Mission accomplished.” They have achieved their purposes.

There are many more parallels between the character named Aslan (the Lion-king) and the biblical accounts of Jesus Christ (Lion of Judah). I encourage you to look for them as you watch this powerful film and read about Jesus Christ in the Bible.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

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