I was watching Star Wars: the Force Awakens about a week ago and the Holy Spirit rocked my world. You read that right…I had a Holy Spirit encounter while watching Star Wars. It goes to show that His reach is without limits right? The scene: Han Solo encounters his son, Kylo Ren, on the surface of the StarKiller Base created by the First Order. If you’re not a Star Wars fan then I may have lost you. Just know this…Kylo Ren has been taken by the dark side of the force, and Han Solo (his father) has never given up hope that he can become good once again. This scene is one of the most powerful in the entire movie. At the beginning of this scene, Han Solo has a choice to make, escape the planet unharmed, or risk his life to confront his son. Han’s love for his son made that no real choice at all. It drew him out onto the breezeway where Han called to his son, and he immediately stopped and turned around. Han walked out to him until they were face to face. Here is the dialogue that ensues:
Han Solo: Ben!
Kylo Ren: Han Solo. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.
Han Solo: Take off that mask. You don’t need it.
Kylo Ren: What do you think you’ll see if I do?
Han Solo: The face of my son.
Kylo Ren: Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish like his father, so I destroyed him.
Han Solo: That’s what Snoke wants you to believe, but it’s not true. My son is alive.
Kylo Ren: No. The Supreme Leader is wise.
Han Solo: Snoke is using you for your power. When he gets what he wants, he’ll crush you. You know it’s true.
Kylo Ren: It’s too late.
Han Solo: No, it’s not. Leave here with me. Come home. We miss you.
Kylo Ren: I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?
Han Solo: Yes. Anything.
The moment that comes next was heartbreaking! Kylo Ren kills his own father with his lightsaber. The moment that shook me came next and it’s pictured in the image at the beginning of this post. In his last seconds of life, Han Solo reaches up and caresses his son’s face while gazing endearingly into his eyes. It was as if Han Solo’s only thought at that moment was that he got to see his son one last time, look into his eyes, and touch his face. The look on Han’s face showed no sign that he was focused on his own eminent death. Kylo’s cruel act could do nothing to destroy his father’s love for him.
So how do I see Jesus in all of this? The love of Christ is so great that it is unshakable, even when our sin was killing Him nearly 2000 years ago. When He created us, knowing our fallibility, knowing His blood was needed to cover our mistakes, Jesus loved us. Even as the crowds stood in the courts and yelled for His blood, Jesus must have been overwhelmed with His love for them, for us, for me. With each stroke of the lashes that tore the skin on His back, the love of Jesus held true. When the nails were driven into His body, securing Him to the cross, the love of Jesus was prevailing. When the voices shouted out in mocking fashion while He hung on the cross, His heart was moved with compassion for them. If it were possible, I’m sure Jesus would have embraced all of His executioners.
We so greatly underestimate the love of Christ. We acknowledge His great sacrifice, but rarely do we allow His motivation of love to break and reshape our hearts. I believe that Jesus would have extended His hands to each of those Roman soldiers and hate-filled Pharisees, had His arms not been fastened to the tree. If you haven’t, try to think of it this way and see if it doesn’t move you to tears. Even if it were you that drove the nails into His body, He’d still love you. Even if it were you that whipped Him, mocked Him, or forced a crown of thorns on His head, He’d still love you. The reality is, that you and me did do all of those things. Our sin necessitated His suffering. But in the midst of His blood splattered face were eyes, filled with love, gazing back at His betrayers…His murderers…at us…wanting to make us sons and daughters. And while it must have physically pained Him more than I can imagine, He did it with joy.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
The choice is laid out for all of humanity. We can continue in the life of darkness, disregarding this incomprehensible sacrifice and love, or we can allow His love to prevail in our hearts. His love never gives up on us. His love sees no limits. His love makes it possible for anyone to be saved. Why anyone would walk away from a love like this, i’ll never know. Jesus has proven that He’d do anything to save humanity…to save you and me. Be encouraged my brothers and sisters. We are so fiercely loved!
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)