John 3:16-17, Matthew 15:29-31, Luke 18:31-33; John 19:28-30; Romans 5:6-11; Philippians 2:5-11
It is an unlikely story. But I only just realized this.
Recently, my wife and I surprised our kids by taking them to the Humane Society. We’d seen a kitten on their website and thought he would be would be perfect for our family. But when we got there, we realized he had a twin brother. As we walked up to them we saw them playing together. Not having the heart to separate them, we left with two orange kittens, and before we even got home they had new names: Aslan and Judah.
My youngest did not like the name Aslan and was insistent we call him Buddy instead. You see, he did not know the story of Aslan. At nine years old, my son is not much of a reader. He prefers the outdoors and sports to books. So we decided to have a family movie night, complete with burgers and fries and peach cobbler, to watch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and hopefully convince him that Aslan is indeed a good name.
I know this story backwards and forwards. I’ve been reading it since fourth grade when my parents bought me the books. I’d read through them almost every other year growing up. But I noticed something new while watching the movie with him: It is an unlikely story.
My son knows that Aslan represents Jesus, and he knows the story of Jesus very well. But he was still surprised by Aslan’s death and the fact that he died to save Edmund. He actually kept asking us, “He is coming back, isn’t he?” as if he was worried Aslan would stay dead and the evil witch would win.
It was almost as if the story was so unlikely that it was hard to believe, even though he knew the story behind the story. The unlikeliness of the life, death, and resurrection of Aslan mirrored the very unlikeliness of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
In his letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul says, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). I often find this hard to believe, if I’m honest. Not on a factual level but on a personal level. I know how much like Edmund I am. I know the evil that resides in my heart. I know the betrayal I have shown toward the King. And so it seems unlikely that after living a perfect life, He would die to save me and then rise again to conquer death.
It all sounds so unlikely, but it’s a true story. And it’s the best news I’ve ever heard.
Written by Matthew B. Redmond