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Heaven's Door
Photo: John Evans
Narnia fans around the world were thrilled to spend part of their ‘05 Christmas season vicariously walking into a wardrobe closet in Professor Kirke’s house. And if you follow Lucy and push your way through all of the thick coats and suffocating mustiness and mothballs, suddenly you’re in this magical world inhabited by Fauns, Dwarves, and Centaurs. And also two central characters personifying good and evil: Her Imperial Majesty Jadis, Queen of Narnia, also known as the White Witch. And then Aslan the Lion.

Anyone who experiences this story with an honest, searching heart, is going to realize that Aslan is a type of Jesus, the crucified Savior. One challenge director Andrew Adamson faced was to not let that fact be too screamingly obvious for a mainstream movie audience.

In C.S. Lewis’ story: “A great crowd of people were standing all around the Stone Table and though the moon was shining many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke.”

John 18:3: "So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons."

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: “Even now, as they worked about [Aslan’s] face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands. But he never moved. . . . So thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.”

A Diffferent Kingdom

Compare to the Bible’s Gethemane story: “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to [Peter], “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels. But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” . . . Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?” (Matthew 26:52-54, 67, 68).

All of us who live close to the kingdom and have already read a story about a King dying for us, run the risk of seeing too many fairy tales, and ultimately deciding that, hey, Matthew’s is just one more. Every December sincere people halfway embrace the Christmas story – but only halfway. They know Santa Claus is a fabrication, but Jesus is maybe real. A man in a red suit coming down the chimney is something we concede doesn’t really happen; will a King on his throne appear in the sky for a Second Coming? Well, who knows? We know Aslan didn’t really die for Edmund, but we split the difference when it comes to someone named Jesus being crucified on a Roman cross for us. We half-commit to the invisible kingdom, the fantasy world of salvation, but with the other half of our soul we say: “You know what? I am a man of this real world. My holdings and my home are here. I’ll participate in this movie franchise called Christianity; my kids will wear shepherd’s costumes at the church Christmas party. But in my core, where I make the decisions that really count, I’m going to stay with what I know for sure.”

The creator of Narnia went through a wrenching personal crisis before he finally knelt down and acquiesced to the reality of Calvary. Right next to their coveted seven-volume fantasy, discerning readers have his legacy and confession, "Mere Christianity."

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By David Smith. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®

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