-Pastor Melissa Fain-
Just information- this website turns TEN on July 12th! I don't know how that makes me feel. I kinda hoped we'd be further along than we are. I'm not sure what I'll write. I'm in prayer.
This movie was my bait and switch!
In 2006 two movies came out about magicians: The Prestige and The Illusionist.
The Prestige stars Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Scarlett Johansson.
The Illusionist stars Edward Norton, Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti.
You all know I'm going to spoil The Illusionist, but you didn't come here for me to spoil The Prestige. This is basically what you need to know about both: Lower class person becomes a magician and has tricks an upper class person can't figure out. Upper class person then tries to destroy the lower class magician, and people die.
Sometime around 2012 I wanted to watch the Edward Norton version of the poor magician foiling the rich people, but couldn't remember the name. That's when I accidently watched The Prestige instead, and liked it.
Then, for this movie series, I thought, I wonder if that Christian Bale movie about magicians is available for free on TubiTv. That's how I found The Illusionist, and it became the movie for today instead of The Prestige. I find it kinda funny that two movies about a similar subject of slight of hand, could confuse me into watching the opposite movie I'm looking for.
The Illusionist shows us Jesus
I do not think Jesus was just a fancy magician. Let me just get that one out of the way, so I don't get haters online telling me I'm an atheist in disguise or something to that effect. I do think Edward Norton's character shows us the power Jesus held to protect himself from tyrannical forms of government.
There's this scene, where Giamatti's character has arrested Norton's character under suspicion of fraud. Giamatti tells Norton to reveal to him the truth of the trick or he would be forced to take him to jail. Outside there are throngs of Norton supporters. Giamatti adds that the punishment would be far worse if those fans storm the building.
In this moment, Giamatti has set a trap. It's an either/or situation. Either Norton reveals his trick, thus destroying everything he's built up to this moment, or he keeps his secrets but spends the remainder of his days in jail.
That moment feels very much like the moments in the Bible the Pharisee's have used to trap Jesus. More than that, Giamatti feels very much like a Pharisee. I say this, because the Pharisee's had painting themselves into their own trap. Either they could support Herod and keep their shiny new temple with a leader who "supports" Judaism, or they could support Jesus and leave all their power. We need to remember, it was lose/lose for the Pharisee's too. It was also lose/lose for Giamatti's character.
What Norton's character does in response to this trap, is also very Jesus. He steps outside and tells the crowd they were illusions. Now the crowd wouldn't believe him, and he knew that, but it gives a third option. Now Giamatti has no reason to keep Norton, and lets him go.
I said this so many times. The world isn't either/or. When an organization tries to herd you into a yes/no situation, those are almost always their lines they've drawn.
What we see in The Illusionist is what Jesus' danger looked like having those stark choices laid before him in an attempt to destroy him. We can also see how a corrupt system can pit people who shouldn't be on opposite sides against one another. Maybe we should consider that one today. Perhaps?
This Sunday I'll be talking about Apollo 13. They took it off at the end of June, so watch this video to prep for Sunday worship: