Friday, 24 January 2014

Hercules vs Jesus

I just watched the Hercules movie and the more I watched the more I saw comparisons with the Jesus story. I know I might be far reaching here but as I hope to show the similarities are there. One gives man’s view of how the story should be told and the other shows God’s. Before I get into my “breakdown” I think that the similarities that are to be drawn from the two are intentional if not subliminal, then again I do have the tendency to as it were “over deduce”.

Anyway, firstly we see that both Hercules and Jesus are the sons of a supreme God, Zeus being the Chief/Head/Supreme god, which ever floats your boat and Jesus' being God, Yahweh, I cant break it down any further, sorry. In both the movie and the Bible it is implied and mentioned on more than one occasion that the father to both Hercules and Jesus is the God of all. On a similar note we also see in both cases that there is no physical father involved, the movie shows this in a more explicit sense but you get the picture. They both leave you acknowledging beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are the sons of God.

Secondly we see Hercules and Jesus being seen as the salvation and hope for a people in dire need of one. In Jesus case it was in a human sense a freedom from the Romans who had as it were colonized Israel, they were the oppressors. And in Hercules sense it was the king at the time and the king in waiting that were oppressing the people. In walks Hercules and Jesus in their individual narratives and their actions give the people hope and they both garner a following. This is through feats of strength and power and this is the point at which the distinction becomes evident, which is the main reason for me writing this, you didn’t think I was doing a movie review I hope. Hercules comes in with strength and defeats soldiers in flashy shows of strength, he physically defends the poor and the oppressed. Jesus as well performed his miracles, the healing and the feeding of the masses.

The difference being that our thinking of the role of Jesus we expect more of a Hercules than what Jesus did. The people at the time and even us expected him to lead a revolt against the rulers of the day and free them from oppression but instead he preached more than he healed. He spoke not of the rulers of the day and what they did wrong or right, he spoke not of outer change but he spoke of the people’s need of an inner change, he spoke of their need of reconciliation with God to give their lives meaning but unfortunately most did not get the message because they were expecting something more like Hercules.

Thirdly we see the capture. Both Hercules and Jesus were captured by the enemy, in Jesus case it was more of a surrender because he did not need to be held to ransom, he literally handed himself over, did not put up a fight and even healed one of them men who was there to capture him after an altercation with one of his followers. Hercules on the other hand puts up a gallant fight and has to be taken because his followers are threatened, after all we all love a hero who fights hard but is willing to make a sacrifice for the little guy. In their capture they are both flogged openly and there is a cross like symbolism in the movie, I think that’s intentional but that’s just me.

The question posed to both is the same “if you claim to be the son of God, get yourself down from there” at this point in time the people at Jesus crucifixion were waiting for that great show of strength for the thunder and lightning, for the visual effects, if you will, for him to get himself down and give the enemy a hiding like they have never seen or experienced before. Jesus looked up and you can feel the watchers tingling with anticipation giving each other “this is it” look. They were terribly disappointed when all that happened was Jesus saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” and lastly “Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. They were terribly disappointed, that’s not why he came but they never got that. Hercules on the other hand fulfilled all the check boxes on our vanity list. Hercules looks up, asks Zeus for power, thunder and lightning plus a lot of visual effects, Hercules pulls off a feat of strength in which he throws rocks about like paper weights that kill some of the enemy and force the rest into retreat. Is it just me or have all the boxes on the human naiveté check list been ticked? Hold onto your boots because there’s one more.

The last fight. This is almost grasping at straws in the Jesus narrative, I’m trying to avoid calling it a story since it actually happened, ask your history teacher children, it actually happened. Hercules first. So Hercules goes back to take down the king and on a secondary agenda get the girl, that’s the final tick on the check list by the way. He gets the people behind him and basically beats the villain black and blue plus he gets the girl yada yada yada, you know the story. Jesus on the other hand comes back to life and I’m almost positive some of the people who saw him when he had resurrected thought “okay, he’s back, now he will take on the Romans and free us” but they had another one coming. He meets with his followers a couple of times, eats some fish and ascends to the heavens, that’s it. You can imagine after he’s feet had gone passed the last clouds some people were waiting for his feet to reappear followed by an army to take down the Romans, they got nothing. Well that’s not really true, they got two angels technically telling “move on, shows over” well not that crudely of course, you can reference you Bible, I’m pretty sure I’m close.

If you compare the two lives Jesus life must look like a complete anti-climax.  It must seem like a movie that is always about to get good but never really does whereas the Hercules story is what we want. The hero who comes in and beats up all the bad guys with all the visual effects and gets the girl. Jesus, no beating up bad guys, except that one time in the temple and I’m pretty sure that would not have been a moment to cheer if you saw it in a movie. For Jesus we see no mischievous breaking of rules, no violent rebellion and no girl getting. Boring right? Wrong! Jesus never came to free us from the dictators of our country’s or the diseases that plague us, sometimes he does but that was not his main aim.

What am I trying to say? I'm glad you asked..

Jesus came to secure our eternity, he came to reconcile us to the God whose anger we will have to face for all eternity if we do not seek his forgiveness. What use is it to us in eternity if we live dictator free and illness free but then spend eternity, which is forever and ever, and for those who still don’t get it, and ever and ever in the eternal suffering that is hell. Now I’m not saying it is a bad thing for us to live dictator and illness free, not in the least, we should ask and pray for such but Jesus main aim was not that. It was that we should have a relationship with God which is the one thing that will keep us joyful in good times and bad, whether sick or in good health, whether rich or poor, hungry or fed, under poor governance or under exceptional governance. Jesus life teaches us that we need not have the comforts, we need only God. The comforts are good but they are not everything. Jesus is everything. So look at his life again and try to look at it for what it was meant to be rather than the fairy tale, like Hercules, that we might want it to be