I recently purchased the six-episode box set of Star Wars so forgive me if I take a moment to indulge in an moment of fascination with the series
In the prequel trilogy of the Star Wars series, the viewer discovers how young Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, pop culture’s most notorious villain.
Many unfamiliar with the story of Star Wars would be surprised that Anakin Skywalker was once a force of selfless good. He was redeemed out of slavery by performing a brave act for strangers who were affiliated with the Jedi Order. He was long talked about as the “Chosen One” of the Jedi that would obliterate the Sith (an evil Order of practitioners that use the force) and restore balance to the Force (Interconnected energy that unites everything in the galaxy).
However, a series of unfortunate decisions (breaking the Jedi code by marrying the queen), hunted down and destroyed the Jedi Knights, and became influenced under darker forces, Senator Palpatine aka Darth Sidious, Anakin slowly became more and more seduced to the dark side.
Once fully converted, Anakin is named Darth Vader by Darth Sidious and goes on a terrible chain of events that wreak havoc in the Jedi community. He slaughters younglings (toddlers training to be Jedis), kills Jedi, and battles his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi in literally the best lightsaber duel in all the Star Wars movies!
Darth Vader and Kenobi battle in an emotional battle. Obi-Wan is devastated by the conversion of his apprentice but knows that the dark side is controlling Anakin. Anakin simply wants to kill all the Jedi and extinguishing Obi-Wan would eventually lead to that. Despite his reluctance to take heed of Obi-Wan’s to cease and desist, Anakin is severely outsmarted by his former master and is hurt but not killed. As he crawls on the ground defeated, Obi-Wan Kenobi emphasizes the trust and hope some of the Jedi had in Anakin and how he failed to live up to the prophecy.
“You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness! “- Obi-Wan Kenobi
That’s probably one of the saddest moments in the Star Wars series. To see so much hope placed in the long-awaited Messiah, but to eventually let them down. Obi-Wan loved his apprentice and saw Anakin as a brother. To see him succumb to the darkness was a tragic blow!
Thankfully in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, after seeing his son, Luke Skywalker, gets beat up by Darth Sidious for refusing to join the dark side, Darth Vader throws his Sith lord and kills him. By doing this, Anakin is redeemed as the Chosen One who would destroy the Sith. After he dies, Anakin is united with Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi in some kind of Jedi afterlife.
After watching all these films, the concept of the Messiah made me think about Jesus. He, unlike Anakin Skywalker, had the inclination to always do good and choose well. In Jesus Christ’s “dark side” moment described in Matthew 4, he successfully without hesitation sought the love of God instead of power and rank.
He too was the long-awaited Messiah. All throughout the Old Testament, figures and prophets foretold the coming of this anointed person (Gen 12:3; Deut. 18:15-19; Ps 2:1-12, 16:8-11, 22:1-31, 118:22-24; Isa. 7:14, 9:6-7; Jer. 31:31; Mic 5:2).
It was established early in his life that Jesus was the Messiah (Luke 2:28-32, 38). During his earthly ministry, many just didn’t understand Jesus coming. It was understood he was recognized as the Messiah, the anointed one of Israel (Mat. 16:16, 21:9; Luke 4:41) but many just didn’t see the true intention behind his coming. After he was gone, instead of remembering his promise about the resurrection, many felt downcast.
In Luke 24, when the two travelers were on the road to Emmaus, these travelers were saddened by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (17). They placed their hope in him restoring the geographical kingdom of Israel from Roman occupation (21) rather than looking toward the Kingdom of Heaven that was to come. Moreover, after Jesus died, it was reported that the disciples all huddled together scared of the Jewish leaders (John 20:19).
Some of the disciples felt defeated clinging on to similar hopes as the two travelers, while others may have been doubtful. Perhaps Peter remembered the constant playback of the three-time denial he’d done. Perhaps they discussed how they all scattered at the capturing of Jesus. Overall, there was a myriad of negative reactions to the dead anointed one.
Perhaps they too shared similar sentiments as Obi-Wan Kenobi when he emphasized the anticipation of the “Chosen One” when they heard their messiah died. Feelings of hopelessness and despair settled in during those three days between Good Friday and Easter Sunday; which begs the question, “what good is a dead messiah?”
A dead Messiah is one that left no impact or hope for his followers.
Little did the disciples know Jesus would appear to them and provide them with the power of “binding and loosing” and command them to leave their tiny province of Judea to eventually go throughout the world to make his teachings known. They were to be sent out, as he came into the world, teaching, preaching, forgiving sins and healing by his authority.
Both of these messiahs were the long-awaited figures in their respected communities. Anakin, albeit an imperfect Christ-like figure, the messianic role was plagued by heavy hopes, destruction, and death to many. On the contrary, we have the figure Jesus Christ who came and fulfilled hundreds of prophecies by his incarnation, ministry, death, and resurrection by consistently choosing well. Both are figures that left followers in despair, but only one rose above and remains the “new hope.”
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