Pastor's Note - December 30
It’s not exactly a secret that I thoroughly enjoy Marvel movies (and judging from the Spider-Man box office, I’m not the only one). I’m not sure I can say exactly why it is that I particularly enjoy these movies. But I do think I have isolated one contributing feature. One of the things I love especially about the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” is the way in which the movies, and now Disney Plus shows as well, build on one another. From the moment Nick Fury popped up post-credits in the first Iron Man movie and teased the arrival of the Avengers, the MCU has built an intricate web of storylines and characters, such that having seen all of the movies assists in your understanding of each new project. For some, this can absolutely be a detraction, as some movies truly require previous knowledge. For example, Infinity War and Endgame mean nothing without having seen a number of previous MCU films. For those who have been steeped in the lore, however, I think that interconnectedness gives the world more depth and makes the stories more compelling. Now here’s where I make the spiritual analogy. I think the storyline of Scripture works the same way. This hit me as I watched the most recent Spider-Man movie. The crowd cheered at certain parts of the movie, precisely because they had working knowledge of previous films. Lightbulbs went off, people had “a-ha” moments, and events that happened long ago were now paid off, or you could even say fulfilled. I think that’s the same kind of reaction we are to have as we read the New Testament. With our working familiarity of the prophecies, themes, characters, events, and words of the Old Testament, we should be reading the pages of the New Testament and ‘lighting up’ with how God had been planning this story all along. And as we see Jesus, we realize how all the stories of the Old Testament had been interconnected all along, and that everything in this world had been pointing to Him. And just like with Marvel movies, your excitement and appreciation and joy in reading the New Testament will be increased (and sometimes even necessitated) by a working knowledge of all that happens in the Old. As good as Marvel is, it should be no surprise to us that God is the superior universe-builder, and knows better than anyone how to pay off an intricately interconnected story.