Monday, June 18, 2007


Just over three weeks ago now, I watched 300 and I left with my heart stirred within me. But what was it about the movie that caused my heart to say, "YES!"? Was it that the images on screen portrayed what true masculinity is? I don't think so. I'm not sure the movie accurately showed what God intends men to be. Sure, God created man to be the protector and provider, to be strong of arm and go to war, but I don’t know if what the movie portrays is what God’s image of a man is.

The movie glorifies men who butchered other men made in God's own image. Killed thousands and enjoyed it. While I do think that at times war is necessary, I don't think killing should ever be enjoyed. Clearly there is a perversion of true masculinity at work here. But that is the nature of life in a fallen world. We see glimpses of God's great glory in the men and women around us, but that glory is obscured by the grime of truth perverted. But that doesn't mean there is no truth in it, or that we can't see the truth in it.

There is much in that movie that is right and true, like:

• Men who beat their bodies into submission, disciplining it to do their will and not to falter and fall into the temptations of laziness and weakness.
• Unity, each man is responsible for his neighbor, to guard him and protect him as they fight as one body. The Spartan 300 is an image of the body of Christ, functioning as a unified whole, made up of different members.
• Submission to the authority placed above you. God has given some to be leaders and the rest to follow. The Spartans followed their king to the death.
• The men are strong and know what is valuable and important in their lives. They are not weak, cowardly, corrupt men, like the politician. They are bold and confident, recognizing that they are mortal yet willing to sacrifice their lives for a greater good.
• Universal freedom and liberty for all mankind. They acknowledge that a slave can never fight as well as a free man fighting in defense of his home and all that he loves. The slave, like a mercenary, is fighting for a lesser purpose, and is therefore a lesser soldier. The free man who chooses to fight to protect what he values, is a man who fights with his whole heart.
• Sacrifice. The men are willing to sacrifice all they are and all they have so that others might live to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
• No man is a god—all men bleed. Xerxes, who called himself a god, lord of lords, king of kings, tried to take upon himself the mantle that only God can wear, and was revealed for what he was—a man, nothing more, nothing less.

I think these men would have admired Jesus, even though he chose not to fight back. They would have seen in him the embodiment of some of their beliefs. He was willing to endure physical pain and understood the necessity of self-sacrifice. He taught about the value of unity and encouraged his disciples to live in it. The Spartan 300 may not have chosen to follow him, but I think they would have admired him. Their action was similar to his. They gave themselves that others might have life. Christ gave himself that we might have life, and have it abundantly.