One rule in our household is that, if a book is turned into a movie, everyone must read the book before watching the movie. Our oldest daughter was eight years old when C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was turned into a feature film. In the weeks leading up to the movie’s release, Hannah read nearly all of The Chronicles of Narnia. I rewarded her diligence by taking her and her friend Lacey to see the movie on the opening day.
In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan the lion offers his life in the place of a traitor. The White Witch and her minions mock and taunt the kingly lion; they strip off his mane and lash him to the Stone Table. Then, the White Witch plunges her knife into the lion. There, surrounded by the jeers and chants of his enemies, Aslan dies.
During the silence in the theater that followed the death of Aslan, I glanced sideways and glimpsed two wide-eyed girls clutching each other’s hands. Then, I watched Hannah lean to the side and heard her whisper these words to Lacey: “Don’t worry. I read the book. He doesn’t stay dead.”
“Don’t worry. I read the book. He doesn’t stay dead.”
That’s the message that we’re privileged to proclaim whenever we consider the death of Jesus: “Don’t worry. I read the book. He doesn’t stay dead.” God’s seeming silence on Saturday was only temporary, a fleeting moment when the cosmos holds its breath in anticipation.
Through the cross, the heel of the divine Son crushed the serpent’s skull; the cosmic vice-regency of an obedient Servant eclipsed Adam’s ancient revolt in Eden; in Jesus, a new exodus dawned—an exodus from which there can be no exile because the King himself has endured exile from his Father’s presence once and for all in place of the people he has purposed to save. Through the resurrection, God the Father publicly demonstrated this victory and vindicated the faithfulness of his Son.
And so, when it seems that the silence of Saturday may never end, don’t descend into despair. Read the book. He didn’t stay dead. Because he is alive, the moments when God seems distant are never the final word.