Thor, Jesus and the Old Testament

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the son of god who is sent to earth where he is humbled and beaten before becoming a saviour for all.

Thor really is awesome!

Relax, I’m not converting to paganism and my love for comics hasn’t manifested into me living in a full blown fantasy world (not yet anyway). I’ve just been thinking about the most recent release from Marvel Studios and this latest version of the Norse god of thunder.

Thor in the movie (represented by Melbourne boy Chris Hemsworth) is similar to his comic book cousin in that because of his pride and arrogance he is sent to Earth by his father Odin the All Father to learn some humility.

Stripped of his divine powers (although unlike the comics the movie never technically says he actually is a god) and cut off from his home in the heavens he walks as one of us – an extremely ripped version of one of us but still.

Unable to wield his might hammer Mjolnir Thor comes to accept that he is no longer worthy of his esteemed position as the Crown Prince of Asgard (his home world). Yet when we the good people of earth are threatened by The Destroyer (a super powered Asgardian security guard) Thor steps up to face the threat despite his (relatively) feeble form. He is willing to sacrifice himself to save us. I won’t spoil the ending but the movie is called Thor and it’s already been widely announced that Thor will be in the upcoming Avengers movie so you can figure the rest out.

There are obviously many differences between Thor and Christ but the similarity of the basic story of the Son of God sacrificing himself in order to save us should be familiar to all Christians. There are some good articles and clips out there on the redemptive elements of Thor. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the connection.

Its interesting however that we Christians can sometimes see Christ in movies with more ease than we do seeing Him in the Old Testament.

The Bible is not a self-help book. It’s not about us. Its ultimately about God and His creation, redemption and glorification of us. We’re in the story but in the same way the townies are in Thor. We are not the hero of the story. We’re the one’s who need to be saved. Yet for some reason we tend to often read ourselves into the heroic stories of the Old Testament instead of Jesus.

The story of David and Goliath is not a motivational tale on how you can overcome the giants in your life. You’re not David in the story. You’re one of the terrified Israelites afraid of dying. David is one of the clearest examples of a ‘type’ of Christ in the OT, yet somehow we miss that David represents Jesus in the story, not us. Jesus fights for God. Jesus overcomes the enemy. Jesus overcomes ‘certain death’ and kills Goliath.

The Old Testament abounds with stories that today we read ourselves into instead of perceiving Christ. David’s great grandfather Boaz is not an example of how to be a wealthy prince charming but rather a type of Christ because he is the ‘kinsman redeemer’ as Christ was one of us and out redeemer.

Moses is a type of Christ because he leads the people out of bondage, Joshua is a type of Christ because he leads the people into the promised land. Whenever you see a biblical hero you are not meant to find a way to make it about yourself, you should look for how it points us to our greatest hero Jesus.

The movie is called Thor because he’s the hero. The people threatened by Destroyer need a saviour and they need one who is not of this world. Same for us. The Bible is ‘the Word’ and Jesus is ‘the Word of God’. He’s the hero of the story.  Our problems are not intellectual, educational or economical, they are spiritual and we need a spiritual saviour.

There are many great life lessons in Scripture but they can only be properly learned when we first understand that Jesus is the hero. Not us. When I understand that the Bible is about God and His glory then I can learn the many great principles that scripture teaches on how to conduct my life in such a way that it brings glory to Him. But I have to get first things first, it’s about Jesus, not me.

So next time you read about the heroes of the Old Testament look for Christ, not yourself. As you do you’ll start to see him everywhere. And while you’re at why not look for him at the movies as well….and in comics……and great literature…..and bad fiction….wherever…..LOOK FOR CHRIST! 🙂

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