Saturday, April 12, 2014

Frozen- The Eyewitness of "No Greater Love"

Okay, I know everyone with or without little girls in their life is probably tired of seeing stuff about Frozen...but please bare with me on this one.

Before I go into any content about this movie, I want to warn the reader that there are major spoilers in this post. A thorough examination of the message behind the movie is not the intention of this post, rather I want to focus on one important detail in the movie that has value for understanding the force behind the eyewitness testimony of Jesus' disciples. If you have not seen Frozen yet, please do. The main force behind what is written below is best read in the context of having seen the film first.

Allow me to quickly set the stage: The viewer is taken on a journey. It is stated early on that only an act of true love can restore a frozen heart. The viewer is led to believe that this will be the typical Disney fairytale movie: something happens to the girl (in this case, Ana is on the path to being frozen, thus killed), and the kiss of her "true love" fixes it. However, the frozen heart that was the real focus of the movie is Elsa's emotional heart, not Ana's physical heart. Ana's giving her life for Elsa's is the act of true love that restores Elsa's emotionally frozen heart. When Elsa realizes what her sister did to save her life, she collapses with emotion on her frozen sister. Everything that was frozen by Elsa powers begins to thaw; eventually Ana thaws and is physically restored. Anyone with a sibling that they love can easily see themselves on either side of this: being willing to die so that your brother or sister may live, or your brother or sister giving their life in place of yours. One cannot help but be overwhelmingly moved by the portrayal of such a deep love that they have for and feel from their siblings.

The Witnesses
I want to draw your attention to the emotionally overwhelming scene where Elsa realizes the depth of the love her sister demonstrated. Notice that evidence of Elsa's heart's restoration did not take place until she realizes what Ana did. Ana had given her life a minute before Elsa saw what happened, but it wasn't until Elsa saw what happened and understood it that her frozen heart was restored.

Jesus spent three years in ministry; he called twelve apostles to follow him. After he told them that he must die to complete his mission, they did not believe him. When he was crucified, they witnessed the great act of true love that Jesus had predicted would take place, yet they still did not believe. Rather they needed to not only see the act, but they wanted authentication: empirical evidence that could be seen, heard, and touched. For Elsa, she just needed to witness the act of true love, but the apostles were not about to merely take a childish step of blind faith. This demanded level of evidential authentication for what they had already seen with their eyes (the act of true love, itself) could only be provided in the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

The apostles were changed due to their being eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus, not just to his death in their place. Interestingly, the apostles likely would not have been changed from cowards to courageous proclaimers of the death of Jesus in their place, had they not received the empirical authentication. After Jesus' death, they all dispersed, as their hopes had seemed to be defeated. However, their frozen hearts were transformed from being cowardly to being courageous, because they were provided with authentication of the act of true love. Jesus bodily rose from the dead. They saw him; they heard him; they touched him; and they ate with him. Many of them reciprocated; they died proclaiming Jesus' death in our place and his resurrection from the dead that authenticated his act of true love. This was not just any death for a belief, though, it was death for a belief that they were in the unique position to know if it was true, by their own experiences through their own senses. When they realized the act of true love, they understood Christ's love for them, and they were transformed forever. 

Man's Frozen Heart
Despite the fact that nature reveals the Creator, man's heart remains frozen to His love. Man refuses to give God a foothold in the door. In fact, man's heart is so frozen that the apostles witnessed Jesus' death, the act of true love, but transformation did not take place. Their hearts were frozen harder than Elsa's (she did not need further authentication), so is every other heart of man. Today, people do not have the empirical evidence that the apostles demanded for authentication. But through the successful transmission of the apostles' testimony, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can be known by those who are removed from the historical event by generations upon generations. It is through the witness of the gospels that we may understand the sacrifice --the act of true love-- that Jesus did for us.

When I saw the sacrifice that Ana paid for her sister, it brought to the surface the emotion and deep love of mine for my brother and my brother's for me, for "no one has greater love than this: that someone would lay down his life for his friend." For as deep as our siblings' love is for us, the ultimate demonstration of that love will lose its effect when the life they saved passes away. But the love that Christ showed us goes beyond that; it transcends this finite life, into the eternal. The love that our siblings show us pales when compared to the eternal love of Christ. The realization of the fact that this ultimate act of true love actually took place for me and that I can know it, takes the emotion to a whole new level. It was not forced on me; I had to accept it. If you want to experience this love for yourself, I encourage you to read the source of the quote above: the Gospel of John, and I pray that Christ will overwhelm you with his love and that you will be willing to reciprocate it as the Apostles did.

For more movie reviews, check out the NEW Cultural Apologetics page. 

For more on the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus and the successful transmission of the gospels, please see these posts...:

Making Sense of the Resurrection
Book Review: The Resurrection and A Future Hope
Book Review: Cold Case Christianity
Irony in Rejecting Eyewitnesses
Challenging Eyewitnesses of the Resurrection

...and these websites:
Gary Habermas
Reasonable Faith
Cold Case Christianity

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