“When I saw you jump, I wished to believe it was a sign that something great can come into this world.”
If you boil John Carter down to the main plot line (and by that I’m admittedly setting aside some of the sub-plots of Carter’s own woundedness, his journey to find himself again, and a cause worth fighting for…all great material for a lot of deep discussion) you get a story very much like the story of Jesus in the Bible.
The beings on Mars are at war—a war that comes at them from all sides. Not only are they at war with themselves, but there are sinister forces that are other-worldly (even for a Martian), and more powerful, subtly working behind the scenes to ensure the destruction of Mars and its inhabitants. The real war is with those powers, the ones who want to cause the destruction of Mars.
Before Jesus came, earth wasn’t any better. Earth was full of wars and strife. And what mankind didn’t do to itself, Satan and his forces, other-worldly and powerful, were subtly doing behind the scenes—orchestrating the destruction of earth and its inhabitants. The Bible says that earth’s enemy came to “steal, kill and destroy.” It also makes it very clear that ultimately, our real battle is with him. It says that we are in a battle, not of “flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Suddenly, there was a new guy on Mars—a guy with strange abilities and powers. A guy who didn’t seem to be bound by the same laws of gravity and physics that the rest of the Martians were. The first sign of this was his ability to jump. It was so extraordinary, that it gave the people hope. Tars Tarkas, a leader of a nation on Mars said, “When I saw you jump, I wished to believe it was a sign that something great can come into this world.” Tars Tarkas realized that if they were going to succeed in their fight against evil, they were going to need something great, and something from another world—they simply didn’t have the power in and of themselves. John Carter, being himself other-worldly, having amazing abilities and powers, was just who they needed.
Several thousand years ago a new guy showed up on earth. He too had strange abilities and powers. Like John Carter, He was neither bound by the physical limitations of other earthlings, nor was He bound by the social, political, or religious laws and conventions of the age. He was somehow above it all. The first sign of His uniqueness was how the stars and the angels responded to His birth. The first sign of his power was when He turned water into wine. He healed the sick and raised the dead. His teaching astounded and confounded the religious leaders of the time. There were many on earth who, like Tars Tarkas, knew that He was a sign that something great had come into the world—come into the world because He wasn’t from this world. Jesus, God incarnate, Son of God, Son of Man, come into the world to save us from evil, to save us from sin. It was something mankind couldn’t do for themselves. Jesus, being fully human but so much more than human, fully God, without sin, able to beat sin and death—He was just what we needed.
John Carter came to love the beings of Mars. He cared for their well-being. He longed to set them free from the oppression and certain death facing them. He cared enough to fight for them, to even risk his life for them. In the end, he was victorious.
Jesus loved (and still loves) mankind. Unlike John Carter though, He didn’t come to love mankind—He has always loved mankind. He created man. His love for them (for us) is infinitely greater than what Carter had for the Martians. Jesus didn’t just fight for us, nor did He risk His life for us. He died for us. He knowingly and willingly came to earth with the express purpose of laying down His life for us. It was a choice calculated out of His love for us. And in the end, Jesus was victorious. He died, but then He rose again, and in His resurrection, He defeated sin and death, Satan and his forces.
Questions for Discussion:
- What other parallels do you see in John Carter to the story of Jesus?
- When Tars Tarkas saw John Carter jump, he had hope that there would be change and even victory. What have you seen that gives you hope for change and victory?
- Do you feel a greater need for change/victory in your personal life, or in the world around you? Or both?
- Do you feel like you are living in a war? Or do you feel that you are living under the oppression of forces more powerful than you?
- Do you know that Jesus came to bring YOU freedom? That He came to fight for YOU? How would believing/accepting that change how you feel about life and/or how you live it?
P.S. Did anyone notice that John Carter and Jesus Christ have the same initials? Coincidence????
Click here to see a collection of Quotes from John Carter.