I recently wrote on the new Walt Disney live action remake of Pinocchio for www.movieglimpse.com. I think there are so many beautiful spiritual lessons in this new version of a very old story I would like to elaborate on a few them and encourage people to see the movie with these insights in mind.
This new movie has a “back-story” as Geppetto is carving Pinocchio to look just like a picture of a boy whom he has obviously lost. The most touching thing about this scene is the love with which Geppetto creates the puppet and the incredible joy he has when he discovers the Blue Fairy has brought Pinocchio to life with no stings attached. It is a glimpse I believe into how God the Father looks on every one of the children he creates as he fashions them in their mother’s wombs. If every child could see the Creator God as this loving adoring Father who dances with delight over them it would make them want to live in his house forever.
Pinocchio has four tests which are truly profound and they are tests every human being has. The first is the offer by Honest John to be famous. We all come into this world separated from the Father and trapped in a life curved in on self. We have a memory perhaps of Eden knowing we were meant to be somebody and so we start our journey and the world tells us in order to be a “Somebody” you must be famous. Fame or the pursuit of fame means money and power, this is the second test. Honest John sells Pinocchio to Stromboli the bullying Puppeteer who pulls the strings. He is an incredible picture of the powers that be who are always hidden above and pulling the strings of those who pursue the love of fame and fortune. What a contrast to living under the loving hands of Geppetto the loving father who sacrifices his life and sells everything to go after his son.
The third test for Pinocchio is, no sooner does he escape from Stromboli’s prison but he is captivated by the Coachman who is taking children to Pleasure Island. This is one step further down the road of degradation from being used by the puppet masters. People tire of the lives of toil and labor and being abused by the god of mammon and so the offer of escape to an island of pleasure is always appealing. Here the descent is vividly shown in the movie; first its rides and fun and candy and gluttony, then it descends to debauchery and games which quickly turn to vandalism, violence. One of the most difficult biblical truths to get across to people is; there are in C S Lewis’s words “no ordinary people”….. (Weight of Glory). Everyone is in the process of being transformed either for ruin or restoration (G K Beale). In the movie the children are becoming donkeys to be sold to the salt mines, crated and shipped by demons. They are being dehumanized and so are people apart from the saving grace of God the Father who sent his son Jesus Christ to redeem all those under the law and restore them to the Father’s love.
The fourth test is the most deceptive. Pinocchio is offered a home with another family he met in Stromboli’s puppet show. This is a genuine loving family who would be good and love him; it is just not life with Geppetto….life with his father…..life with his creator. So many people are content to live their good lives with other loves; Pinocchio chooses wisely and is rewarded with restoration to his father. The end of the movie is a beautiful picture of their entering the Kingdom together as they follow the Light of Heaven
The offer of Christianity is not just having your sins dealt with and going to heaven when you die. That is a great reduction of the Gospel which is very popular today. It focuses on sin and death without an offer of life. Jesus came to give life and life abundantly. He came and died in order to restore the children of God to the Father that they might now in this life enjoy the relationship they were created for…life in union with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Having defeated the powers of death by his resurrection Jesus guarantees this eternal life to those who will simply repent as Pinocchio did and receive the Father’s great love and enjoy him forever.