I don't think it is an accident that Dreamworks new animated movie The Croods arrived in theaters just before Easter. And before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am going to bash the movie and the time of its release let me assure you I am NOT. As a matter of fact I think one of the ways you could learn a valuable lesson about the real meaning of Jesus' life, death and resurrection would be to go see this movie. Okay, some of you are reeling now or worse, and asking how could an animated movie about cavemen have anything to do with Jesus. Well here goes....
The meaning of Jesus' life, death, resurrection and ascension has been reduced ever since the Reformation to a gospel of "Jesus died for your sins so you can go to heaven when you die", or as Dallas Willard calls it a gospel of "sin management". A gospel which focuses more on death than on life. I do not have the time here to go into detail but let me just say the Gospel of Jesus Christ is much larger and more wonderful because it focuses on LIFE. Yes, He dies for the sins of the world but He rose to bring the Life of the New Creation; a concept which unfortunately has been lost to much of the Christian Church especially in the West.
So here it is in a nutshell.....Jesus proclaimed the Coming of the Kingdom of God....the reign of God when all sin and corruption of the Old Creation would be judged and dealt with. He died on the cross as the King of Israel bringing to a climax the story of Gods plan of redemption through Israel for the world. He rose from the dead as the first alive of the New Creation signifying the inbreaking of the New Creation and inviting others to follow Him into that Creation. He ascended as King of Kings and now reigns from the right hand throne of God. We live in the "already and not yet" of His Kingdom. It has begun....it is here....it will come in its fullest at a time known only to God.
So what does this have to do with The Croods?
Well if you have eyes to see and ears to hear you can see a beautiful picture of this "inaugurated eschatology"...fancy words meaning the inauguration of the "last days" that began when Jesus rose from the dead. The Old Creation is ending...you see this beautifully in the movie...the world or darkness, fear and death is coming to an end. There is one last family ( interesting that the Old Creation started with one first family) the Croods a pun on crude obviously. The daughter Eep ( a pun on Eve or Eek whichever you prefer) hates the dark and reaches with a prayer for the light...and the LIGHT comes into her darkness. I won't spoil the movie but the whole theme is leaving the Old Creation and following the Light into the New Creation. It is no accident that at the beginning of the movie the family has spent three days in their cave of death and then the Light comes. Nor is it just a coincidence that the light is symbolized by fire; reminiscent of following the pillar of fire in Exodus which foreshadowed following the One who baptizes with fire leading the greatest Exodus of all time ( John 1:33).
The phrase that sums up the entire movie is "riding the sun into tomorrow". The word tomorrow takes on a whole new meaning as not just another day of survival but of the Day that will never end, the Day of New Creation. The film makes relevant in ways we have too easily forgotten the urgency of the Gospel. The Old Creation is crumbling and has been for two thousand years...we must go to the Mountain of God that is already on the horizon by following the Light of Jesus Christ who came into the darkness to deliver us. So for this Easter there is a beautiful metaphor of the already and not yet, of "riding the Son into tomorrow". Go see Dreamworks The Croods and be blessed.