I missed a week… sorry.
As I’ve said before, I seem to have missed out on quite a few of the iconic movies of my generation. Prominent among these movies I didn’t see as a kid were the Indiana Jones movies. I really can’t say why either; it’s not that I had any specific dislike for the movies or anyone in them. I have seen the original Indiana Jones trilogy a total of twice in adulthood, once in my late 20s and once in my early 30s. It has been long enough that there are a lot of details I don’t remember. And just yesterday, while dealing with a case of writer’s block and uncertainty about what to write on this blog, I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, for the first time in several years and only the third time total. And that got me thinking.
(Warning: spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want the ending given away, stop reading now. And if you’re wondering who would really need a spoiler warning for a 37-year-old movie that was the highest-grossing movie of its year and spawned numerous sequels and has been watched by millions, then you need to realize that not everyone grew up with the same experiences as you, and you can go butt out and mind your own business.)
A few years ago, back when the TV show The Big Bang Theory was still funny sometimes, there was an episode where Amy reveals to Sheldon that she has never seen the Indiana Jones movies. After he shows her Raiders of the Lost Ark, he excitedly waits for her reaction, and she points out a major plot hole: Indiana Jones himself was ultimately unnecessary to the plot. Had he not been there, the Nazis still would have found the Ark of the Covenant, and they still would have been killed by the angels of death when they opened it. Sheldon is unable to come up with a rebuttal, because Amy is basically correct.
In a movie with a plot revolving around a Biblical artifact, it is appropriate that I found a spiritual illustration in this. In one sense, we are just as unnecessary in the ultimate fate of the world. Jesus will come back, Satan will be defeated, and nothing we can do will change that.
But the story, and our place in it, doesn’t end there. Back to Indiana Jones for a minute. Even if Indiana ultimately played no role in the fate of the Nazis who were seeking the Ark of the Covenant, his presence did affect the story in other ways. Most notably, when the Nazis showed up at Marion’s bar trying to get the medallion that they needed to find the location of the Ark, they were clearly not above using whatever means necessary to get what they wanted. Had Indiana not been there to fight back, Marion would probably have been killed in that encounter, but instead, she survives.
And, even though Jesus will come back and Satan will be defeated no matter what we do, we as followers of Christ have a similar role to play here on Earth. The world is full of millions of people who do not know Jesus or the way of salvation. Satan and the spiritual forces of darkness know that they are doomed in the end, and they are out there trying to deceive as many human beings as possible, leading them away from the one true God and the path to salvation, found in following Jesus and in nothing else. Our role is to love others in the name of Jesus and tell them the message of salvation, so that some of them might escape spiritual death, just as Marion escaped physical death because of Indiana Jones being there.