This writing assumes you are currently up-to-date on the life and times of Luke and all his pals. In other words, if you haven’t seen The Last Jedi, go watch all the movies and then come back to read this. It’s a lot of homework, I know, but trust me, they’re worth it.
For the last forty years, pastors at the pulpit, film reviewers wanting to sound deep, and armchair theologians have been trying to shoehorn a Christian message into Star Wars. As Christians we love to find hidden messages in the pop culture we absorb, and it doesn’t really matter what the intent of the filmmaker was. If we can draw a Christ-figure parallel to an on-screen hero, we will. Even directors love to do this, Superman falling with his arms spread cross-like wasn’t exactly subtle.
When I watched The Last Jedi, I wasn’t looking for any such parallels, I was just there to visit the Star Wars Universe again. It wasn’t until a few days later, while discussing another aspect of the movie with a friend, that I even saw it.
Disclaimer: This is a shoehorn of a metaphor. It is not perfect, and I am under no delusion that Rian Johnson was going for this in anyway. It’s just a fun observation that I hope sparks a larger discussion.
I’m not going to pull direct parallels to Luke or Rey as a Christ figure. Other people will, that’s fine, but for me, they are more representative together than individually.
The entire point of the Luke/Rey storyline in The Last Jedi is to reinforce the fact that the Jedi order is over, but by the end, a new one will be rising up. People are truly upset about this. Like, ripping their clothes upset. But let’s think about this in a biblical perspective and try to shed some light on what’s really going on.
The Messianic Prophecies were interpreted in a way that most people expected the Messiah to return dressed for battle, ready to overturn the Romans and lead Israel like a warrior king. What really happened? A simple carpenter led a handful of people to change the world.
In The Last Jedi, everyone expected Luke to show up and decimate the First Order and save the galaxy. Even during the movie, I fully expected all those walkers—nicely lined up in a row—to be forced pushed to the side leaving only Kylo’s walker standing. But what happened? A simple girl led a small group to safety, thus going on to, presumably, saving the galaxy. We expected a warrior king, but instead got a humble deliverer.
In another article I go into Luke’s character arc over the entire saga. I left out a few elements since that article wasn’t meant to point out any biblical parallels. But I think they’ll fit here, so consider this an exention of that article.
Many people are upset that Luke was tempted by the Dark Side. He chose the Light Side, saved his father, saved the galaxy, partied with some Ewoks, happily ever after and all that, right? If we were going to leave his story there, that works. We don’t have to think any deeper on that. But since he’s back, we are shown that happily ever after doesn’t even exist in stories. Just like in our own lives, the stronger we are in our faith and our walk with God, the more we are in line with the Holy Spirit, the harder the temptations and attacks come. Just because one is born again doesn’t mean it’s a happy ever after ending. The happy ever after comes literally ever after. Here on earth? Still hard. There are still temptations and sin is still present. Again, the better your armor, the stronger the weapons thrown, right? Well it’s the same for the Jedi.
Luke has achieved the unthinkable, he has forgiven and saved his father, the scourge of the universe. The murder of Jedi, both old and young. Think the Dark Side was done with him? Think again, the stronger he becomes as a Jedi, the harder the Dark Side will work to turn him. There are great parallels of the Light driving out the Dark, but it’s truly a daily walk for them. And, like Christians, some are able to fight their temptations better than others. So when we find out that Luke has a moment when the Dark Side touches him, we shouldn’t be surprised. Nor should we be surprised when, after he nearly gives in to it, he goes into hiding. (For more on that, read the above mentioned article if you haven’t already.)
Rey is an interesting case when it comes to the Dark Side. Luke is truly freaked out when she faces it and just accepts it as part of her but then keeps going in the Light Side. Let’s draw some more parallels, shall we?
Christianity, specifically, 21st Century Americanized Christianity®™, teaches that once you are saved, your life will be roses and buttercups and money will flow into your bank account and your house will miraculously grow more bedrooms and pools and cars will just appear in your garage and you’ll get raise after raise at work and puppies and kittens will fill your dream.
Guess what? That’s total crap.
At this point, if the above paragraphs filled you with rage, stop reading this and jump into 2 Timothy.
Even after you are saved, you will still sin. There’s no way around it. You cannot avoid it. There is only one who is without sin, and, —spoiler alert— it’s not you. Rey’s ability to recognize the dark within her, but keep it in check is more inline with a Christian life than the idea that you choose Light or Dark and are set for life. Not going to go into a Calvin/Armenian thing here, but feel free to splinter off if you like.
Rey’s version of the Jedi Order has yet to be written. Maybe it will just be the same as before, but I have a feeling she’s going to help create a new thing. Much like Jesus came to fulfill the Mosaic Law and create a new thing, Luke has fulfilled the Star Wars version of the Jedi Law and Rey is going to build off that to start anew.
While it’s fun to look for parallels like this, it can be dangerous. Some people find them, and hold on to them, tighter than they do actual scripture. To show cracks in their theory is to personally attack their faith. So, I want to end this with another disclaimer: these theories and ideas are for fun only. These aren’t meant to be parables for the Christian faith. Please don’t get all Sith in the comments.
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