Last night the wife and I enjoyed taking in X-Men Days of Future Past. The movie was well written, well scripted, and delivered a truly enjoyable experience. Buried within the film there seems to be an underlying theme of both grace and redemption that certainly portray Christian values.
The movie focuses on an event in the past in which Mystique commits an action that creates a ripple effect leading to a dark and dangerous future where mutants and humans who help them are killed by large, adaptable robots known as Sentinels. To stop this from happening, Wolverine goes back in time to convince Professor Xavier and Magneto to join forces to find Mystique and stop her.
Within the film itself, there are several lines that speak to Christian belief and theology. This post will focus on the two most prominent quotes that really speak to Christian beliefs.
Quote 1: “Just because someone stumbles, loses their way, it doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Sometimes, we all need a little help.”
Who said it?: Professor X (in the present)
Context: This quote was made in the movie as a rationale for sending Wolverine to the past to both unite Xavier and Magneto as well as try to convince Mystique to return to her former kind hearted ways when she was close to Xavier in the early days of their lives.
Christian Element: This quote speaks to the nature of the Christian walk. Though Christians aspire to live out the teachings of Christ and carry His message to others, there are times that we slip, stumble, and flat our fall down in our various walks. The Christian is called to address the spiritual struggle within a fellow believer and help them to turn back to Christ. Obviously, the Holy Spirit’s power is what ultimately can draw a wayward believer back, but fellow believers should be present for support, encouragement, and enabling the Holy Spirit to work through them.
Just because someone has seemingly gotten lost in the wilderness of sin, does not mean they are lost forever. God desires all of man to be reconciled unto Him by accepting the sacrifice of His Son. God sees the difficulty man has in keeping His Word and teachings and provides the opportunity for continual repentance and spiritual growth to resist the sins man is often drawn to.
For Mystique, Professor X saw hope. Perhaps all she needed was someone to offer their energy and time to show her another road to take in her life that was certainly less dark. Of course, Wolverine has superhuman powers, but we have already noted that believers have the Holy Spirit within them. Witnessing through the power of the Holy Spirit is a powerful way to show someone who is going down the wrong path that they need to return to Christ.
In Luke 15, there is a story all Christians should be very familiar with. Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son. This young guy demanded his father divide his estate between the young man and his brother and give the young brother his inheritance. This young man goes out, squanders all of his money, and is left with nothing. Well, the young man returns home defeated by the emptiness his pursuit of self-indulgence and sin left him, yet the father throws a lavish party to welcome him home. The father exclaims in Luke 15:32, “we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
In the same way, the Father always welcomes us back to Him when we seemingly get lost. Moreover, God is always ready to accept those who have never turned to Christ in their lives. A good witness and informed apologetic can go a good length in helping those who have stumbled down the road in their lives and those who have never turned to Christ. It takes being available to be used as a vessel for the Holy Spirit to make these changes possible. No one is too far lost to be found again in Christ.
Quote 2: “It’s the greatest gift of all, to bear their pain without breaking. And it’s born from the most human power – hope. We need you to hope again.”
Who said it?: Professor X (in the present)
Context: As Wolverine works to motivate Xavier in the past, he allows Xavier to read into his mind. Xavier is able to tap into Wolverine’s mind and telepathically communicate with his older self in the present. His older self reminds him of the ability he has and tries to motivate him to find hope in the world amidst the pain Xavier encountered by hearing the wails and cries of every living mutant in the world. Young Xavier turned to drugs at one point to block out his power because the weight of the pain in the world was too much for him to bear. (Side Note: Professor X can read minds, telepathically communicate to others through nearby people by taking over their consciousness, and seemingly locate most mutants in the world).
Christian Element: This quote is really threefold. First, young Xavier is told that his greatest gift is being able to bear the pain of the other mutants without breaking. In the book of Acts, the Apostles are ridiculed, harassed, mocked, and killed for spreading the Gospel. Yet they do it anyway. They accomplish success through dedicated prayer for one another, willingness to serve God, and complete obedience and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. The apostles bared each other’s burdens as the Holy Spirit bared the burdens of the whole. It empowered them, motivated them, and transformed them. The apostles never broke down or wavered as they stayed bold, even to the point of death.
Second, Believers are supposed to bear the burdens of one another as well as those who do not believe. Paul suggests as much in his letter to the Galatians. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (6:2). No one can walk their lives alone. No one can walk the Christian life alone. Christ has called us to help others carry their burdens as He helps us carry our crosses behind Him.
In John 16:33, Christ says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Christ never broke down and never retreated. He never once thought that the pain and hurt of the world was something to be shunned away. He confronted it, provided comfort from it, and ultimately sacrificed His life to provide a means of comfort in our lives. We should be the same. The world is dark, troublesome, and burdensome. Yet, the Holy Spirit can allow our own spirits to be uplifted and allow us to be present and helpful in times of distress for others.
Third, young Xavier is told that he needs to find hope again. Hope is a very human longing. People search their entire lives without finding a glimmer of hope because they do not know Christ or they have rejected Him. This can explain why many atheists and agnostics seemingly have a bleak outlook of the present state of society and the future of the world as a whole. To find hope, one must find Christ.
Paul writes to the Romans in 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Without the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, there is no hope to be found for anyone. There is no future without Him. There is no hope without Christ.
To be fair, young Xavier did not find hope by turning to Christ. Young Xavier finds hope by getting a glimpse into the future. Then again, so did Isaiah and John the Apostle. Yet, Young Xavier’s vision was not led by God, but fiction is fiction. In reality, the only way to find hope is in Christ. He overcame the world to provide atonement for sin and a life beyond the grave.
Though this was a work of fiction, it is pleasing to see elements that relate to the Christian experience. Whether the makers of this film intended these quotes to speak to the Christian walk is irrelevant, because they surely do. It us up to the believer to use instances such as this to open dialogue with someone who does not believe or someone wavering in their faith. Life is not always going to be sunshine and rainbows, sometimes it rains and floods and rains again. The world needs the hope found in Christ. No one is too far gone and no burden is too heavy.