The Dark Knight Rises, He Is Risen Indeed: Thoughts On A Better Resurrection


It’s almost Easter. So let’s talk about the Dark Knight Rises. I think it can help us understand a side of the resurrection that I’ve rarely heard talked about.

In the middle of the film Officer Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt; swoon ladies, swoon) asks Bruce Wayne about why he would wear a mask as Batman. Bruce tells him it’s to protect the people closest to him but then he hits on something that stuck with me more than anything in the film.

Bruce Wayne: The idea was to be a symbol. Batman could be anybody. That was the point.
Blake: Well, it’s damn good to see him back.
Bruce Wayne: Not everybody agrees.
Blake: They’ll figure that out in the end.

The idea of the Batman was never supposed to be idolatry of Batman. The Batman was supposed to only serve as a catalyst to spur everyone else into actually making a difference.

I believe some people have made the same mistake with Jesus’ resurrection. It’s one thing to say you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s another thing to actually live out the resurrection; to be the resurrection.

Even before Jesus died he expected his followers to do more than just intellectually affirm him. He says in John 14:12:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

So the point of everything he was doing was not so that we can idolize him and talk about how great it is, but so that we can be pushed to do more. There are so many ways to honor Christ and this is one of those ways. So believing in this Christ is so much more radical than simply “confessing with your mouth and believing with your heart that he is Lord”. It goes farther than that.

1 John 4:12 says:

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

This type of belief in Christ requires action. It requires love; and without love, there is no God being brought to full expression because love is the only way to make that happen.

There’s a scene near the end of the gospel of John where Jesus is hanging on the cross and his mother and the disciple, John are standing near him. He says to his mother, “Dear, woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And it says that John took her into his home from that time on. I believe this was Jesus doing the same thing I’ve been talking about. This was his mother and the disciple he loved the most standing here so both of them held Jesus closer than any of us. But Jesus is having them let go of him and turn to each other. He’s telling his mother “You were a mother to me while I was here but now you are a mother to him.” And he’s telling his disciple, “You served me while I was here but now you will serve her.” He was telling them “Let me go now, and go live out what I am.”

Interestingly, Batman has a very similar interaction with Commissioner Gordon before his sacrifice near the end of The Dark Knight Rises.

Commissioner Gordon: I never cared who you were.
Bruce Wayne: And you were right.
Commissioner Gordon: But shouldn’t the people know the hero who saved them?
Bruce Wayne: A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders, to let him know the world hadn’t ended.

The Resurrection of Jesus serves as a symbol for us, telling us “Anybody can do this. Anyone can do what I do, in bringing God into full expression through love. Even a mother, even a disciple, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders, to let him know the world hasn’t ended.” We live out the resurrection by bringing God into full expression through acts of love.

And this is what this world needs. We saw that even in the midnight premiere of the Dark Knight Rises with the horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado. This world needs people willing to live out the resurrection in a radical way, even when there are people who disagree. But Bruce Wayne and Officer Blake address that as well:

Blake: Well, it’s damn good to see him back.
Bruce Wayne: Not everybody agrees.
Blake: They’ll figure that out in the end.

Does The Blood of Jesus Ever Make You Want To Throw Up?


I recently heard someone pray that the blood of Jesus be poured out on everyone who walked into the church and be poured out all over the children. Then they prayed that the blood would overflow from the highest mountain to the lowest valley covering everything in sight. They prayed that blood would pour, flood, flow and overflow. The number of times I heard the word ‘blood’ in the rest of the prayer was astonishing and I was horrified by the end it.

I grew up hearing prayers like this but the graphic imagery of everyone being covered in so much blood from head to toe, practically drowning in it, freaked me out this time. For the first time I actually listened to word ‘blood’ in the prayer and let it actually mean ‘blood’. I then imagined literal blood being poured out on people as they walked in, slipping on blood drenched floors after dropping their kids off in the blood filled pool.

It made me want to throw up.

But since everyone says “Blood of Jesus” none of that imagery usually comes to mind. It’s as if so many people have shifted meanings in their mind and say ‘blood of Jesus’ in prayers when they really mean ‘covering of Jesus’. But they’ve used it in that way so much that they say it without thinking about it.

Where is all this blood coming from?

Of course, the spilt blood we are referring to is the blood that was spilled when Jesus died on the Cross (if not, then we would be saying that Jesus is in Heaven still bleeding away as if he had eternal Hemophilia.)

So. Much. Blood.

The first shedding of blood in the Bible was in Genesis 3. The first man and woman of the story commit their first sin. Their eyes are open to their nakedness and they try to cover themselves with fig leaves. But the fig leaves still couldn’t cover up everything. Something else needed to be done. So in verse 21 God gives them garments made out of the skin of an animal. That animal’s blood was the first blood shed and only then were Adam and Eve fully covered for their sin.

Later in the story, God gives Moses and the Israelites a covenant (or a promise) between him and his people, including a law and a system of sacrificing animals to cover over all of the people’s sins. This system was flawed though because it required people to make sacrifices again and again and again.

So. Much. Nasty. Blood.

Hebrews 9 puts it:

When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:19-22

This terribly violent and flawed system was all leading up to something greater. Jesus died on that cross to be the last sacrifice to spill the last blood needed to cover over every single sin of every single person. This blood was spilled once and for all. And none of it needs to be poured again.

I tried finding biblical backing for why we should go around “pleading the blood of Jesus” on things and the only thing I found was people pointing to Revelation 12:11:

They triumphed over [Satan]

by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony.

This shows that the triumph has occurred through the sacrifice on the cross but what is the word of their testimony? I don’t believe it means proclaiming that Jesus bleeds over and over again when we are in need to triumph over evil. But I do believe the blood of Jesus is powerful for what it did for every single one of us. And every single one of us who has come into a realization of everything that it has done for us have a story. We have a story of what it means to let that blood cover over everything once and for all and live in peace and joy that we no longer need to shed any blood ourselves. And our ‘testimony’ that triumphs is our story of what that blood has done for us in our lives.

And on Good Friday we celebrate this. People made sacrifices and the priests entered into the “Holy of Holies” behind a thick curtain in the temple to cover over the peoples’ sins year after year. But once Jesus’ blood was spilled, the curtain was torn in two, signifying that there no longer needed to be anymore blood.
So I’m grateful for the blood of Jesus signified: cleansing us of our sins. So now, I want to live a life without blood, glad that it has been dealt with. Most blood worship songs are fine because they’re commemorating what it did, long ago, as opposed to asking it to be spilled today, but I ask you all to consider the words you use in your blood prayers this Good Friday. If we are just blindly using cliché phrases then we’re not really saying as much as we want to.

And if you are just using it as a cliché phrase without thinking about what you’re saying then I suggest you put a Band-Aid on your prayers. Happy Holy Week!