Kingdom of Heaven -- Balian's Journey

Kingdom of Heaven, directed by Ridley Scott, stars Orlando Bloom as Balian de Ibelin and Liam Neeson as Godfrey de Ibelin.

Balian's experiences mirror those of any Christ-follower. Look at the first four chapter titles for starters:

1. Crossroads
2. The Baron's Son
3. In Hell
4. To Erase My Sins

1. Crossroads. Balian's wife commits suicide after their first child dies in childbirth. This devastates Balian's world to the point that he has more reason to leave his home town than stick around to salvage what he can of his old life. This is similar to real life in that people will refuse to surrender to God's grace unless some devastating circumstance in their life drives them to do so.

2. The Baron's Son. Balian's finds out from Godfrey that he is an illegitimate son. His local priest also informs him that the town does not want him around anymore. He is overwhelmed with discouragement, regret and resentment. At this point Balian resembles the prodigal son that Jesus describes in Luke 15.

3. In Hell. The fires that blaze out of Balian's smithy represent the hell he is experiencing. He is at the end of his rope. Every option except for seeking out his father leads to hell.

4. To Erase My Sins. The hell of his current circumstances, both inward and outward, drive him to seek reconciliation in Jerusalem. Of course, he could have found God anywhere, but this is the best thing he knows to do. So also, in real life, God encounters each person differently. He provides each one of us with some avenue for seeking Him out.

From this point onward the quality of Balian's life resembles that of an obedient Christ-follower. In the way that Balian changes the world around him by living out his father's basic instructions so also Christ-followers change the world around them by obeying Jesus in a few basic ways.

Godfrey teaches Balian two thing about fighting: Maintain a high guard and use the whole sword. Within minutes Balian is practicing these two things in a life-or-death battle. This resembles Jesus' style of teaching, as He gave His disciples a few basic principles and then immediately sends them out into the world to practice.

Godfrey also charges Balian with a few moral guidelines: Serve the king, protect the people, fight courageously and tell the truth. Balian ends up saving an entire city by doing these things. Christ-followers have a similarly simple calling: Follow after and obey Jesus all the time no matter what. If we do this simple thing, then, like Balian, we will bear much fruit.

1 comment:

Wandering Coyote said...

I did a review of this, too. While I think you're right, that this is a thematically strong film, I found it a real slog and couldn't believe there appeared to be no Jews in Jerusalem. I wondered if Ridley Scott was manipulating things to make this a Christian/Muslim fight to keep it timely for us.