I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
If there were a popular culture commentary for the Bible, the illustration for this verse would be the genre of body snatcher movies. I haven’t seen enough body snatcher movies to point you to a particular title as the best example. You probably have never thought there was a need for a pop culture commentary and you don’t want to talk about body snatcher movies this close to Halloween. But, before you click on to the video of the cat catching a dinosaur, let me explain.
Think of the common theme of most body snatcher movies. People are going along living normal lives and something takes them out and moves into their body. The person may look the same on the outside, but they act differently. To make body snatcher movies scary, the “snatchees” usually try to maim or kill other people whose bodies haven’t been snatched. Therefore, the goal of the unsnatched is 1) avoid being snatched and 2) avoid the snatchers. The movie’s resolution usually includes mayhem.
I imagine the idea of people dying and coming back to life was no less scary to people in Paul’s time than it is to us. It must have seemed strange to them that Paul would present the idea as a good thing. And, especially strange that he would claim that is what happened to him and he would like the same thing to happen to everyone. Paul is suggesting that people seek out the body snatcher and allow themselves to be snatched.
The big difference between the world that Paul envisions and the dystopian world of the body snatcher movies is the conduct of the “snatchees.” Instead of the snatchees trying to maim and kill other people, they begin to act like Jesus. Now imagine that. No really, take a minute while you sip your coffee and imagine that. Imagine a world where your good friend dies and comes back to life. Now, instead of trying to eat your brain like in the dystopian movies, she loves you unconditionally. You begin to follow her around to see what other strange things she does. You catch her caring for sick people and feeding hungry people. This is really strange because before she was snatched, she was never without hand sanitizer and poor people made her uncomfortable. She begins to think differently, she talks differently, sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes not.
You see, in the world Paul envisions, the body snatcher is God. When people decide to follow Jesus, they die and come back to life as Jesus. In the movie version, you would have a utopian society. All these little Jesuses living in the world: men, women, every race, color and nationality working together to restore the world. Instead of ending with mayhem, this movie ends in with heaven on earth. That’s not such a far-fetched idea. I understand that the word “Christian,” which was first used to describe the believers in Antioch, means “little Christs.” My guess is that the label came from those outside the church and not from within it. You can imagine their surprise when their friends started listening to this Paul guy and, the next thing they know, there friends start acting like Jesus. They warned their other friends, “Don’t hang out with that Paul guy or you will become a little Christ.” They didn’t mean it as a compliment.
As you might imagine, the movie version of the utopian body snatcher world is much better than the real version. Paul’s goal was that he, and all believers, would die to themselves and be like Jesus. The problem is, we die figuratively and not literally. Instead of going away completely and letting Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, take over our bodies, we continue to live in our body and fight for control. Paul talks about that in other places. He laments that he is always doing things he doesn’t want to do and he doesn’t do the things he would like to do. He warns others of the same thing when he tells them to stop living like they used to live and to let God change them into the people God intends them to become.
Are you snatched by God? Don’t fight the changes. Seek them. Be sensitive to where God is trying to change how you think, talk, and treat people and, rather than fighting, cooperate.
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