What We Can Learn About the Gospel from Movies Like Contagion

Core Value One: The Gospel

Last week we took a short break from our regularly scheduled programming to update you on the big news that we had finally arrived in Austin. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! We are now going to get back to more important things than 26” U-Hauls breaking down – things like what the gospel is and why it is important. We’ve already given a pretty good definition for the gospel and talked about what it is and what it isn’t. I’m going to use the next couple more posts to really nail this one down since it is our number one core value and the thing on which we will build our church. 

 As I thought about the best way to illustrate the main point for this week – that Jesus did not come to make bad people good but to make dead people alive – my mind was drawn to a theme we’ve seen in a lot of Hollywood movies over the years. You know the story – a rare crazy virus gets unleashed on society, it starts spreading like wildfire, people start dying, and the government and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) frantically try to find a cure before everyone dies. The most recent installment of this kind of science fiction medical thriller is the 2011 film Contagion starring Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet. The plot of Contagion documents the spread of a virus that kills a woman and her six-year-old son after she returns from a business trip to Hong Kong. Eventually the death toll reaches 2.5 million in the U.S. and 26 million worldwide until a vaccine is discovered to halt the virus. There are several key points you see in the movie that I want to tie to the essential gospel narritive:

  1. The virus affects people indiscriminately. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what race you are, or your socioeconomic status – everyone is susceptible.
  2. The virus is fatal. This is not an infection to be taken lightly or ignored. Once infected, the victims usually die within 48 hours.
  3. The scope is global. All of mankind is at risk.
  4. Without an intervention (through a vaccine) there is no hope. Research scientists work frantically to find the cure.
  5. There is only one cure. Taking an aspirin or another medicine just doesn’t work.
  6. The cure saves and protects you.
 
And this is the similar story and picture I see Scripture telling:
  • This virus of sin affects all of us indiscriminately. Romans 3:9 declares, “We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.” Romans 3:23 also states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  • The virus is fatal. Adam and Eve are in the garden and God tells them, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” They ate, they caught the virus, and death entered into them and the human race. 
  • This is the state we are all in. We are all dead. We are all dying. We are all under sin. We are not just bad people who need to become good. We are not good people who need to become better. We are dead people who need to be made alive. Big difference.
  • We all have the virus/the scope is universal. Romans 5:12 shares this clearly, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”
  • Unless we have a remedy there is no hope. Ephesians 2:4 confirms, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.”
  • There is only one cure/antidote. “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24). 
  • The antidote saves you. Romans 5:18, “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”
 
So there it is. The gospel is different than any other religion and any other philosophy because no other religion can bring you back to life and give you eternal life. No other religion does God actually come and live in you and renew you. We have the vaccine and antidote with the gospel and it’s our job to get it in front of as many people as possible.
 
Appreciate you!
 
Dave and April