I love movies: chick flicks, drama, action movies and comedies. One of my favourites is The Matrix. The first time I watched this film I was blown away by how it seemed to reflect my experience of life. I live in a Matrix kind of world too. In The Matrix the perceived world was full of beautiful women in red dresses and thick juicy steaks. However the reality behind this matrix was that people were locked into a system that generated power from their very bodies. People were little more than batteries to power the machines. Some people were freed from the Matrix and the reality they discovered was appalling; no juicy steak in Zion, only nutritious grey goop.
When Jesus walked the earth he said a lot of rather ambiguous and oblique things. He was a carpenter by trade and a rabbi by learning. One of the rather odd things he said is that he could bring life, fully and abundantly. As a man he had no more capacity to bring life than the rest of us. However Jesus operated simultaneously in two realities; the one he walked around in getting tired and dusty, the other the spiritual realm that shaped how he saw the world and operated in it.
I’ve been following Jesus for a few decades now. The life Jesus came to give was not a long and happy earthly life; after all he was killed in his early 30’s. The abundant life Jesus spoke of is an interior life, a life of the heart, at the centre of our being, of our spirit. Like Jesus, like Neo, I can operate simultaneously in these two realities.
The Matrix world is full of good things and the real world of Zion, is harsh and death is an ever-present reality. By contrast my physical world often feels rather harsh, dealing unexpected blows. People disappoint, illness strikes, job security is threatened. I’ve discovered that the abundant life Jesus talked about doesn’t have much to do with everything turning out as I would like or expect. What I have discovered is that abundant life is more about this other reality that exists alongside my physical one. It is a reality that helps me see deeper into the stuff that happens, that gives me the ability to reflect on what is really going on, what is happening just beneath the surface of what I can see. This other reality gives shape and depth and dimension to my physical life.
When Neo chose the red pill and was reborn in Zion he discovered what was really going on. In this abundant life of Jesus I have found myself being taken to new depths of understanding of myself and of others and I’m given the opportunity to develop and grow in ways that are not available to me in my physical reality. Like Neo I’ve taken the red pill and life is so much more than I could ever imagine.