The king is dead! Long live death and destruction?

Aragorn, the king, has returned. Let the rejoicing begin! Victory is here!

But, suppose that the story unfolded a little differently. Rewind the tape a little. Go back to the part of the movie where Aragorn jumps off the ship—black cloak flapping in the wind, dark eyes fixed intently on the orc army, grim face promising death to all who stand in his way. The promises of the kingdom in his hands. The hope of all humanity on his shoulders.

And an arrow hits him right between the eyes.

Knocked back against the side of the ship, he slowly collapses to the ground in a bloody heap at the feet of his shocked companions.

The king is dead!

Without Aragorn, the ghost army has no reason remain. So, the ghosts all head back to their home under the mountain. There is no dramatic rescue of the humans trapped inside the city. The orcs win and the humans are all massacred.

No kingdom, no blessings, no shalom. Only shoah. The king is dead and all hope is lost.

Now, suppose that you’re the orc who shot the arrow.

I’m sure you really didn’t understand what you were doing. You’re an orc. So it’s not like you’re all that smart. You saw some dingy-looking guy dressed in black and holding a pretty wicked looking sword. He scared you a little. You’d heard that he was supposed to be some great king who would restore peace and order throughout the land, but you didn’t buy it. You thought he was the enemy. So, you killed him.

You killed the king.

You killed the only hope for the world.


And, that’s exactly what happened in our story. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter had to stand up in front of an entire crowd of people and deliver some bad news. The Promised One returned. He came with all of the blessings of the kingdom: life, Spirit, peace, forgiveness, purity, new creation, healing—shalom. After so many long centuries of waiting, after all the uncertainty and doubt, after so many false hopes and broken dreams, the King came to restore the kingdom.

And you killed him.

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:36)

The King came, and you killed him. The hope of the world, nailed to a cross.

Now what do we do?

[You can read the rest of the posts in this series on the Gospel book page.]



About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on February 20, 2011, in Gospel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

    • I hope the “oops” didn’t seem too dismissive. I liked it for the rhetorical impact of using such casual word in juxtaposition to such a significant event. (I also like to use “juxtaposition” whenever I can.)

      • //I hope the “oops” didn’t seem too dismissive.//

        Not at all.

        I love words with ‘x’ in them, especially when you can mix in ‘j’ and any other high scoring scrabble letters. 😉

  1. A brilliant way of telling it!

    My slight reservation is the quote from acts at the end – that’s not what Peter is talking about, or at least not in that way.

    Peter’s narrative flow is:
    – You killed Jesus
    – God raised him from the dead
    – Therefore Jesus has received the kingdom
    – So you’d better concede defeat!

    So Peter’s point is triumphant, not wistful, which is the tone you seem to be aiming at.

    For the point you’re trying to make, would the disciples on the road to Emmaus fil better into your argument? “W

    On the other hand, I could never have put the rest the post even a tenth as well as you did, so feel free to ignore.

    • Simon, that’s a good point. The reason that I chose this particular quote is because I’m planning to use this quote to segue into a later on chapter by using he crowds’ response of “Brothers, what shall we do?” That will set me up from moving from telling the story of the Gospel to talking about what kind of response we should have to the story. But, I can definitely see your point about the tenor of the quote being subtly different from Peter’s original use. I’ll have to think on that some more. Thanks.

  2. We’re actually watching the Two Towers right now. 😀

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