The Matrix is a great film to use with young people, despite it being very dated now. It is considered a classic.
The film is about Neo who comes to find he is the ‘chosen one’ (‘Neo’ being an anagram of ‘One’). He discovers the world about him is not real. In fact, the real world is a blackened, desolate place where machines have taken control of humans. Another ‘reality’ called the ‘Matrix’ has been created by these machines. Some humans ‘live’ in this ‘reality’, kept alive by other humans who are bred to give this reality its ‘life.’
Neo has a choice and breaks free from this reality and joins a group committed to breaking free from the ‘Matrix’. They travel around in a hovercraft called ‘The Nebuchadnezzar’. As he comes to discover he is ‘the one’ he starts to hack into the Matrix and try to bring down this false, machine controlled ‘reality’.
Matrix Part 1
Neo is the ‘chosen one’, the ‘One’. Jesus was the ‘One’ chosen by God who willingly came to earth, died on the cross and rose again to enable us to come back into right relationship with God, if we choose it.
After Neo has been contacted, he has to make a choice. He sits down in a room and is invited to take either a blue or a red pill. If he takes the red pill he will be shown the ‘Matrix’ and ‘how deep it goes’. If he takes the blue pill, he will go back to living a ‘normal’ life and will forget about everything. Neo chooses the red pill.
With some non-Christians this was used to help them to see their choices had consequences and that they should make the most of every opportunity. It was also used to challenge people to follow Jesus or not. Will you take the red pill and accept Jesus, the truth or the blue pill?
Neo goes to see an ‘Oracle’ who is able to see the future and things in people’s lives. Is the gift of Prophecy alive in your church? Are you seeking prophecy as the Bible says? (1 Corinthians 14.1 – but to verse 25 for a fuller session) What is prophecy anyway? Are they exclusive to the church? Why do we need prophets? Is this one of your spiritual gifts?
One of the Nebuchadnezzar crew is tired of being chased and wants to go back to his old life with blissful ignorance. Jesus warns us that the seed that is sown for ther Gospel will fall in different places. See Luke 8.4-15. I wanna be a person where God’s teaching produces a good crop. I wanna be a person who passes this on via Spirit-filled discipleship to young people. You?
The world that people see in the Matrix is false but they do not realise it. Surely this is similar to the people of this world, blinded to the truth by the god of this age (Ephesians 2.2)
Secondly, Jesus said in John 18.36 that ‘My Kingdom does not belong to this world… my Kingdom is from another place.’ The Matrix is the world that we see around us. Neo can be seen to represent a different, higher way – as Jesus represents a different, higher way.
Thirdly, we live in the world but we are not of the world (2 Cor 10.3). This is what happens to Neo when he takes the red pill and see the reality of the Matrix. He still lives within the Matrix but is no longer part of it. Instead, he wants to bring down the Matrix, to show other people the truth so they can also break free of the Matrix.
Matrix Part 2
I would say that there are some unsuitable scenes in Matrix Reloaded (mainly sexual) and I wouldn’t personally show the whole movie to young people. This needs editing, if you choose to use it
Many doors, only one is the right one
In the movie, the ‘key maker’ is a man who has access to many keys that open various ‘doors’ around the Matrix. The key maker is an essential person in the complex story of Matrix 2.
There is a part in the movie where the key maker is talking to Neo and tells him that he has many keys but only one key is the key that is needed. In another part, the key maker tells Neo that he and he alone can open one of the important doors. Neo does walk through this door but the key maker is killed in the process, fighting the agents.
What can we take from this? That Jesus is the way, truth and the life. No-one gets to the Father except through Jesus. (John 14.6). The key maker lost his life in getting Neo through the door. We can also relate this to Jesus who died on the cross for us but, unlike the key maker, Jesus rose again.
Everyone has their role
Through the movie we keep hearing the line that everyone has their part to play. When the key maker gets Neo and Morpheus through the last door and dies, he tells them, ‘it’s OK, I have played my part.’ (or words to that effect!)
It’s the same for us as Christians. We all have a part to play. 1 Corinthians 12.12 says that a person’s body is only one thing but it has many parts. Though there are many parts, all those parts make one body. Christ is like that also.
Our part is to find out what God wants from us, if God has a specific plan for us, where God wants us, how God wants to grow us. For all Christians, it will be different. But we should continually seek God in all things at ll times (Matthew 5.33)
In a Truman-show-like twist, we come face to face with a man who claims to be the ‘Architect’ of the Matrix. (He also, interestingly, claims that there have been 6 Matrix’s and 6 Neos before the current one – making this the 7th – a very Biblical number!!)
The Architect sits in a room full of TV screens, which at times reflect Neo’s innermost thoughts, thoughts that are often contradictory. The Architect is almost godlike – he created The Matrix, he sits over the Matrix and its ebbs and flows. He even gives Neo a choice (a kind of throw back to the first Matrix). Indeed we learn that much of the Matrix is about choice. The final act of the Architect in this movie is to give Neo a choice with 2 doors offered, There is also something about the Architect that we cannot quite put our finger on – is he telling the truth, who is he really?
We can’t compare the Architect to God but it does raise similar questions! God created our world (people may debate the specifics) but God did create our world, and he is intimately involved in its daily working. God sees through to our innermost thoughts (Hebrews 4.12-13, Psalm 139).
God also gives us a choice – many choices in fact. Do we follow him? Do we obey him? Do we choose God first in all things? Do we let God be Lord over our life? And so on..
Near the start of the movie, Neo has a chat with one of the Counsellors of Zion, the city where the ‘free’ humans live. The 2 have a discussion about man and machines and reach an interesting conclusion. They are kind of inter-dependent. Man can live without heat, electricity and so on, but will he? Machines cannot exist (fortunately) without man’s help.
We live in a world where people think they are free to do whatever we want. We find out about this kind of situation in Romans 1. The word for this is ‘hedonism’ and similar terms, words endemic with post-modernism where everyone is supposed to be an individual with their own ‘personal truths’.
Yet, is this possible? No. We cannot do what we want and be truly free. I can choose to sleep with someone’s wife but there will be all kinds of horrendous consequences and I for one, by God’s grace, am not going there!! I can choose to kill someone but I will be imprisoned. As the Matrix movie reminds us in many places, every action has a consequence. So there is no such thing as true freedom.
The 10 Commandments and all that springs out of them from the words of Jesus are there to protect our freedom as Christians. If we follow them and the teachings of Jesus, we do have true freedom. So because we do not kill, we do not go to prison. Because we are faithful to our wife or husband, we save the pain of unfaithfulness and often, divorce. Our problem is that we don’t obey or don’t believe or receive this freedom that Christ has given us through his Word.
Neo and believers
Not everyone believes Neo is the one. The Commander of Zion’s forces does not for one.
This is like the truth about Jesus. Jesus is the truth but many people will not accept him. Jesus was rejected by many when he walked the earth, and on the cross. Sadly, many people reject him today. In our Western world, it is not popular to claim any kind of ‘truth’ let alone about Jesus! But we have to stand firm and preach the Gospel, knowing that some will accept the truth and some will not.
Madagascar Part 3
There are many more points that can be taken from the final part of The Matrix trilogy.
One of these is that Trinity loses her life
The Bible says that unless a seed dies and falls to the ground..
Secondly there is a battle for Zion. As Christians we are fighting battles:
We fight sin in our own lives, we fight the evil one and we fight for this world and our future inheritance.
The Bible has many examples of battles in the Old Testament.
Ephesians 6 warns us that we are in a battle. In verse 13 the Word says, ‘Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.’ So we know this is a battle we face day and night.
Daniel 13 shows the activity of evil forces set against God. The Bible says that a message for Daniel was delayed as God’s angel was fighting another spiritual force of evil – this suggests that the angel came from a higher Kingdom and had to get through Satan’s spiritual realm in order to get to Daniel on the earth. Read 2 Corinthians 12.2 for more – ‘I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows. ‘
Colossians 2.15 says, ‘ And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’ (NIV). Jesus has disarmed the forces of evil. On the cross Jesus shouted out, ‘it is done, it is complete, perfectly.’ (paraphrase). So we know we have the ultimate victory through Jesus but we have to be prepared to fight.’
Sacrifice and seeing the unseen
Towards the end of the movie, despite being blinded, Neo carries on the fight. He is also able to ‘see’ what is ‘unseen’. In the same way, we have been given spiritual eyes by Jesus. We see things that others cannot see and must fight, stand and speak out. Ask God to give you eyes like Elisha did for his servant to ‘see things’ in the spiritual realm. We have also been given the mind of Christ which is ours through the Holy Spirit in us.