Monday, July 28, 2008

The Bourne (Again) Identity

One of my favorite movies that now lives in my little DVD library is The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon as our amnesiatic American who cannot understand why he's been fished out of the Mediterranean with a bullet wound, speaks five different languages, has a secret bank account (with loads of money), multiple fake I.D.s and every police force and assassin in the world after him.

Good flick. Worth watching again and again.


For those who do not know (spoiler alert - BIG spoiler alert), there is a reason Jason has amnesia: he was shot after deciding he couldn't kill a man in cold blood in front of his children.

He repented. His moral compass kicked in, and he just couldn't do it. It was too brutal, even for him.

Now, I think the director Doug Liman knew what he was doing. You see, in this story of redemption, Jason ends ups killing only the killers who come after him. In other words, that terrible skill set he has by training? Well, Jason uses it on the bad guys. He wins every fight and effectively shuts down all by himself the very operation that made him a Black-Ops assassin for the C.I.A.

The next two movies show the consequences of his actions and are great moral tales on human responsibility and the need to fight evil - no matter how "high up" they may be.

Jason becomes a new man. He is, pardon the obvious pun, "Bourne" again.

The movie is based on the writings of Robert Ludlum. The naming of his hero and his seeking a new life and new identity is one of those "you got to have it" metaphors. I like it.

Jesus likes it.

Here, look at what He said about us amnesiacs who have forgotten religion cannot save us.
John 3:1-7 (NIV)
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'

In the movie, Jason has to repent, get wounded and hit the water before we see a transformation of the man (we being with the "good" version). We find out later he got himself into this mess and it took an extreme circumstance to bring him out.

And he never wants to be the man he was before, again.

Jesus offers this to us -hang on to your hats, because no one likes what He said:

"You must born again."

It has nothing to do with good works. It has nothing to do with having the right doctrine or the 'right' religion.

George Whitefield, the great evangelist of the 19th century was famous for quoting this. So much so that one Christian brother asked him why he kept on the same verse, week after week.

Whitefield replied, "Because you MUST be born again!"

I hate to tell you this, but no matter how good you've been, how nice you are, you must be born again.

"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God."

We NEED the Spirit of God to make us 'new creatures'. We need what the Puritan's called "regeneration".

Jesus knows what you need to be a true child of God. A death (of self) and a resurrection (by His Spirit a.k.a. the Holy Spirit).

Jason Bourne had money, power, prowess and permission to do as he willed. But he had no real life until he was wounded, immersed in water and raised by another.

The parallels are numerous. And I think God uses such parables in movies to touch our hearts.

Will you be borne again? Will you do it today?

If you want to, pray this prayer:

God, I want to be a new person.
I want to be born again, like Jesus said.
I believe He paid for me on the cross
two thousand years ago to accomplish this.
Please forgive me and give me Jesus in my heart.
Thank you, God.
In Jesus' Name,

And when you feel that heart change and soften, go tell someone "I have a new identity now."

"I've been born again."

Then go hang around some other "born again"s and smile and tell them what Jesus did for you.

They'll understand.


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