The very first time I saw Star Wars, I was speechless.
Massive space cruisers. A black-robed villain. An entire planet explodes. Dozens of aliens in a desert world cantina. A literal laser sword.
And that was all in the first half hour. To say I was in awe would be an understatement.
But it wasn’t until years later — and the prequel trilogy filling in some gaps — that I came to more deeply appreciate what these films were really about.
On the surface, Star Wars is like a great western film. There’s a band of good guys who are longshots to win, but you just know they’re going to beat the bad guys. There are guns. There are explosions. There’s even a damsel in distress. But when you start to peel back the layers, you see that the story isn’t about the Rebellion or the Empire or even Luke Skywalker.
Star Wars is a story about rise, fall, and redemption.
Anakin Skywalker was born on a desert planet to Shmi, a single mother who became pregnant without a father. He quickly rose to become the most gifted Jedi that his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the rest of the Jedi Council had ever seen.
But he was twisted by Emperor Sheev Palpatine, who manipulated his love for Padmé Amidala to turn him over to the dark side. Now known as Darth Vader, he spent decades building a Galactic Empire that murdered millions and subjected billions more to his unjust rule.
In the end, it was the love of his son, Luke, that healed him. He tossed the Emperor into the glowing blue core of the Death Star, and asked Luke to tell his sister, Leia, that he loved them both very much.
So why is this story so powerful? Why are millions of people fans of a galaxy far, far away?
Because that is our story with God.
The rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker mirrors all of our stories. God designed salvation to be a daily process of redemption. He doesn’t make us perfect, because He wants to care for us and He enjoys lifting us out of the dirt. No matter what kind of trouble we’re in, God is looking forward to helping us out of it.
If you think that perfection is what God wants from you, you must unlearn what you have learned… because God is excited to save you and He's strong enough to do it.
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