A film that’s in The Chronicles of Narnia series is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In the book and the movie, C.S. Lewis introduces us to a snarky little boy named Eustace Clarence Stubb. Lewis wrote, “If ever a child deserved such a name, it is Eustace.” He is critical, complaining, selfish, greedy.
Along with other characters, Eustace lands on an island. He wanders off from the group to avoid helping out. He finds a dragon’s cave and inside he finds the dragon’s treasure hoard of gold and jewels. He lies down to sleep on a pile of coins. When he wakes up, he finds that he has turned into a dragon. He’s become on the outside what he was on the inside.
Over time, Eustace is humbled. He doesn’t want to stay the same. He doesn’t want to be a dragon. He’s broken.
Then he meets the great lion, Aslan, face to face, one on one.
Now, Aslan in this series is a picture of Jesus. In the first of Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books, Aslan dies in the place of the guilty. He bears the punishment of another’s crime. But because he was innocent, he rose back to life. Aslan is clearly a picture of Jesus.
The movie doesn’t really depict the book accurately in this scene between Aslan and Eustace. In the book, Aslan tells Eustace to take off his clothes. Eustace thinks, “I have no clothes. I’m a dragon.” Then he remembers that reptiles can shed their skin. So, he scratches his chest hard. And he sheds his skin. But he’s still a dragon. Eustace does it again and then again. But he’s still a dragon.
Then Aslan does for Eustace what Eustace can’t do for himself, what no amount of self-effort can accomplish. Alsan reaches out his paw and penetrates Eustace to the heart. Let’s read the words of Eustace from the book.
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off — just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt — and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. There he caught hold of me — I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into [a pool of] water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone… And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again… I was so glad…”
This is a picture of joy-producing, glad-hearted New Life in Christ.
When we encounter Jesus – one on one, face to face – we are changed and we get great joy. Even when the problems and the trials keep on keeping on, we can still have joy because we know He’s changed us from the inside out. We know all our dragon-like living has been forgiven. We now have the ability to live the way we were meant to live. And because we’ve been changed by Jesus, we can live with Him forever.
See, this little baby who was born on that first Christmas is called “the Savior.” He saves us from our sins. He grew up to be the Lamb of God who died on a cross in our place so we could be forgiven of all our dragon-like living. He rose again as the great Lion of Judah. As the risen Lion, Jesus has the power and authority to grant us New Life. And when we change, we get great joy.
When people encounter Jesus, their lives change. And they experience joy. Great joy.
Now, who can you tell about that?
Who will you invite to New Life in Christ?