Everything epic is popular these days. Epic movies are selling big at the box office and pumping out the sequels to extend their epic stories. Epic music full of racing strings and wailing choral arrangements is being channeled through desktop speakers everywhere to make sending an email feel more like saving the world. Video games of epic proportion enable grown men who are dissatisfied with their lives to feel a sense of empowerment from the risk-free comfort of their futons.
If we think about it, the Gospel is the epic of epic! It’s the grand story that God has been unfolding throughout the ages and it’s what history is all about. The Gospel of redemption has a wise, benevolent king who loves his people (God), a cataclysmic problem that threatens to destroy humanity (sin), a fierce and deceptive enemy seeking to thwart the king’s plan (Satan), an unlikely hero who gives his life to save the king’s people (Jesus), a ray of hope when the battle seems lost (the Resurrection), a war to end all wars (Armageddon), and the most glorious “happily ever after” ever (eternity with Jesus in the new heavens and new earth).
If you’re like me, then you love being part of something this epic. It excites your heart, gives you ultimate purpose, and makes the smallest moments in life turn into an opportunity to fight for the God who will triumph over all. But I have a concern. It is not safe or right to follow after Jesus solely because we want to be a part of something epic. This happens whenever a hometown sports team starts doing well in the play-offs. People who haven’t watched one game all season come out of the woodwork with their jerseys and foam fingers because it’s exhilarating to be a part of something bigger than what they consider to be their boring 9 to 5 lives. We cannot use God as a means to the end of experiencing thrills and empowerment as part of his grand narrative. As John Piper has said, “God is the Gospel”. We are saved by him, to him, and for him. Remember, out of love God sent his only son to die in order to save your wretched soul, let that truth move you to worship him and realize that being part of the epic story is a benefit of this reality, but not its goal.