Orson Welles used to say that the role he played in The Third Man movie was one of the best “star-parts” he’d ever had. He went on to explain that a star part is one of those roles where everybody talks about a character until the audience is on the edge of their seats. And then, finally – the star arrives, plays the scene and leaves. And with their departure, everything in the story changes and all of the characters are left to wrestle with the new situation.
When I read that, I realized that while Orson played such larger-than-life characters as Citizen Kane, King Lear and the great Jack Falstaff, there is one “star part” that he was never able to fill. I’m talking about the role of Jesus Christ in the greatest story ever told.
Long before the birth of our Lord in Bethlehem, Christ was woven into the fabric of mankind. He is the creator who was there “in the beginning.” Paul tells us “all things us were created through him and in him.” In fact, all things were created “for him,” to be his inheritance. The entire universe is upheld in existence through him (Heb. 1). And for thousands of years, the prophets looked forward to that very time when God’s Christ, the Messiah, would be born and deliver the world out of sin and darkness. See how the prophet Isaiah puts it:
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
During his life and ministry, Christ changed everything. He came to fulfill the law and the covenant purposes of God. Through his incarnation and blessed atonement, he brought mankind back into right relationship with our Triune God. He brought near the rule and reign of his kingdom. And by his Spirit, he continues to give us hope of the “age to come,” when all things will be made right. Just like any great star part, as soon as he ascended into heaven, there was nothing else the disciples could do but to go out to live and share the good news of our God’s transformational love.
From the beginning, Christ was prophesied and looked for. When he came, he redeemed all things by his powerful love. After he left, his followers continue to live out and share what he had accomplished with the world. Luckily for us, when we get to heaven, we’ll all have a front seat to commune with our favorite star of all – the Lord our God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.