Celebrating Easter with 15 Moments of Redemption in Movies


Sometimes truth dawns slowly and change comes in fits and spurts. We begin thinking about eternity and seeking purpose. We recognize our baggage and want something better. We find ourselves inching toward truth in the choices we make and the causes we embrace. We want peace and reconciliation and community. While redemption happens in a moment of decision, the journey toward that decision and transformation that follows  is often a process.

Jules Winnfield – Pulp Fiction. Jules recognizes that redemptive forces are at work though he has not yet connected the dots. He finds himself longing to change his role from avenger to shepherd.   They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. Rom 2:15

Charlie Babbitt – Rain Man. When Charlie realizes that Raymond is the secret friend, the “Rain Man” of his childhood, his self-centeredness and greed begins to break down. It’s not the moment of truth but the truth that leads to the moment.  Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” Mark 12:34

George Bailey – It’s a Wonderful Life. George recognizes his existence makes a difference and that he was created for a purpose.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph. 2:10

Red – Shawshank Redemption. Andy’s hopefulness allows Red to become a man who can learn to live with freedom, though he has considered himself institutionalized.  Andy becomes the witness that inspires Red to “strip off the weight and  run with endurance.” Heb. 12:1

Melvyn – As Good as it Gets Melvyn’s desire to change doesn’t immediately transform him, but it breaks the chains of fear that have kept him self-absorbed, mean-spirited, and isolated. Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Rom. 12:2

Juno – Juno’s decision offers reconciliation for a series of selfish, unwise choices. After mistaking Mark’s selfishness for coolness Juno recognizes and honors Vanessa’s mature and loving heart. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Rom. 12:9-10

Michael Clayton – George Clooney portrays a man who must decide whether to continue to serve a system. Telling the truth freed Michael Clayton from the life of lies and hubris he’s been living. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. Gal 5:7-8

Theo – Children of Men. Theo moves from cynical survivalist to a man with a mission of hope in a futuristic dystopia. He steps up when he realizes the role of protector of the future of humanity has fallen to him. Though he didn’t seek it out he accepts that he is “called for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14


Erin Brockovich – moves from wounded, powerless, & defensive to competent and committed as she realizes that she plays a significant role in bringing about justice. The love and admiration of her boyfriend breaks down personal walls and strengthens all her relationships.   Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 2 Cor. 3:12

Felix Bush – Get Low. Felix faces his guilt, loss, and his need for forgiveness by clearing the air with neighbors he’s ignored for years.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I Jn. 1:9

Darth Vader – Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Anakin Skywalker relinquishes the power of the Dark Side to gain reconciliation with his son and find peace in his final moments.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Rom. 8:6

Woody – Toy Story. In the first Toy Story Woody discovers that Andy’s love matters more than his own status. As the series of movies progress the toys face challenges and find strength through their bonds with one another and an identity as “Andy’s toys” that strengthen them even when their time with Andy is over. May God…help you live in complete harmony with each other… Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 15:5-6

Walt Kowalski – Gran Torino. As he mourns the loss of his wife, Walt recognizes and rejects the shallowness of the world around him. His bitterness fades as he discovers grace and purpose by responding to the needs of his Vietnamese neighbors, and eventually coming to love them. Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends. Jn. 15:13


Jesus – The Passion of the Christ. Jesus is the context though which we can really understand redemption and transformation. The powerful transformation, redemption, and forgiveness we see in other people’s lives can begin for us when we come to faith in Him. His prayer for us is this:  Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. Jn. 17:18-20

Happy Easter!

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