By Pastor David M. Choi
The 1999, sci-fi/action film, The Matrix, eerily depicts the not-too-distant future of when human beings have finally been overrun by the devices of their own making, namely, machines and artificial intelligence. The machines have enslaved human beings by plugging them into the matrix. And so, Morpheus and his motley crew of unplugged soldiers are on a mission to free as many minds as possible; one of them being a man named Neo. Before he can be unplugged, though, Morpheus says Neo must make a choice, as he holds out his hands in front of him. In one hand is the blue pill; in the other hand is the red pill. Take the blue pill, Morpheus says, and you will stay asleep in a blissful state of ignorance. Take the red pill, and you will wake up to the overwhelming truth of reality.
Many would undoubtedly prefer the blue pill over the red pill. Better to be happy in ignorance than weighed down by the truth, right? Demetrius of Ephesus, the highly acclaimed silversmith, certainly thinks so. He wants the blue pill for himself (vv.24-28). Accepting the truth of God’s Word means he would need to radically alter his life and see the world differently, not to mention it would cost him his business and livelihood. Nobody wants that! What makes him happy is the way things currently are, even if it isn’t true, because worshipping false gods is what makes the fallen world go round. So of course he doesn’t want to be bothered with the truth! The gods have made him rich! He would much rather enjoy the happiness he has found in his self-curated world of non-reality and false idols.
Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In other words, there is no grasp of what’s real without him, and that is a hard (red) pill to swallow, because it means seeing the ugliness of the cross and what it represents. The cross that reveals just how evil and sinful we really are. The cross that reveals the waywardness of our lives, and the lengths to which we will go to rid ourselves of God, even if it means killing God himself. In light of the cross, we’re exposed – and that’s painful. Yet, what the cross also reveals is that there is hope for sinners like us. Through the cross, we see the Father of love, forgiveness, patience and mercy. The Lord of lords who will not abandon the world in its current state, but bring it back into the wide-open spaces of Christ’s own life.
Those like Demetrius feign ignorance because they like being happy, but such happiness is only momentary, since it can only remain predicated upon what’s false. Yet, out of his abundant grace, Jesus Christ now sets our lives upon the truth, because it is the truth that sets us free (John 8:32), because it is the truth that takes us from momentary happiness into a life of eternal and unshakeable joy.
Lord, keep me from settling for a happiness that comes from turning a blind-eye or from worshipping false idols. Help me to live in the truth of your Word, not only to see the world for what it is, but also to see just how much you love it. Because of your promises in Christ, I have no reason to live in denial. I will live in your truth. Amen.