In his sermon, Jesus’ Inauguration Day, Samuel Wells Dean of Chapel Duke University tells us that Mark’s gospel describes three phases in the life of Jesus: Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the suffering servant and the cosmic Jesus.
This well crafted message of Reverend Wells teaches that some of Jesus’ followers tend to associate him with only one or two of these life phases. But Mark’s gospel clearly describes Jesus as a full participant in each of these life phases.
Professor Wells posits that these people mistakenly expect their lives to follow a similar abbreviated pattern. Continuing he says, when life presents them the life phase they eschew from Jesus’ life, they tend to experience spiritual disappointment.
In this message the Reverend Doctor Wells teaches that Jesus’ followers should fully embrace each of these three life phases because each phase prepares one for a deeper spiritual understanding, thereby positioning the person for a mature spiritual life.
The movie, Invictus, displays these three life phases in the life of Nelson Mandela, the political prisoner who becomes the first black president of South Africa.
Invictus does not followed Mark’s ordering of Jesus’ life phases but all are present.
The movie opens with Mandela ( Morgan Freeman) in the Messiah role.
His country suffers a deep racial divide from the now legally defunct apartheid. Mark’s gospel presents Jesus driving out an evil spirit in his first healing. Invictus presents Mandela at a community meeting preparing to drive out an evil spirit in his first public act.
In this scene, some black citizens prepare to vote in order to change the name and colors of the country’s rugby team. White South Africans had a passion for rugby. It was their game, their soul. To eliminate it or to change it was to cut deeply their soul.
Mandela stands against the action. He espouses a gospel against vengeance. Inclusion and forgiveness are to be his design to heal the racial divide and to forge a nonracial South Africa. His voice wins the action of the day.
Invictus presents to the moviegoer some of the stories and incidents that make the healing possible.