Captain Jesus and the Pirates of the Resurrection

Yarrrgh! Unless ye be scurvy scum or lily-livered landlubbers, ye be knowin' about ye newest film about the Pirates … what we be calling At World's End!

The long anticipated and inevitable sequel in the POTC trilogy has come ashore, bringing answers to our burning questions and conclusions to the bewildering plot twists and turns that were hatched in the first two installments.

Back is Elizabeth Swan and her increasingly confusing love interests and liaisons. Back is Will Turner and his Disney inspired quasi-Shakespearean dialogue with his daddy Bootstrap Bill. And (of course), back is "I am the squid man" Davy Jones and his crusty crew of crabby crustaceans.

Yes, eventually back is the man who needs no introduction: Captain Jack Sparrow. Our hero has just as much charisma and twice as much eyeliner as he displayed in the first two flicks – and I assume his return isn't too much of a spoiler for you, since they showed him IN THE PREVIEWS!

So what happens when you throw in some new faces, surrealistic scenery, and panoramic battles that blow other movies out of the water? A recipe for a swaggering swashbuckling soirée that is a shoe-in for a summer blockbuster!

But back to Jack for a second – sorry, Captain Jack. I was thinking about one of the central themes of this movie which involves the principal characters, one that you've most likely picked up on it as well:

Resurrection from the dead

As it turns out, getting swallowed by a nasty beastie called the Kraken is a bad thing, so one of the key story lines in this film is a desperate need for Captain Jack to come back from the dead so the forces of evil can be defeated.

And also as it turns out, we all have a Kraken of sorts on our tail as well … and unfortunately being on shore doesn't keep us safe. Our nasty beastie is called death, and one day it will find us. We need someone to rescue us when that happens – to resurrect us so we can live out our eternity that way God intended it – which is in heaven with Him.

Jesus Christ defeated the Kraken called death. Like Jack Sparrow, he willingly jumped into its jaws to save others. But here's the most amazing part … Jesus didn't stay there. He came back so that we too could come back from the dead as well! Here's how God's word describes it:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. (I Thessalonians 4:13-14)

OK, so at this point many folks hear/read this and put the resurrection of Christ in the same category as Pirates of the Caribbean – fantasy. After all, how do we know that the empty tomb isn't just some made up 1st century CGI blockbuster designed to entertain and excite a bunch of gullible religious nuts?

Well, we don't. All we can do is look at the evidence and decide where it leads. Sort of like following a plot to its conclusion, only this isn't a movie, and what you decide to believe or not believe has consequences that last forever. So allow me to lay out a plot summary for you to set the real life stage:

Opening: Jesus Christ. Yes, He is a real person. That's not my opinion, that's the verdict of history. His flesh and blood feet touched the dusty and dirty earth, and His astonishing words and works profoundly impacted the lost and lonely world.

Climactic scenes: Betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. Just as the Bible predicted and foreshadowed thousands of years before, Christ was falsely accused, wrongly convicted, and horribly murdered.

Conclusion: Resurrection from the dead. According to the historical record, the tomb where Jesus was laid was empty. The Romans didn't want it empty, so they posted a guard. The Jews didn't want it empty, so they made up a story about Jesus' body being stolen that is still around today.

I'll tell you what is also still around today – the evidence that He came back from the dead. Here is just a brief sample:

• There was a broken Roman Seal. This meant an investigation, an apprehension and automatic death for whoever did it ... so obviously the Roman soldiers didn't break it. The disciples? Um, no … they were in hiding.
• There was a huge stone that was moved uphill. We're not talking about a small boulder here. This was a 3,000-4,000 pound massive hunk of mountain that was supposed to stay where they put it. It didn't.
• There was an empty tomb, and the disciples started preaching about it right away IN Jerusalem (where the resurrection happened). They would have been written off as a big joke if the tomb wasn't empty.
• The Roman guard split town. This was a death penalty offense – death by being burned alive, I might add. Why would they do that if they could simply produce the body and get off the hook?
• Jesus stayed in town for 40 days. He appeared to more than 500 people in all kinds of places, times and circumstances.

Sound like fantasy? Nope … and neither is the fact that those who trust in Christ as their only hope of salvation will one day be rescued from the Kraken called death.
So … are you ready for world's end?

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Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to lane@dare2share.org.