Last night while making dinner I saw that Spider-Man was on TV. I haven’t watched it in years and, since there wasn’t a World Series game on, I thought I might as well give it a go. The movie came out 14 years ago and time has been kinder to it than I thought it had. Perhaps a few lackluster movies featuring old web head made me forget how good the original was. Toby Maguire wasn’t perfect as Peter Parker or Spider-Man, but the movie really nailed his relationship with Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben. The movie also butchered the Green Goblin’s costume, but Willem Dafoe was perfectly creepy as Norman Osborn.
Watching Spider-Man I realized that it was better than I had remembered. Here are some Bible stories that, as I’ve gone back to them, are better than I remember.
The Fiery Furnace
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s adventure in the fiery furnace is one of the classic Sunday school stories. The story has an evil king, a giant statue, peer pressure and fire – everything to keep young kids invested in a story. However, as I’ve revisited the story as an adult, I find that I get so much more out of it. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are brought before King Nebuchadnezzar, they tell him that they believe God can save them from the fiery furnace, However, they say, even if God doesn’t save them that they won’t bow down to the statue. That resolve to follow God’s will is inspiring and something that I totally missed when I was younger.
Noah is another classic Sunday school story. My contention is that all of the best Sunday school stories feature animals, which puts Noah and Daniel right at the top. I read Noah’s story all throughout my childhood and taught it plenty of times as an adult. I really saw the story differently after watching Darren Aronofsky’s movie Noah. As a kid I never learned about Noah planting a vineyard, getting drunk and lying around naked. As an adult I always kind of wondered why that was Noah’s first action after getting off the ark. The movie gave a potential reason for Noah’s actions: he wanted to forget the screams and deaths of everyone he knew. I don’t know if that’s why Noah made wine and got drunk, but it definitely adds a human element to the story.
Paul’s story impressed me when I was younger; he went from trying to kill Christians to trying to make as many Christians as possible. Paul had an amazing turn around and definitely inspired me when I was younger through his life and his writings. As I got older, though, and began to understand what Paul left behind, I was even more impressed. The trajectory of Saul’s life was pointing up, like a rocket poised to blast through the atmosphere. He left all of that behind: his position, status and significance to pursue Christ and join a heretical Jewish sect. I don’t know if I could do that, which is why Paul’s story is better than I remember.
A lot of movies and stories are probably better than we remember. Some of them probably suck just as much as we think, which is why I’ll never watch Ultraviolet again.
What are some Bible stories that were better than you remember?