Warning: “300” movie spoilers ahead.
Little known fact about me: I am completely fascinated with the legendary Greek/Roman fighting tactics. There’s something about the whole “strength and honor” aspect of war, the camaraderie and dedication that it took to meet one’s opponent face to face. Age of Mythology is one of my favorite games. I chose Trajan as the font for my site after seeing the movie Troy.
Last month, I saw the movie 300 and was impressed by its cinematography. I thought it interesting how some of the dialog (what little there was) seemed to resemble what could be considered a typology of Satan vs. Christ. I’m not saying that there is a 1:1 correlation by any means, but allow me to share some of my thoughts on how Biblical parallels can be drawn.
I found it intriguing how the Spartan King Leonidas explained the phalanx formation to a would-be soldier. The strength was in the impenetrable wall of shields it created, allowing Greeks to fight against superior numbers and prevail. Teamwork, not individual heroism, is what wins the day.
Each soldier’s shield protects the man to his left, from thigh to neck.
It is important to note the phalanx was not about protecting oneself from harm, but defending one’s comrade for the greater good. Done effectively, the line would hold against droves of combatants. Through this, each soldier’s strength was multiplied exponentially. This brings to mind Psalms 27:17.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – NIV
It is also reminiscent of Ephesians 6:10-18.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
During a ceasefire in the movie, civil dialog masks underlying animosity between King Leonidas and the “god” King Artaxerxes, as a would-be negotiation turns into an obvious difference in leadership philosophies. I can almost picture the same conversation, as it might have (fictionally) gone between Jesus and Satan in Gethsemane that fateful night.
Artaxerxes: “Imagine what horrible fate awaits my enemies when I would gladly kill any of my own men for victory.”
Leonidas (unflinchingly): “And I would die for any of mine.”
So, what does any of this nonsense have to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth? Simply this: Artaxerxes was confused by Leonidas’ unrelenting endurance. Surely Leonidas did not think that his 300 men could triumph against an army totaling in the tens of thousands. Certainly the death of a so-called Messiah would be an insignificant footnote in the vast pages of history. Why not simply bow and accept the lordship of a nemesis, to be spared suffering?
Satan failed to realize though, that the point was not to win a single day’s battle, but to have ultimate victory over sin and death – once and for all time. And so it was, over 2000 years ago the ultimate paradox occurred at Golgotha. God died as man, sacrificing himself so others may live.
However, Jesus Christ of Nazareth did not stay dead. He is risen indeed!