One of my favorite movie scenes comes from the movie, Troy. Early in the movie, we are introduced to the ruthless warrior, Achilles, when he goes to battle for the Greek warlord Agamemnon against the army of Thessaly. Agamemnon was trying to conquer all of Greece. He was marching from city to city to conquer armies and become the king of all Greece.
Instead of fighting with their armies, Agamemnon and the king of Thessaly decided to settle their battle the old-fashioned way. They called on their best warriors to fight one another on behalf of the armies. The king of Thessaly shouted, “Boagrius!” When he did, a massive warrior stepped out from the army to fight for the Thessalonians.
Agamemnon shouted, “Achilles!” But Achilles wasn’t with the army. He had stayed back in the village. Quickly, the king sent a messenger to bring Achilles to the battle, because he knew that they were doomed without him. I love what happens next. Even though Achilles hated Agamemnon, he loved his people and wanted to fight for them. So, with just a few quick steps and one swift lunge with his sword, Achilles killed the giant warrior from Thessaly without breaking a sweat.
The students at Trace Crossing are walking through The Lighthouse Catechism, which is a hybrid catechism adapted from the Westminster Shorter, Heidelberg, and Baptist catechisms. The question we are memorizing this week reminds me of a desperate call for a valiant warrior.
Q 24. Who is the Redeemer of God’s people?
A. The only redeemer of God’s people is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Last week, we learned the good news that God has made a way of escape from his own wrath against sin when we asked,
Q 23. Is there any way to escape punishment and be brought back into God’s favor?
A. Yes. God reconciles us to himself by a Redeemer.
That way of escape is through a redeemer, someone who would go to battle for God’s people against their most dreaded enemies, sin and death. The question, “Who is the Redeemer of God’s people?” is more of a battle cry. Who will go for us to fight? On our own we are helpless. Our enemies are too big. They are too strong. They will kill us.
Who will fight for us? The answer is Jesus. Jesus Christ, much like Achilles, will go fight for his people. But unlike Achilles, Jesus willingly goes to fight for us. And he kills sin and death by dying. He absorbed the full wrath of God in our place, so we can be forgiven and reconciled to God. He died so we may live.
There is only one warrior who is able to fight for us in this way, and he is Christ the Lord. Only Achilles could have defeated Boagrius. And only Jesus can defeat our enemies of sin and death. Solus Christus is our cry and our only hope for salvation from the penalty, power, and presence of sin. Only Jesus can bear the wrath of God in our place. Only Jesus can bring us life through his death. There is only one redeemer of God’s people. And his name is Jesus.
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.