Oz, the Great and Powerful
It’s 2013 and the “wizard of Oz” is certainly looking better than his predecessor of 1939 movie fame. But prequels are good that way; everyone is younger and better looking, even the witches.
In the classic MGM movie the Wizard turns out to be a bit of a nebbish masquerading as an all-powerful hero. When the curtain is “accidentally” pulled aside, he’s revealed as his true, pretty powerless self.
But things are far more complex in the prequel. Oz wants to know, is he or isn’t he the promised one who can “set things right” and “save us all?” The wizard himself wonders if it’s possible for a fraud to transform himself and those around him for good. One trailer ends with his impassioned decree: “We’re going to need everyone to believe!” Can we wait till March 8 to find out what everyone needs to believe in order to save the world?
The movie is sure to be visually stunning and entertaining. But it probably will also pose age old questions about good and evil, how to tell the difference and what to do about it. So what does it all mean in real life?
Whatever your story, we all have the same prequel. We didn’t write it, we can’t control it and it affects who we are and what kind of power we do and don’t have.
Our prequel begins with two people who were not satisfied to have a relationship with the One who truly is “THE Great and Powerful.” They disobeyed God in an effort to get His greatness and power for themselves. The whole story is in B’rsheit (the book of Genesis).
God never meant for human beings to be powerless. He created us to be great. But when the first humans decided to pursue greatness and power apart from God’s will and God’s ways, it really messed them up. Their relationship with God was broken. Their relationship with each other was broken. And that brokenness has been passed down and played out in every generation, all the way down to you and me.
That is the story behind the story of how we got where we are. How the story of our lives goes forward depends on what we do about our brokenness. Do we deny it? Or try to transform ourselves and others into the “great and powerful” solution to our problems?
Or do we recognize the One who is supremely Great and Powerful, and ask Him how to be transformed?
Our thoughts and actions have told God over and over that we are the creators of our own story, and he (if he exists), can have whatever part we choose to write for him.
But God wrote his own script. He entered this world as baby, lived among us and modeled what it means to be really human. Jesus suffered for us, died for us to heal our brokenness. His power can truly transform us and “set everything right.”
Why do so many books and movies center on some kind of promised savior? We may not agree on the answer, but maybe the question is worth asking yourself… and God. But if you ask, get ready cause once he answers, you won’t be “in Kansas” anymore.
Newsletter Editor, Missionary
Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.