Within this reflection is a small challenge issued to everyone who cares to accept it. Dotted throughout it are the titles of Bond movies and you are invited to spot as many as you can. So for example in the course of this you might hear me say Octopussy and mentally or with a pen mark it off. There are about 19 titles.
In the course of planning this service I have heard so much about James Bond that I thought it might be worthwhile exploring this theme. Is Jesus the ultimate secret agent? He might not come with guns and explosions but he has certainly left his mark.
Jesus came not from Russia with love but from heaven in love. God had a plan ever since the dark angel fell and tried to take the earth for himself. It wasnt so much on her majestys secret service as a plan made public through the prophets like Isaiah or Micah, in the writings of the psalmists and there to be decoded throughout the Old Testament. God has never gambled in the Casino Royale with our future. He has always been in control and despite his somewhat mean reputation as Dr No he simply wants to provide us with a quantam of solace.
Yet Jesus time on earth wasnt easy. He was born in a stable, then a refugee and in his early 30s sent out on his mission. He came almost as a secret agent because despite being open about who he was the ministers, the Pharisees, the lawyers those who should have known him didnt recognise him. When Jesus spoke with the children he was at his most visible for he was for their eyes only. Only those with the faith of a child could truly see him for who he is. Thankfully though Jesus wasnt put off his mission and kept going, taking the disciples on an adventure that at times scared the living daylights out of them.
The religious authorities were in a sense the bad guys the characters in the Bond films that we are wary off and want James Bond to beat. They had a view to a kill because Jesus was dangerous. He threatened their very existence, or so they thought. Judas, the spy who loved Jesus was the one to break his heart when he betrayed Jesus in the garden. And the disciples disappeared for they knew that they had to live and let die if that is what it took. Of course they didnt want to and they hoped and prayed that Jesus had an escape plan. We always hope that the good guy has an escape plan and that is usually when the gadgets from Q come in handy.
But for Jesus he went in alone. He faced trial and met the one who had a licence to kill Pilate himself. All seemed lost. Our secret agent would surely die and there was nothing that could be done. It appeared that even God had forsaken him as he hung upon the cross.
How was this mission to be fulfilled now? The dramatic music reaches a climax and silence falls. Has it all ended like in die another day? Or is there a twist in the tale? All good stories have a twist something that keeps us on our toes, perhaps even a bad guy who finds love and forgiveness like Jaws in Moonraker.
Jesus had said that the temple would be destroyed and in 3 days it would rise again. Turns out that God really had thrown a thunderball. Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death and allowing all of us to meet God personally and without fear. Gods greatest desire is for us to live with him, for him and in him. Through Jesus Christ he made it possible for us to believe that tomorrow never dies we have life eternal through Jesus.
The challenge for us though is that we have to say that the world is not enough. We get so caught up in the mundane of life that we forget that we are not of this world. It is understandable of course. But what happens when the sky falls and we are left to stand before Jesus and tell him what we have done for him. Do we tell him that we got good jobs, built nice homes and led comfortable lives? Or do we tell him that we lived our lives knowing that we would only live twice once in this broken world and once in his beautiful perfected one? Do we put more value in earthly goods for as we all know diamonds are forever?
And as we have listened what have we heard more of film titles or the good news of the Gospel? Lets listen as hard for Gods word to us as we have listened out for film titles.
If we truly want to be secret agents we need to read our bibles, pray, worship, and live lives of adventure.
What is the point of putting on armour if we are not going to fight?
It is not an easy fight but then if James Bond had it easy would we really want to watch the films. And just as James gets his rewards we know that we too will receive ours, especially if we dont quit.
Just as James Bond was once a child so was Jesus.
Just as James Bond had a mission so did Jesus.
Just as James Bond had to save the world, so did Jesus.
The difference is that James Bond is a fictional character, made up by Ian Fleming.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is real and he has called you and me to carry on his work until the day he returns and there are no excuses. You are never too old or young to fulfil his mission so never say never again and be Gods agent today.