I love C.S. Lewis. He is my favourite author. I own like all his books, from ‘Mere Christianity’ to ‘The Screwtape Letters’. He used creative ways in which he showed what the world was like and where the Christian was to fit in that. That is kinda the sentence I use to sum him and his writings up, and I do him no justice at all in that sentence because he deserves so much more. I have mentioned ‘Mere Christianity’ there, and while I would say it is my favourite book of his- it doesn’t match the pure brilliance of his children’s book series ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.
More often than not when people think of the series they can get an image of a wardrobe to Narnia. I blame the movies for this. I stand by saying that books are always better than movies because books do it right! They are chronological, there is intricate detail and are just more fun to let one’s imagination run wild with the words and descriptions within the pages. ‘The Magicians Nephew’ is actually the first of the series and I won’t go into detail, but the main characters in the first book actually see the creation of Narnia. Between the creation of Narnia and Lucy entering the wardrobe in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ 1000 years have passed by in Narnia. That is a small window into my disliking of Hollywood and destroying great books- believe me when I say, there is many many more.
If you wouldn’t mind, I would like us to step into Narnia for a short while and look at something I missed up until my last reading of the series;
‘The Silver Chair’ written as the 6th book in the series had two very intense scenes. In the first scene, two of the main characters appear to me on a cliff and one of them ‘Jill’ is messing about on the edge of it- Lewis tells us in the book that you can see clouds below, which can sort of tell you how high it actually is. Anyway, Jill is there with her friend Eustace and she doesn’t care what Eustace thinks of her messing, such a good friend in my opinion. Eustace tells Jill to stop messing anyway and tries to pull her away but in the struggle he ends up falling off. Then Aslan shows up and Jill starts thinking ‘oh no, I’m going to be eaten by a big scary Lion because I was bad.’ Perfectly reasonable assumption under the circumstances.
They then go through some dialogue where Aslan asks what happened and why she was so close to the edge and how did he fall. Jill to her credit tells the truth to why she was so close to the edge ‘I was showing off’. Aslan comes back at her and gives us this great line.
“That is a very good answer, Human Child. Do so no more.”
Where have we heard that before? Or something very very similar to it. C.S. Lewis was a famous Christian (oh the irony) in his time. These books were a way of presenting God in different light. Lewis actually confirms this in another book in the series through Aslan. He is saying goodbye to his human companions in ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ where he says “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” Lewis hints at many aspect of the good news of Jesus Christ in his books. He is very much intentional about sentence placement and showing the parallels between Aslan and Jesus.
Jesus went to the temple courts in John 8. A woman had been caught in adultery and it was customary for her to be stoned in them times. So it’s fair to say she wasn’t having a good day. Jesus is then questioned about what should be done to her. Jesus proceeds to write something in the sand- which I am not getting involved in. Some scholars believe he was writing the sins of the men down in the sand. But that is as far as I go with that. He then in typical Jesus fashion answers their question with a question (We Christians are great at doing that). “If anyone among you is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
But Brian he didn’t ask a question! Yes, he did, He questioned their hearts, he questioned their beliefs and he questioned their ability to judge sin. Because one by one all the men departed. Interestingly enough it was the older men who left first. Jesus must have hit a nerve and soon there is only two people left, Jesus and this woman.
Jesus asks the woman where the men have gone and have they condemned her, she replies no one, sir. “Neither do I condemn you” Jesus declared.
“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Quite similar aren’t they? But what is Jesus actually doing here? Jesus dismissed the woman by saying “go now and leave your life of sin.” This woman met a man who was more interested in saving rather than exploiting and in forgiving rather than condemning. This must have been a new experience for her. Jesus’ attitude provided both the motivation and the assurance she needed. Forgiveness demands a clean break with sin. Jesus in refraining from condemning her was a guarantee that he would support her.
Jesus ultimately is the one who can forgive us of our sins. Jesus did what no one else could do. He willingly went to the cross to die for your sins and for mine. He is worthy of our praise and our worship. We need to know Him and we need to listen to him. We have the amazing opportunity to know Him more through the Bible. C.S. Lewis recognised this through his writings of Narnia. He brought us Aslan so that while we know him a little there, we may know Him more here in our world.
Listen to Aslan, Listen to Jesus.