When we left Anakin Skywalker at the end of my previous post, “Fear is the Path to the Dark Side,” the young Jedi had made the proverbial deal with the devil by asking Chancelor Palpatine to show him how to use the Dark Side of the Force to save Padme, but this plan backfired and he ended up losing Padme by causing her to die of a broken heart and became imprisoned in a walking tomb of darkness, cut off not only from the outside world, but also from the goodness buried in his own heart. However, the Dark Side could not hide the love that beat Anakin’s heart for his son Luke. That love flickered so dimly that even Obi Won couldn’t see it. Thus he told Luke in Return of the Jedi, “He is more machine now than man, twisted and evil.” When Luke protests that he cannot kill his father, Obi Won says, “Then the Emperor has already won. You were our only hope.” He even tells Luke to bury his feelings because “they could be used to serve the emperor.”
However, in spite of the fact that Luke does not follow Obi Won’s instructions, he manages to save his father from the Dark Side and is instrumental in the emperor’s death. Now how was that possible? Simple, Luke had the most powerful ally in the galaxy. The Jedi called it the Force. I call it love and according to I Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails” (NIV). Luke never stops loving his father, regardless of the things he does as Darth Vader. He told Obi Won and Leah that he knew there was good in Anakin because he could feel it. I believe that it was his love for his father that made that it possible for Luke “to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fade less under all circumstances” (I Cor 13:7 AMP). Luke’s love made the love in his father shine like a beacon, calling his son to him.
Now when Luke surrenders himself to his father, it is clear that Anakin doesn’t believe in the love that is in his heart, thus he tells his son that it was too late for him. But bless Luke’s heart, he just won’t give up on the old man. He refuses to listen to the Emperor who tells Luke, “you must know your father can never be turned from the Dark Side.” I believe that the emperor Luke believes otherwise, which makes him a threat. Thus he concludes that Luke must either turn to the Dark Side or be destroyed. True, Luke does falter in the emperor’s presence, who is able to manipulate Luke’s love for the rebels by attacking them and twists that love into fear, anger and hate–the very feelings that Yoda warned Luke about. Darth Vader is also able to manipulate Luke’s feelings for Leah, but in the end Luke, seeing how he maimed his father and is rushing headlong on his father’s path, refuses hate and the Dark Side. He embraces love and once again declares who he and his father are; “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” He would rather die than become the emperor’s puppet.
In the emperor’s mind, he has no choice but to kill Luke and the love that is within him for his father, but there was something that Emperor and not even the Dark Side can destroy, Anakin’s love for his family. True, the Dark Side twisted his love for Padme so Anakin would turn to the Dark Side, but that love could not be killed. The emperor was overconfident in Anakin’s loyalty to him and underestimated the love in Anakin’s heart. In a twist of poetic justice, just as Anakin’s attempt to save Padme with the Dark Side’s help backfired on Anakin, so did Palpatine’s plan to destroy the goodness in Luke backfired on the emperor.
Seeing his son writhing in agony, I imagine the memory of Anakin’s dying mother and the dreams of his dying wife flashed before him. In a flash of revelation, he saw the Dark Side for what it really was. The Dark Side had killed everything he held dear and now it was seeking to destroy his son through Palpatine. Anakin’s love rose up like consuming fire and compelled him to destroy the emperor in order to save his son. True, it could be said that Anakin was not a very good Jedi, being so attached to Luke. However, it was that very attachment–that love–that saved Luke’s life and as he lay dying, Anakin was freed from his living tomb and was able to see his son “with my own eyes.”
The love that Anakin had for his son was the ultimate love because it cost him his mortal life. Jesus said it best in John 15:13, “The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends” (GW). Now what is really remarkable about him sacrificing his life for Luke is that he actually saved his own soul. Anakin Skywalker was reborn and Darth Vader and the emperor were no more. Now if this all sounds familiar, consider Jesus’ words, “Those who try to keep their lives will lose them. But those who give up their lives will save them” (Luke 17:33 NCV). (By the way, I had no idea that this verse was in Luke’s gospel until I looked it up for this article).
So what lesson can a Christian take away from Anakin and Luke Skywalker’s relationship? Never underestimate the power of the love of God. Do you feel like Darth Vader, haunted by a lifetime of sin, believing that God could never love you, let alone forgive you? Well let me tell you that is simply not true. Jesus died for everyone. Like Anakin was willing to die to save his son from the emperor, Jesus was willing to die to save you and those you love from the devil. All that is needed on your part to experience this gift of life and forgiveness is to accept it like the free gift of God that it truly is. Just as Anakin was able to be freed from the mask that cut himself off from seeing his son, the power of God’s love can open your eyes to the wonder of His love and mercy. You can have the best New Year’s present of all time, a new you and a relationship with Jesus because “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17 KJV).
On the other hand, are you like Luke and have an Anakin in your life, a loved one who is caught in the “Dark Side’s” grip, bound to drugs, alcohol or any other bondage? What can a Christian do to help? Plenty! A Christian has the most powerful ally of all, Jesus Himself Who said, “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27 KJV). However, don’t think that the devil will just let go of one of his prisoners without a fight. You will need to discipline yourself to see that person through God’s eyes, as someone God loves. Speak over you loved one in the name of Jesus, call him or her free even when your eyes and ears tell you otherwise because Obi Won had a point when he said, “Your senses can deceive you; don’t trust them.” The devil will try to convince you that your loved one is beyond hope, that like Anakin, he or she can never be turned from the Dark Side. Not only that the devil is not above playing dirty by putting pressure on Christians who are praying for their loved ones by creating problems for them at home, their jobs, their church, etc. However, Jesus offers this assurance in John 16:33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (TLB). So when the devil opposes you, take your stand knowing that God is with you (Matthew 28:20). So keep believing and keep praying for your Anakin.
So the question is on this, the first day of 2015, a day of new beginnings is, are you willing to receive the love of God by receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you already have, are you willing to fight for the ones you love so they can experience the love of God as well? Either way, God is right there, waiting to meet you where you are so you can experience the victory that Jesus died to give you! Well until my next entry, may the force of God’s love be with you, always! God bless and Happy 2015!