Christian Living


What the Movie Passengers Taught Me about the Gospel


Warning: Contains Spoilers. If you haven't watched Passengers, then this may ruin the film for you…

I recently watched the film Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen… and well, that's about it.

That's because Passengers, if you don't know the plotline, is a film about a couple of individuals travelling through space to a new planet.

They, along with approximately 5,000 others, have been put to sleep for their 120-year journey and will wake up when they get to the planet Homestead. Unfortunately, Jim (Pratt) wakes up 90 years too early.

Now, this is where the film threw me (the trailer didn't give this away but I'm about to... You have been warned!). Only Jim wakes up. A year later, driven by loneliness and attraction, he intentionally wakes up Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Aurora. He pretends that her pod malfunctioned too. This was one of several moral threads in the film: by waking Aurora up, Jim effectively condemns her to death. She won’t make it to Homestead.

This was, understandably, hard for Aurora to take. She didn't want to wake up. Her choice is taken away. We're used to seeing the good guy be willing to die for the heroine, but that’s not this movie's story. Jim is cripplingly lonely and, driven by the need for someone to connect with, he makes a choice.

What struck me was how this is the very opposite of the Gospel. Jesus' actions say, "I die for you." Jim's say, "You die for me." This sci-fi movie, with two of the biggest stars on the planet, unintentionally gave me a fresh appreciation of the sacrifice Jesus made for me, by reminding me how selfish we can be.

How often do I put my needs first? How often is my comfort, my desire, my preference at the forefront of my mind?

The question Passengers invites us to answer is, What would you do? Would you commit the ultimate act of selfishness as Jim does or would you do better? I'm sure many of us would want to think we could stick it out; but the truth is, we make selfish choices every day.

My own life is characterized by selfishness; a toxic "me and mine first" attitude that is the total opposite of the Gospel that saved me and the God who gave himself for me -- and all of humanity. Passengers is a helpful reminder and one I hope will stay with me.

Note: Passengers is rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and action/peril.

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