My favorite movie is the Man Who Would be King (1975), based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling. Sean Connery and Michael Caine played former British soldiers, Daniel and Peachy, in India in the late 1800s who set out for a fictional country called Kafiristan. Their plan was to subvert the local chiefs and make themselves kings.
According to the story, centuries before, Alexander the Great had conquered Kafiristan and made himself king. Under Alexander’s rule, Kafiristan prospered. When he left, he promised to one day send his son back to rule in his place.
Centuries passed. Alexander’s promise to send his son became legend. But when Daniel and Peachy showed up, the people believed that Daniel was the son of Alexander returning to take his rightful place as king.
Daniel and Peachy succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Kafiristan even prospered under them. That is until Daniel started believing he wasn’t just a king, but a god.
How is it that so many of our most popular myths involve a king who returns to set things right?
In Robin Hood, England was in turmoil as it waited for King Richard to come home from the crusades.
The third part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was called The Return of the King.
In the Disney hits The Lion King and Frozen, the rightful king (or queen) was missing in action. Someone had to show them their duty so they would take their rightful place and bring light and warmth back to the kingdom.
What if there was a reality behind the myths?
What if there really is an ultimate king, and all the stories, all the myths, point to him?
The Bible says there is such a king, a creator who made everything and said it was good. God created human beings in God’s image, and for a brief time God and his people coexisted perfectly. It was when people decided to be their own kings that things fell apart.
What if our myths are a memory trace of paradise lost?
The Gospel writer John says, “The Word became flesh.”
The true King, Jesus Christ, has come to set all things right.