Christian Themes In Apollo 13 | Finding Christ In Cinema

Repentance and Saving Faith are prominent themes in APOLLO 13, starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton, and Ed Harris. We’ll give you two powerful tools for sharing the Gospel using this exciting film – only on this episode of Finding Christ In Cinema.

Dark Side Of The Moon and Repentance

The most notable Christian theme in Apollo 13 is that of losing something in the present to gain something better in the future. Case in point: when the oxygen tank explodes and renders the mission asunder, the crew begrudgingly decides to abort the mission and realign all efforts and resources for the return trip. All three members in the module had high hopes for this mission, even to the extent of a little (arguably a lot) of pride. That’s why it hurt them so much emotionally to make the decision to turn around without accomplishing the mission. But if they hadn’t turned around like they did, they wouldn’t have been able to get themselves back home.

This is an excellent illustration of repentance: a complete turning from one’s previous actions and attitudes to those that are better. Contrary to popular belief, repentance is not simply just reviewing one’s actions and attitudes and feeling contrition for them; instead, it involves a change – literally, a 180-degree turn. Just as the Odyssey had to be turned from the Moon to the Earth, and just as the crew had to turn their hearts from pride to humility, so is it with us whenever we desire to answer Jesus’s call.

This image shows Kevin Bacon as Jack Swigert in Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks.

Saving Faith Is Pushing The Button

While the Apollo 13 crew was repenting from their mistaken adventure in outer space it took someone from back home to help them with the right procedures and guide in their desperate situation. That role was fulfilled by Ken Mattingly, who was preemptively removed from the mission for fear of measles. Thankfully, however, because of his misplacement he is able to rise to the call and save his fellow crew members.

So many parallels can be drawn between Jesus and Ken Mattingly at this point. Mattingly is alive and well back on Earth but chooses to subject himself to the same conditions as those in the Odyssey; this mirrors how Jesus chose to divest himself of his original glory in order to take on the same fleshly conditions as us. Mattingly did that in order to be able to save the crew from where they were, just as Jesus did that in order to save us from where we are. And both really only had one job: to give power to those who had none, Mattingly through rewiring the circuits on the Odyssey, and Christ by making it possible to stand righteously in God’s presence via his blood.

And that, dear listeners, is good news.

Finding Christ In Apollo 13

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QUESTION: What Christian themes did you find in APOLLO 13? Let us know below.


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