On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we return to the streets of Gotham to find Christian themes in the second installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, THE DARK KNIGHT. Why does Batman let bad things happen to good people? Isn’t it just part of being a watchman?
Keeping Track Of Sorrows
The Joker has pulled off one of his finest deceptions: he has made the citizens of Gotham City believe that the Batman is responsible for all the death and destruction that has befallen them. He has challenged the Batman to remove his mask and has threatened to kill at least one person a day until he does so. The Joker has effectively sleighted the blood of these good people from his own hands to the Batman’s own hands, and the people of Gotham want the Batman to answer for the crimes they know he didn’t technically commit.
The Batman, however, is not so far away from the pain as the Gothamites have been duped into believing; instead, he is right there hurting with them through the entire process. In like manner, God hurts with us whenever we hurt, and God has shown us how to endure when we don’t think we can. God could most definitely stop the evil and pain and suffering in the world by force, but to do so would be contrary to his loving nature. Instead, he has shown us that the way to overcome evil with good is with humble submission and not proud dominance.
Just as the Batman is close enough to the rubble of the building that just blew up with his beloved inside of it, God is close enough to us to catch our tears and put them in his bottle.
The Watchman On The Wall
In the Old Testament, whenever God brought any type of disciplinary action on his people, he would always set a watchman on the wall of the city so as to warn people of the wrath that was to come. If the watchman did his job, the blood of the unrepentant city would not be on his hands, but if he did not do his job, that blood would be on his hands. The Batman is that type of watchman in that he stands guard over the city and watches over it. Even though he hurts with the city and is despised by its inhabitants, he is still driven to protect it and them to the best of his ability.
But the Batman isn’t just a watchman because a watchman would not willfully take on the burden of his city’s sin. In this, the Batman emerges more as a Christ-figure in that he does take that sin and shame upon his own shoulders. He tells the revived Commissioner Gordon to chase him and condemn him because he isn’t the hero that Gotham deserves but the hero that Gotham needs.
Similarly, we do not deserve anything God has given us including his own Son; however God, in His infinite mercy, gives us what we need to come back home to Him on the condition that we accept His invitation.
Psalm 56:8 – You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
1 Peter 2:24 – He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
Finding Christ In The Dark Knight
In Finding Christ In Cinema we dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. We take a closer look at the stories they tell and see if we find the face of Jesus looking back. Together we explore the deeper meanings of these films; their plots and their twists; the characters and their choices; and see how we can relate them to the gospel of salvation and ultimately our Christian walk.
For complete show notes and other episodes of FCC visit the Finding Christ In Cinema website.
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QUESTION: What Christian themes did you find in THE DARK KNIGHT? Let us know below.