On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we embark the ship from Messina to the Holy Lands and look for Christian themes in Ridley Scott’s KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. What does it mean to Balian to be a good Knight? Does it mean defending the helpless and speaking the truth just like his Father told him?
Who Can Enter The Kingdom Of Heaven
Two different kinds of people exist in Kingdom of Heaven: those who want to “practice” their religion on pretense, and those who actively seek out God and His true kingdom on earth. The first group wants mankind to acknowledge it, and the second wants God to acknowledge it.
Balian, because of a brief time with his father Godfrey, is of that latter ilk. Before Godfrey died, Balian was able to be disciplined in the ways of knighthood (a sentiment synonymous with true piety in the film). Whereas Reynald de Chatillion and Guy de Lusignan lived the free life, Balian swore an oath to a selfless life comprised of helping the innocent and defending the weak.
This is also – and has always been – God’s call to those who would follow Him. He does not call us to put our piety above the people with whom we live, nor does He call us to wage wars of revenge in His name. Instead, all God asks is that we simply “do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly” with Him.
A Virtuous Life In The Kingdom Of Heaven
Balian even has the opportunity to do all of those things throughout the film and in one scene in particular, and it begins after Reynald has been publicly beaten as a punishment for razing a Muslim caravan. King Baldwin and Tiberius believe that more disciplinary actions are needed – more disciplinary actions meaning the death penalty.
Balian, however, believes that the new kingdom of God should be a kingdom with a clear conscience or it will not work at all. As much as a greater good it would be for Guy to die, Balian does not want that blood on his hands, so he refuses the offer, much to the dismay of the other parties involved.
By refusing to miss the mark in that small instance, Balian is then able to continue doing the right thing and is eventually able save the lives of an entire city. All because he chose “to conquer evil by doing good” and living out the life of virtue he wanted to live out.
Finding Christ In Kingdom Of Heaven
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.
Click on the audio player at the top of the post to listen to this episode, or use the links below for other ways to hear Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.
QUESTION: What Christian themes did you find in KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? Let us know below.