STAR WARS EPISODE V: Faith and Heart | FCC 67

In the film Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker travels to the planet of Dagobah to train with the Jedi Master Yoda. In these few scenes, wise Yoda instructs young Luke in the ways of the Force, and from that, we discuss the Christian themes of faith and the reflections of the heart.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:03:40 Star Wars Episode V Discussion 
  • 01:05:00 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
  • 01:21:40 – Reel News
  • 01:25:00 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 01:39:00 – Lightning Round
  • 01:44:15 – Upcoming

O Luke of Little Faith

Yoda makes it look easy, but being a Jedi by submitting fully to the Force proves too much for young Luke. Balancing his master with a handstand while stacking some rocks without touching them seems to be all that Luke can handle; so, when the X-Wing sinks into the swamp, Luke fears that it cannot be lifted out.

Yoda then suggests that Luke use the Force to redeem his ship. Luke tries, but he loses hope when the only thing that surfaces is a bunch of bubbles. As Luke wallows in his self-pity, Yoda takes the opportunity to explain the Force from a different point of view to Luke. But even as clearly and as eloquently as Yoda puts it, Luke is still despondent and even goes as far as to say that the situation is impossible.

Yoda then stands up, walks over to the bog, outstretches his green hand, and indeed lifts via the Force the vessel out of the swamp. He then moves it over to where Luke is sulking and forces Luke to get out of the way. After Luke confirms the event by feeling his way around the ship, he conceits that he doesn’t believe what he has just seen. And Yoda, in his wisdom, regarding Luke’s unbelief, retorts, “And that is why you fail.”

This image from STAR WARS EPISODE V shows Yoda sitting with Luke Skywalker.

In this scene, Yoda can be understood to be like Jesus in the passage of Mattew 17:14-21. A man has come to Jesus asking him to heal his sick son. He came to Jesus specifically because Jesus’ disciples could not do the job, and the man was starting to panic. Jesus heals the boy, though, and when the disciples ask Him why they couldn’t do it, He responds thusly:

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (KJV)

Just as Luke was unable to move the X-Wing out of the swamp because he didn’t believe in the Force, so it was with the disciples in this story who did not have the faith of a mustard seed and could not help the man’s son. Furthermore, so it is with us when we can’t do great things because we don’t have faith in God.


Luke’s Reflection in the Cave

After a couple of those famously wonky transitions, the film returns to Dagobah to find Luke and Yoda still training in the swampland. Yoda has moved on from the parlor tricks and is now piggy-backing on Luke as the latter runs, jumps, and swings in the forest. Yoda then takes this opportunity to explain the Dark Side of the Force, and when Luke begins probing for things Yoda deems too high for Luke to grasp, so Yoda ends his wisdom for the day.

But then Luke happens upon a cave that feels “cold,” Yoda explains that it is a place strong with the Dark Side and calls it a “domain of evil.” Curious Luke wants to go exploring and asks Yoda what’s in the cave, and Yoda responds with, “Only what you take with you.”

Luke enters the cave, and after a few groggy steps, he encounters what looks like Darth Vader. The two duke it out lightsaber style, and Luke ultimately decapitates his opponent. But as the head rolls to the ground, the helmet explodes to reveal not an unmasked Darth Vader but a defeated Luke Skywalker.

This image from STAR WARS EPISODE V shows Luke Skywalker's head in the Darth Vader helmet.

One could easily point to how this scene illustrates the theological idea of Depravity – that everyone has the capacity to miss the mark and give way to the Dark Side. But what counters that wickedness is making the choice to try to save the lives of those in peril. For Luke, this meant leaving his Jedi training (much to the dismay of Yoda and Obi-Wan) and saving them from danger.

Just as Luke looked upon on his own face in the Vader helmet and knew that he could very well indeed turn to the Darth Side, he also saw that he could defeat such temptation and go on to do the right thing. This echoes what we read in the Book of Proverbs:

As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person.

Luke saw his evil reflection but made the choice to not follow it and instead followed his own inclination of what was right – saving his friends – and that kind of discernment can only come from a heart that is full of the Holy Spirit.


Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is a graduate student pursuing his Master in Theatre Arts degree with Regent University. He is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. You can find him live-tweeting his favorite movies on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever or posting poetry and unsolicited opinions at thebookofbrenden.com
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  • Philip Heard

    Hey guys, these Star Wars episodes have been some good summer fun! One thing I get from The Empire Strikes Back is how Lando could have ended up like Cain, but chose to do the right thing. When we do bad things they can snowball and lead us down a road of even more destructive behavior. After killing his brother Abel, Cain was confronted by God and responded with concern for the consequences he would have to face rather than regret over his sin. Genesis 4:13-14(NKJV) And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” Lando was indeed in a tough situation, and he easily could have just saved himself after betraying Han and company. However, he decided to try to make up for some of his past behavior and saved Leia, Chewbacca, and C3PO as well, and then went back for Luke. Lando is a good example that no matter how bad we mess up, we don’t have to continue on that path- we can repent and make restitution as best we can. That feels like a bit of a stretch, but it’s the best I came up with. You guys really do make this look easy!

    Lastly, I literally like it a lot that Ron’s voice mail took a couple of pot shots at you guys. He was like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, the shots were there- and he took them!

    Thanks for the show! #muhweeladgimli

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