On this episode of Finding Christ In Cinema, we follow Morpheus down the rabbit hole and discuss Christian themes in THE MATRIX. How is God revealed through Morpheus? Is he more of a Christ-figure than Neo? All that and more in 3…2…1!
Enter the world of the Matrix: a world in which computers and artificial intelligence rule over (and consume energy from) the human race. And our protagonist Neo gets caught in the middle when he receives (via FedEx delivery) a phone call from the reputed master hacker Morpheus urging him to run from his cubicle for fear of his life. Everything after this point…well, you know.
Just a note on the movie’s timing in our non-Matrixal reality (if such a thing exists): it was released into theaters in 1999. It was on the brink of the millennium, Y2K hysteria was rampant, and philosophical/cultural shifts were happening everywhere – especially in film. If anything could better indicate this shift, keep in mind that The Matrix also shares this release year with the cerebral thriller Fight Club.
Is Morpheus a Better Christ-Figure Than Neo?
In our covering of The Matrix, we focus heavily on Morpheus. I personally didn’t see him as anything more than a John-the-Baptist-type character who made straight paths for the One, Neo – who I always regarded as the Christ-figure in the film.
However, Michael brings up a solid argument that supports the case that Morpheus may be more of a Christ-figure than Neo.
To begin with, Morpheus has been looking for Neo for a long time. Ever since he had been freed (more on that later) from the Matrix, Morpheus has been searching for the One who can liberate the entire human race from that same prison.
Doesn’t this sound an awful lot like Jesus when he meets a wee little man named Zacchaeus? Isn’t it reminiscent of how Jesus, who had been looking for this vertically challenged tax collector, calls to him after finding him atop the sycamore tree?
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19:5)
It’s almost like Jesus has had an appointment with Zacchaeus since the beginning of time, much like how Morpheus has had an appointment with Neo. Jesus was destined to meet Zacchaeus, and Morpheus was destined to meet Neo.
Of course, once Jesus and Zacchaeus have their meeting and the latter has his change of heart, Jesus proclaims:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Save from what, exactly? From the slavery, the chains, and the bondage of sin and death and AI.
Of course, the Powers That Be (whether it’s the Matrix or death itself) require sacrifice. Just as Jesus had to suffer to free us from the fetters of sin, Morpheus had to suffer (and was willing to go all the way) to free Neo from the neurologically electric lies of Matrix.
Morpheus even says it himself as he tries to explain the nature of the beast to Neo:
MORPHEUS: It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
NEO: What truth?
MORPHEUS: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or or see or touch. A prison for your mind.
Jesus, of course, sets it right in John 8:32:
“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
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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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