Finding God in Narnia part 3
The Stone Table
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
January 1, 2006
Well, for the past
couple of weeks we’ve been talking about Finding God in Narnia. We’ve
been looking at The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the
Wardrobe – either the movie or the book – and we’ve been drawing out of
them some Christian themes that we can learn from. Two weeks ago we
look at one of the title characters… the Lion, Aslan… and we saw that
in the land of Narnia the lion represented Jesus. In Narnia, we’re told
that Aslan is on the move, and we discover that with him comes hope and
goodness and power and salvation. And it’s the same with Jesus… He is
also on the move and He brings hope and goodness and power and
salvation for each of us.
Last week, we focused in on the land of Narnia itself. As C.S. Lewis
describes in the book, Narnia is a land where it is always winter and
never Christmas. And so we talked about what it would be like if it
really were never Christmas. What if that first Christmas never
happened? What if Jesus had never come to earth as a baby? How would
this world be different? And the main thing we saw was that if Jesus
had never come, we would still be lost to our sinfulness. But He did
come, and He came to offer us freedom and new life and peace with God
and a second chance.
And during these past two weeks, I’ve done a pretty good job of not
spoiling the movie for you. Well, all that’s about to change. This
message this morning does contain spoilers. So if you’re planning on
seeing the movie or reading the book, and if you don’t want to know the
climax, then leave now or forever hold your peace. None of us will
think less of you or be offended. Well, we will, but we’ll get over it.
Let’s review. The story begins with four young children discovering a
wardrobe which is actually an entrance into another world… the world of
Narnia. Peter is the eldest, Susan is next, then Edmund, and little
Lucy. And shortly after the enter Narnia, they learn that the land is
under a curse. For 100 years, the White Witch Jadis has ruled the land,
and during that entire time it has been a cold, bleak place. It has
been a land where it is always winter, never Christmas. The land is
populated by talking animals and all sorts of mystical and mythical
creatures… some on the side of the evil Jadis, and some on the side of
Aslan. Aslan was the true king of the land, but had been absent for a
long time. But word has spread that “Aslan is on the move.” He is
returning, and when he arrives, all will be set right again.
But something terrible happens. Edmund betrays his brother and his
sisters. We’ll talk about how and why next week, but what you need to
know right now is that Edmund chooses to side with the White Witch, a
mistake which he recognizes is a mistake only too late. And he is
trapped by the White Witch. And the Witch uses Edmund against the
others. So it was up to the others to rescue him.
And so they do… kind of. Aslan sends his forces after the White Witch
and frees Edmund and brings him back to their camp. But there’s more to
it than that. Shortly after this happens, the White Witch comes to
Aslan’s camp to meet with him and demands that Edmund be returned to
her. Listen to what happened when they met…
“Have you forgotten
the Deep Magic?” asked the Witch.
“Let us say I have forgotten it,” answered Aslan gravely. “Tell us of
this Deep Magic.”
“Tell you?” said the Witch, her voice growing suddenly shriller. “Tell
you what is written on that very Table of Stone which stands beside us?
Tell you what is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the
fire-stones on the Secret Hill? Tell you what is engraved on the
scepter of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea? You at least know the Magic
which the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning. You know that
every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every
treachery I have a right to kill… And so that human creature is mine.
His life is forfeit to me. His blood is my property... unless I have
blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire
“It is very true,” said Aslan, “I do not deny it.”
And she was right. Not
even Aslan could ignore the Deep Magic. In Narnia, the Deep Magic
referred to spiritual laws or spiritual realities, and nothing could be
done to change them. They had to be honoured. Edmond, a son of Adam,
had betrayed his brother and sisters as well as Aslan. He was a
traitor, and because of a decree from the dawn of time, the White Witch
had rightful claim on any traitor. Edmund was her property.
We’ll get back to the story in a few minutes, but let’s talk about what
the Bible says about our Deep Magic… about our spiritual realities.
First, it tells us that we are all traitors against God.
Our Deep Magic (Spiritual Realities):
1. We are all
traitors against God.
Edmund turned his back
on his sisters and his brother and even Aslan, in order to selfishly
seek after his own pleasure and power and prestige. And they’re the
same reasons we turn away from God today. Adam and Eve first rebelled
against God because they believed the deception that they could become
gods themselves. And we’ve all inherited their rebellion. It’s what’s
called “original sin”… the sin of Adam and Eve passed down through
every generation. And even today, we continue to rebel against God
seeking our own power and pleasure and prestige. And none of us is
without fault. That’s why the Bible says…
Romans 3:23 (NLT)
For all have sinned; all fall short of God's
Underline “all”. We’ve all failed to meet up to God’s standards. Oh, I
may be a nice guy and you may be a good neighbour, but that doesn’t cut
it. God doesn’t grade on a curve. And for Him, any sin at all is too
much. So that one time you lashed out in anger… it tainted you. That
one time you disobeyed your parents… it tainted you. That one time you
lusted for someone you’re not married to… it tainted you. That one time
you were jealous of what someone else had… it tainted you. And you
might say, “Well, nobody’s perfect.” Exactly! Now you’re beginning to
understand. We all fall short of God’s expectations for our lives.
We’ve all failed Him… we’ve all betrayed Him.
Romans 3:10,20 (NLT)
As the Scriptures say, “No one is good—not
For no one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what his law
commands. For the more we know God's law, the clearer it becomes that
we aren't obeying it.
Now, in Narnia, what happened to Edmund because he betrayed the others?
He became captive to the White Witch who was ruling the land of Narnia
at the time. And because of our betrayal, we are captive to Satan, the
prince of this world.
2. Because of
our betrayal we are captive to Satan, the prince of this world.
Because of this
underlying current of sinfulness that flows throughout humanity, every
person born into this world belongs to Satan. We are all slaves to our
sin nature, and we’re powerless to do anything about it. As Paul wrote…
Romans 7:14,19,25 (NLT)
The trouble is not with the law but with me,
because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master…
When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do
In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful
nature I am a slave to sin.
Does that sound familiar? I’m sure that every one of us, if we were
honest, would have to say that describes us. At least, it describes us
without God. We really are powerless to overcome the forces of evil on
our own. We are slaves to them. We are captive to our evil desires. And
you know what that means? I’ll show you what that means…
1 John 3:8 (NLT)
But when people keep on sinning, it shows
they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning.
Edmund betrayed the others because he had met up with the White Witch
and she was able to deceive him and lure him in with false promises.
Satan used the same techniques with us. Listen to this description of
Revelation 12:9 (NLT)
This great dragon—the ancient serpent called
the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world…
He’s a deceiver. He lies and he manipulates you, and he gets you any
way he can.
3. A price must
be paid for our rebellion.
The White Witch was fast
to point out that, because of Edmund’s betrayal, there was a price to
be paid. And that price, according to the Deep Magic, was Edmund’s
life. His very blood now belonged to her. That was the penalty for his
betrayal. And it was a death sentence. And not even Aslan, the son of
the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, could veto it. The price had to be
paid, no exceptions.
The Bible also tells us that a price must be paid for our rebellion
against God. And that price is death. Because of our rebellion, we all
have earned the sentence of death.
Romans 6:23 (NLT)
For the wages of sin is death…
Hebrews 9:22 (NLT)
Without the shedding of blood, there is no
forgiveness of sins.
Now, here’s where we run into a bit of a dilemma. I mean, God’s a God
of love, right? Don’t we talk about how God is love? And if God is
love, wouldn’t He want to just wipe our slate clean and forget about
it? But there’s a problem with that logic. You see, God may be a God of
love, but He’s also a God of justice. David wrote about these dual
qualities of God way back in the Old Testament, in Psalm 101:1…
Psalm 101:1 (NLT)
I will sing of your love and justice.
So while God’s love calls for forgiveness, God’s justice screams for a
price to be paid.
As I’ve said before, Aslan is the image of Jesus in Narnia, so let’s
see how he handled this dilemma. The White Witch came to him demanding
that Edmund’s life be handed over to her. Edmund was a traitor, and so
his life legitimately belonged to her. That was justice, and Aslan
could not and would not refute that. So what did he do? He offered
himself in Edmund’s place. A price had to be paid for Edmund’s
betrayal, and he offered to pay that price. That’s how his love and
So as Aslan had arranged with the White Witch, he met her and her
minions at the Ston Table. And there he submitted himself to being
beaten, shaved, abused, insulted, and even killed. And he never
resisted, never put up a fight. And he did it all so Edmund could be
Jesus did the same for you and for me on the Cross. He paid the ransom
that was due. He served the penalty that we deserved. And He did it
4. Jesus was
sacrificed for our freedom.
Listen to this, from the
Old Testament book of Isaiah. (Not in PowerPoint.) These are words of
prophecy written about Jesus almost 700 years before He was even born…
Isaiah 53:4-9 (NLT)
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was
our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a
punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed
for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped,
and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have
left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt
and sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was
led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the
shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him
away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying
for their sins--that he was suffering their punishment? He had done no
wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man's grave.
Hebrews 2:14-15 (NLT)
Because God's children are human
beings--made of flesh and blood--Jesus also became flesh and blood by
being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and
only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power
of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all
their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
Jesus, even though He was completely sinless, took all our sinfulness
upon himself so that we could be set free. The only One in all of
history who could be exempt from that sentence of death chose instead
to willingly lay His life down so that by the shedding of His own
perfect, sinless blood He might pay the debt in full for all of us.
Colossians 2:13-14 (NLT)
You were dead because of your sins and
because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you
alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that
contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by
nailing it to Christ's cross.
A verse we looked at earlier proclaimed that “For all have sinned; all
fall short of God's glorious standard.” And that’s true. But
thankfully, the passage doesn’t stop there. The next verses go on to
Romans 3:24-28 (NLT)
Yet now God in his gracious kindness
declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has
freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the
punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are
made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood,
sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when
he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely
fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right
in his sight because they believe in Jesus.
Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God?
No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based
on our faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by
obeying the law.
It’s based on faith. Faith not in ourselves and what we can do, but
faith in Jesus Christ and what He has already done for us.
But there’s more to the story than that. Both stories. In Narnia, Aslan
was dead. Susan and Lucy had watched from a hiding place while Aslan
was tortured and killed on the Stone Table. After the White Witch and
all her minions had gone, they had rushed over to him to see if there
was any hope. But there was none. He was indeed dead, and there was
nothing else to do. They stayed there that night, beside the body of
And then, the next morning, they reluctantly decided it was time to
leave. They had to go and tell the others what had happened. But as
they began to walk away, listen to what happened…
At that moment they
heard from behind them a loud noise — a great cracking, deafening noise
as if a giant had broken a giant’s plate.... The Stone Table was broken
into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and
there was no Aslan.
“Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice from behind their backs. “It is more magic.”
They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had
seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again)
stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much
frightened as they were glad....
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic,
there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge
goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a
little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time
dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would
have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery
was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself
would start working backward.”
Aslan had conquered
Death, and Death itself began to work backwards.
That’s not a bad summary of what Jesus did. He was killed on the Cross,
yes, and at the time of His death something broke in two, also. In the
Temple in Jerusalem, there hung a huge curtain. And it separated the
rest of the Temple from the Holy of Holies, the place where God dwelt.
Only one man, the High Priest, one time a year could enter that room.
But when Jesus died, the curtain ripped from top to bottom, right down
the middle. Access to God was no longer reserved for a select few. The
veil was removed. And it was torn from top to bottom… it started at
God’s end. He Himself removed the barrier.
And then on the morning of the third day, just at Sunrise, Jesus rose
again. And in so doing, He conquered death and death started working
overcame Satan and death for all time.
That’s what being born
again means. It means that you are given a new life that is no longer
subject to death. Sure, you still die physically, but you will be
resurrected. If you have sided with Jesus, then you will live forever.
And if you have not sided with Jesus, then He invites you into His
camp. You can change sides, even today. Just like Edmund, you can have
the penalty paid for all the wrongs you have ever done, great or small,
you can be made right before God. And you can live forever. That’s the
promise of God. Death will work backwards.
We read earlier from Romans 6:23. They first part of the verse said…
Romans 6:23 (NLT)
For the wages of sin is death...
But it goes on to say…
...but the free gift of God is eternal life
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Check out what it says a couple of chapters later…
Romans 8:1-4 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those
who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has
freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to
death. The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful
nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent
his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God
destroyed sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for
our sins. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully
accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead
follow the Spirit.
In Narnia, would the White Witch have done what she did if she knew of
the Deeper Magic? Probably not. Would Satan have conspired to kill
Jesus if he had know he would lose his grip on death? Probably not.
Paul writes about this…
1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (NLT)
No, the wisdom we speak of is the secret
wisdom of God, which was hidden in former times, though he made it for
our benefit before the world began. But the rulers of this world have
not understood it; if they had, they would never have crucified our
Back to Narnia…
Then with a roar that
shook all Narnia from the Western lamppost to the shores of the Eastern
sea the great beast flung himself upon the White Witch. Lucy saw her
face lifted towards him for one second with an expression of terror and
With one mighty leap the
resurrected Aslan crushes the Witch.
And that was that. The White Witch was gone. So Aslan defeated death,
and then went on to defeat the White Witch, once and for all. Jesus has
conquered death and has defeated Satan, once and for all. The victory
never has to be won again.
Hebrews 9:26 (NLT)
He came once for all time, at the end of the
age, to remove the power of sin forever by his sacrificial death for
Less than one month before he died in 1963, C. S. Lewis wrote a letter
to a young girl who wanted to know if any other Narnia books were going
to be produced. And this letter that Lewis wrote became a fitting
farewell to all of his devoted readers. He wrote…
Many thanks for your kind letter, and it was very good of you to write
and tell me that you like my books; and what a very good letter you
write for your age!
If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you, and
I hope that you may always do so. I’m so thankful that you realized the
"hidden story" in the Narnia books. It is odd, children nearly always
do, grown-ups…hardly ever.
I’m afraid the Narnia series has come to an end, and am sorry to tell
you that you can expect no more.
God bless you.
Perhaps there were no
other Narnia books to be written because it was the end of the story.
Just like Jesus has conquered death and Satan for all time, end of
This morning, as we celebrate a New Year, we’re also going to celebrate
New Life! We’re going to finish by going not to a Stone Table, but to
the Lord’s Table. We’re going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together.
This is a sacred rite which Jesus Himself set in place.
It recognizes that there is One who worked the Deeper Magic and
provided your release. An Innocent Victim stood in your place. He broke
the Table of Stone, crushed your captor’s power and now offers you life
in His Celestial Kingdom.
The grape juice which we use here represents the blood of Jesus that
was shed in your place. The bread represents the body of Jesus which
was pierced and broken and nailed to the cross for you.