Have you ever wondered why we humans are attracted to disaster movies? Whether it’s an alien space invasion, earthquake, fire or zombies, the more intense the impending catastrophe, the more we seem to enjoy the thrills and chills. But is it actually the catastrophes we’re attracted to? Or is it the selfless heroes striving against all odds to save others that keep us coming back for more?
The latest rendition of this tried and true formula for grabbing eyeballs on the big screen comes in the form of Skycraper. The self-sacrificing hero at the center of this particular catastrophe is Will Sawyer, played by Dwayne Johnson. A former war veteran and FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader, Sawyer is no stranger to danger. But when he takes on the job of assessing security for the tallest building in the world, he soon finds that he’s jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. The Hong Kong skyscraper he’s been hired do a security assessment on is suddenly ablaze—with his loved ones trapped inside above the fire line. And he’s been framed for the crime.
But wait a minute…as a Gospel Advancing Ministry youth leader, perhaps this plot line calls to mind another self-sacrificing hero with hostage rescuing credentials who willingly laid down His life in order to save His loved ones from a fiery inferno. Another rescuer who was also treated like a criminal.
So why not explore some of the parallels between the movie Skyscraper and the story of the gospel? Then encourage your students to talk to their friends about the greatest rescue of all time. Here are a few talking points you can use…
The Evil One is on a mission to steal, kill and destroy.
The bad guys in Skyscraper are determined to destroy Will Sawyer and his loved ones for their own evil purposes. In the spiritual realm, Jesus told in John 10:10 that the Evil One has a similar agenda. Many Christians are squeamish about talking about Satan and hell. There’s no getting around the reality that they ARE uncomfortable topics. But Scripture is clear, and we should be too. We live in the midst of a cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil (Ephesians 6:12).
Against the believer, Satan and his minions are on a mission to steal, kill and destroy—our reputations, our relationships and our relevance. He’s an expert at distorting God’s truth, deceiving us with his lies, distracting us from our God-given purpose and discouraging us from living a life on mission for the glory of God.
For example, we can see the Evil One’s deceptions on display in the area of human sexuality. He takes God’s original blueprint for sexuality and distorts it with his lies about the lure of lust, porn, same sex attraction and sex outside of marriage. Or consider our God-given appreciation for beauty. The Evil One is hard at work distorting beauty by turning it into an obsession with outward appearance and deceiving us with the lie that our value and self-image are determined by our physical appearance.
But against the non-believer, the stakes are even higher. The Evil One’s mission to steal, kill and destroy has eternal consequences. His goal is to keep them trapped in spiritual darkness. Here’s how the Apostle describes it:
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
Jesus came to rescue us.
In Skyscraper, Will Sawyer will stop at nothing to rescue his loved ones. No matter the cost, he’s all-in—to the point of laying down his life, if that’s what it takes. And that’s how Jesus felt about us. No matter the cost, He was all-in! And the cost to Him was great indeed. Philippians 2:6-8 describes it like this:
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Yet, despite all that Jesus surrendered, and the suffering and humiliation it cost Him, His love for us was so great that He endured the cross in order to pay the price for our sins and make a way of escape for us. Escape is now possible from both the penalty of sin (John 3:16) and the power of sin (Romans 6:6).
Every believer has a part to play in showing others the way of escape.
Sawyer is the hero on the rescue mission in Skyscraper. But as believers, we’re part of a Rescue Team, too! Whether we’re three or a hundred and three, God has called us to “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire” (Jude 1:22-23, NIV). We have a role to play in sharing the good news that Jesus the Rescuer has come and made a way of escape for every single person who is willing to put their trust in Him.
This is both an awesome and a fearsome responsibility. Here’s how Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 5:11, 18-20.
Try This! ❯
Give your students time to practice explaining the gospel to a non-believer. Coach them on how to take a question like “Would you willingly lay your life down for someone else?” and turning it into a conversation about Jesus.
Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others… God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
So do some role-playing in your youth group this week where one student is a believer and the other is a non-believer. Practice explaining the gospel to a non-believer by taking a conversation starting question like “Would you willingly lay your life down for someone else? Who? Friends, family, strangers? Why or why not?” and turning it into a conversation about Jesus. For help with this, check out the video “A 4 Minute Crash Course in Sharing Your Faith.”
Deep down inside each of us, it may very well be that it’s the echo of Christ our Savior that explains the draw we feel toward disaster/rescue movies—the echo of the greatest story ever told, the gospel.
Let’s get our teenagers telling everyone they know about God’s escape plan!
Deep down inside each of us, it may very well be that it’s the echo of Christ our Savior that explains the draw we feel toward disaster/rescue movies—the echo of the greatest story ever told, the gospel. Click To Tweet
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