The Matrix as Messiah Movie

The Matrix - A Cyberpunk Parable?

IV. THE MATRIX AS MESSIAH MOVIE
(Neo allegorized as Messiah figure)

C. Allegory of Neo as a Christ Figure

Part 1: The birth and early ministry of Christ

  • The Matrix, which contains a death and resurrection scene, was released near Easter of 1999. From a business standpoint, this April release date avoided box office competition with the May 1999 release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but the timing was interesting nonetheless.

  • At the beginning of the film, Cypher says, "We're going to kill him, do you understand that?" It is the sin of humanity that caused Jesus to have to die on the cross.

  • Also at the beginning, Trinity says, "Morpheus believes he is the one." Cypher responds, "Do you?" During the film, Trinity must decide who she believes Neo is. Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" "The Christ," answers Peter (Matthew 16:15), just as Trinity will later answer "Yes" to Cypher during the betrayal scene.

  • In Neo's apartment, Choi says, "Hallelujah. You're my savior, man. My own personal Jesus Christ." This heavy-handed giveaway alerts the casual viewer to look for Messianic parallels.

  • Neo warns Choi not to let people know about how he helped him. Choi responds, "Yeah, I know. This never happened. You don't exist." This reflects the warnings of Jesus in his early ministry on earth, as he did not want to be the center of a public frenzy. For example, Jesus gave sight to some blind men, but warned them not to tell people (Matthew 9:30). Jesus also warned His disciples early in His ministry to keep silent for a time about Him being the Christ (Matthew 16:20), but later commanded them to tell it worldwide (Matthew 28:18-20).

  • Agent Smith tempts Neo to obey them and turn against Morpheus. Satan also tempted Jesus to obey him instead of God. (Luke 4:7). (Of course, Jesus was victorious in this trial, unlike Neo who was tortured and 'bugged'.) There is another scene with Cypher that might be paralleled to Satan's temptation of Christ. Cypher has a goatee to trigger cultural notions of the Satan caricature. Cypher also wears snakeskin later, reminiscent of the tempting serpent in the Garden of Eden, or Satan as the 'dragon' in Revelation 12:9. (Using Cypher as both a Satan and a Judas figure fits well in that Satan himself entered Judas in Luke 22:3!). Cypher tells Neo in a devilish way, "So you're here to save the world? What do you say to something like that? A little piece of advice...Run!" Satan similarly tried to discourage Jesus by saying in effect, "You don't have to suffer; make stones into bread and stop suffering! My advice is to run away from the suffering of the cross to save the world! Just take the easy way out and worship me instead, and I'll give you the fallen world I own."

  • Morpheus tells Neo on the phone, "I've spent my entire life looking for you." Morpheus can represent not only John the Baptist here (John was ordained from birth to be forerunner of Christ - Luke chapter 1 and John 1:23), but also Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38), and the prophets of the old testament (1 Peter 1:10). He can represent all people who believed in the promised Messiah and awaited Him eagerly.

  • When he meets Morpheus, Neo says, "It's an honor to meet you." "No," corrects Morpheus. "The honor is mine." We can play Morpheus as a John the Baptist figure here. John said he was not worthy to untie the sandals of Christ (John 1:17). Later, Christ asked John to baptize Him, but John responded in honor, "I have need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me?" (Matthew 3:14).

  • The Oracle foretold the coming of the One, saying that "his coming would hail the destruction of the Matrix and the war, bring freedom to our people." If we allegorize the Oracle as the scriptures, the Bible many times prophesied that Jesus would come first to make a way of salvation, then come again in glory and victory. He will then destroy the fallen world system [Matrix], throwing Satan and the demons into hell along with unbelievers [end the war], and establish a perfect paradise for those who love God ['our' people; the people of Zion].

  • Neo experiences a 'virgin birth' metaphor of sorts. He wakes up in a womb-like pod, with 'umbilical' cables in his body. Neo is hairless and weak, like a baby. Covered in 'afterbirth' slime, he is 'delivered' down a watery tube. To parallel, Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary, who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit of God to miraculously cause her pregnancy with the Messiah.

  • Tank is excited to see what Neo is capable of, saying that it is an "exciting time!" This parallels the excitement of those who realized that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of God. Peter expressed similar excitement when Jesus appeared briefly in glory during the mountaintop transfiguration (Matthew 17). The elderly Simeon praised God when he first held the baby Jesus, saying, "Lord...my eyes have seen your salvation." (Luke 2:28).

  • The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar gathers around Neo, wondering if he is the 'one'. Morpheus believes. Others are skeptical, and Cypher does not believe. Jesus also had disciples who went through varying stages of belief. Peter trusted. Thomas doubted for a while but believed later, and Judas never believed.

  • Two members of the crew are brothers named Tank and Dozer. In his group of disciples, Jesus also had pairs of brothers (James and John, Peter and Andrew).

Neo eats dinner with Mouse, a small man. Jesus once stayed at the house of a very short man named Zacchaeus, who became a believer (but Zacchaeus did not tempt Jesus like Mouse tempted Neo!).

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