In my discussion here, I’m not going to be discussing the signs of the human condition prevalent in every single Zelda game. I’m just going to talk about the one that was huge in my own childhood, which is Ocarina of Time. The game starts off with Link’s fairy, Navi, waking him up and telling him he needs to go see the Great Deku Tree. As the Great Deku Tree tells you of the great evil about to come through a man named Ganondorf, you learn of your purpose to fight this evil. So, you venture off into the world, all by yourself, to prepare to fight against this evil and destroy it. Upon your first encounter with Ganondorf, Zelda is fleeing with her protector and Ganondorf follows after her. You try to stop him, failing to do so; but you don’t give up. You make it your life’s mission to save Zelda from Ganondorf. However, as you’re preparing to save Zelda, you discover it’s not just Zelda who needs saving from Ganondorf, but the entire world. So you wield the Master Sword and the Hyrule Shield to prepare to fight this great evil.
Running Off into Battle
The Ocarina of Time is indicative of the human condition, particularly in Christians, who go off into the world to face evil.
When someone “gets saved,” they are excited to tell other Christians about their salvation. They run up to you and say, “I just got saved!” Others can say, “I got saved on April 17, 2007.” That’s great and all, but you got saved over 2,000 years ago on a Friday at 3:00 when Jesus died on the cross for your sins! Now, Jesus calls you through the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a).
After receiving faith in Jesus, we often become excited about this faith and run out into the world to tell people about it…all by ourselves. This is our first mistake—going out alone. I don’t want to downplay those who’ve gone out by themselves, shared the Gospel with a friend in private, and helped lead them to salvation. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, when we go out into the world, I think it’d be wise and more beneficial to go out with a team. There is a lot in Jesus’ wisdom when He sent out the 72 disciples in groups of twos (Luke 10:1). (Some translations say He sent 70 disciples. Were there 70 or 72 disciples? Let me ask you this: does it matter? Does the number of disciples matter, or does it matter Jesus sent them, and a lot of them?) Why would Jesus send them in groups of twos? It’s quite simple, really. A group of two people are able to rely on each other for comfort and encouragement, and they can tag-team the Gospel message to make it even more profound. It’s one thing when someone goes out by themselves to preach the Gospel, but why should I believe that one person? When two people (or more) have the same message and testimony, it makes the message all that more profound and convincing.
Now, some of you may have evangelized in the streets by yourself and experienced success. Good for you! That’s great! However, wouldn’t it be so much easier and encouraging to go with someone else? In contrast, some of us may have attempted evangelism by ourselves, and some of us may have experienced failure. But it’s not over. (By the way, evangelism in its proper use is sharing the Gospel with those we’re already in relationship with. It’s not required you go out into the streets and evangelize that way.)
When Jesus sent out the 72 disciples, He said, “But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless, know this, that the kingdom of God has come near'” (Luke 10:10-11). The apostles did what Jesus said in this matter on their missionary journeys (Acts 13:50-51). It is not our responsibility when people reject Christ and the grace He offers. When we proclaim the Gospel, we often take it personally when people indefatigably refuse to receive Christ’s gift of grace, and we think it’s our fault. We think to ourselves, “Did I say something wrong? What could I have done to do more?” There’s nothing you could’ve said or done to make them believe! Their salvation is not up to us. Their salvation is up to the Father. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).
Their salvation does not depend on the eloquence of your words and neither does it depend on them doing the right things. Their salvation depends on the Father who draws them near. God draws all of us near to Him, but the only decision we make is when we reject Him. The Holy Spirit gently breaks the ice of your inner being, but He’s very easy to resist. So, when people refuse the gift of Christ and reject Him, go on your merry way. You’ve planted the seed; let someone else water it. “I [Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). However, as you let them be in their faithlessness, continue to pray for them.
Trying to Save the World
As Link’s original mission was to save Zelda, he realized it’s the world that needs saving from Ganondorf’s evil. After the Fall of Man, God knew the world needed to be saved. He didn’t make a plan to save only Adam and Eve, but all mankind. So, He sent His Son into the world to die for its sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17). The gift of faith offered through Christ’s death and resurrection is known as the universal offer.
This is different from the heresy of universalism, which purports all people are saved whether they have faith or not. But that’s not what the Word says. It says whoever believes in Him will not perish but inherit eternal life. Not all will believe. Rather, Christ offers the gift of eternal life to all, but all have the option to reject this gift. Through Christ’s death, the wages of sin have been bought for all (cf. Romans 6:23). Jesus “gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6)—He paid the ultimate price for all our sins. That gift He bought with His life only becomes deposited into our account if we believe. This deposit is our inheritance from Christ. “Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15).
As Christians who are enthusiastic for the Lord and to preach the Gospel, we sometimes grow a savior complex ourselves. We take it upon ourselves to save the world. We already have a Savior, folks; stop trying to be one yourselves. Jesus already died for the sins of the world. Yes, go out as a servant of Christ’s commission to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them what Jesus has taught us, and be enthusiastic about it! However, in the process of all that, don’t try to save the world while you’re at it. You can’t save the world. Not all people will be saved. We don’t know who will be saved, even if at first someone we witness to rejects Christ; they could believe two years from now, or even thirty years from now. We don’t know if they’ll believe, but God does, so He continues to send people into their lives to water the seed as they witness. God continues to draw all people near to Him, even those who end up rejecting Him their entire lives. God’s desire is that they come to know Him. “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23).
This analogy of Link saving the world and Jesus saving the world is an imperfect analogy, as all analogies of Christ are imperfect. Link succeeds in saving the world, and all are saved; Jesus died for the sins of the world, but not all will be saved. That’s where the analogy is imperfect. Nevertheless, we must remember as we witness that the victory has already been won in Christ. Jesus already defeated evil on the cross; it is only a matter of time until that victory is officially culminated at His return. So as you go out into the world to proclaim the Gospel, try not to develop a savior complex because their salvation is not your responsibility. Plant the seed, and if at first it isn’t fruitful, leave and allow someone else to water it.
Wield the Master Sword of God’s Word and the Holy Shield of Faith
As Zelda fans know, Link wields the Master Sword to destroy evil as well as the Hyrulian Shield to fend off strong attacks. If you predicted that I was going to compare Ganondorf to Satan, you were right. Ganondorf is the top evil figure in Ocarina of Time, and he sends evil creatures into the world to do his bidding. In the same way, Scripture speaks of Satan as being the god or ruler of this world. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Also, Jesus said, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on Me, but I do as the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love the Father” (John 14:30-31). Satan rules this world and sends out his demons to do his bidding.
Christ is still King of this world; He reigns over it. Satan is the “god of this world” in that he has the major influence in peoples’ morals and thoughts. If you’ve been watching the news for the past year or so and have been paying attention to politics, this is obvious. Satan’s influence invades philosophies, education, politics, and creates a myriad of false religions. This does not mean, however, that God is somehow powerless. It means God allows Satan to operate within the boundaries He sets for him (we see this especially in Job’s life). Scripture says Satan is the ruler of this world, but God only gives him dominion over unbelievers. Christians are no longer under the dominion of Satan: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Christ is King, and Satan is merely a ruler. Think of the ancient Roman Empire. In Jesus’ time, Tiberius Caesar Augustus was Emperor. Underneath him were tetrarchs, or governors, like Herod in Jesus’ childhood who were given domain over a certain area but had certain boundaries of authority set by the Emperor. God is King of Heaven and Earth, and Satan only has dominion over the unbelievers.
This doesn’t mean, however, that Satan doesn’t try to cause Christians to fall away from the faith. He can make his attempts, but he doesn’t rule over us. God rules over us. Nevertheless, Satan can try to persuade us. Any time we think of something along the lines of, “Did God really say…” is when Satan is trying to deceive us. After all, it worked so well with Adam and Eve. If you read my article on DOOMabout the signs of the human condition that game portrays, you would’ve read in detail about every piece of the armor of God. I’m not going to go over all of them, but I will re-emphasize some points.
Link took up the Hyrulian Shield. Let us take up the Holy Shield of Faith. Faith is a powerful thing. In fact, it is so powerful it can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Obviously, Jesus wasn’t talking about actual mountains. Rather, His point was faith can do enormous things. Ephesians 2:8-9says we are saved by grace through faith. Consider that for a moment. By the grace of God, through the gift of faith He gives us, we are saved. By believing in God—by faith—we are saved. Isn’t it a miraculous thing that just having faith saves us?
Humans are inclined to think we have to do things in order to be saved and to be justified. In contrast, God says something entirely different. Rather, we are saved through faith by His grace and we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1). We don’t have to do anything except receive this gift of faith. “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). The Holy Spirit gives us faith and it is only because of the conversion He works in us that we are able to say, “Yes, Jesus, I accept Your gift. You are my Lord and Savior.” Without this grace of the Holy Spirit, we cannot make such a confession. It is not we who create faith, but the Holy Spirit who creates faith in us. This thing that can be as small as a mustard seed saves us merely because of the grace of Christ. What an amazing thing!
A mustard seed in comparison to the tree it grows into.
This faith is so powerful it can deflect the attacks of Satan. How can this be? How can the one thing Satan wishes to cripple and destroy be so strong as to deflect his attacks designed to destroy it? It is by faith that we believe the Word of God. Link took up the Master Sword to destroy evil. Let us take up the Master Sword of God’s Word to destroy Satan’s evil. Jesus uses God’s Word during His temptation in the wilderness against Satan to fight him. Guess what? Jesus won.
Even though Satan twists God’s Word for his own purposes, he ultimately cannot withstand God’s Word. Satan twisted God’s Word to the first Adam, and he was deceived through his wife. Satan twisted God’s Word to Christ, the second Adam, and He refuted Satan with God’s Word. When Satan says you’re unworthy or unlovable and aren’t forgiven, say this: “Get behind me, Satan! I have been baptized into Christ and adopted as a son/daughter of God. By this, the Holy Spirit dwells within me. I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. Nothing you do can harm me. It is because of God’s love that I am baptized and forgiven. Therefore, go, for you are weak against my Lord Jesus Christ who lives within me!” I guarantee you, He will flee (see James 4:7).
We can use the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit to fight on the behalf of others as well. What do you think you’re doing when you comfort a believer, or even an unbeliever, with the Word of God? You are using His sword by faith to defeat the evil attacking them. By faith, you are defending them. By speaking God’s Word into their lives, you are fighting for them. And it is by faith that Jesus Christ, who is the Word, dwells in them and gives them the power to fight the evil that wishes to destroy them.
What happens at the end of Ocarina of Time? Peace happens. Link saves Hyrule, and they experience peace. In the same way, when we receive salvation from Christ, we experience His peace. I want to share an excerpt from my personal blog called The Writeous Christian. I wrote a series called “Rooted in the Faith” based on the fruit of the Spirit. Here’s the excerpt from Rooted in the Faith: Peace:
Peace is the common goal for all humanity. Mankind desires world peace. But when we examine history we find the more we strive for peace, the further we’re driven away from it. Why is this? Well, because the entire world is corrupted by sin. As long as sin abounds, world peace is impossible. Some look to Jesus as a great teacher and even erroneously believe He came to bring peace to the world, but He didn’t promise us world peace. He said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). Jesus did not promise to bring world peace; He promised to give us His peace, which comes not from this world. He also said elsewhere that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), so if His peace isn’t of this world, perhaps they both come from the same place—God the Father in Heaven.
Perhaps God would say, “Carry on, My wayward son.” 😉
What does Jesus mean when He says He gives us His peace? What does this peace feel like? I can only tell you how I feel His peace from my personal faith. As the world is getting darker and darker and continues to fall to pieces, I experience His peace because of the assurance of reconciliation I have through Christ.
This world may be falling apart, and persecution may be rising, but I have peace knowing I will see my Father in Heaven. When I’m stressed, whether it’s from school or work, I experience His peace when I stop what I’m doing and pray for His comfort and peace. He gives me a sense of calmness and by this, He gives me the strength to carry on. I experience His peace at church when I receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins, and just from being around my brothers and sisters in Christ (cf. Matthew 18:20).
I experience His peace when I remember my baptism, remembering that by this I am sealed in the family of God through the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. These are just some ways I experience His peace. This peace is not something we can receive from the world. The world strives for political, military, and economic peace even though they use means that make this impossible. Their efforts become a colossal failure. Christ, however, promises us and gives us spiritual peace—the peace of reconciliation, comfort, and forgiveness.
You might experience His peace in different ways, and please feel free to share in the comments how you experience His peace. I would love to hear about it and learn from your relationship with Christ. Let us praise God that we are not alone—that we have brothers and sisters in Christ in whom we can grow in relationship with to spread the Gospel message. Let us praise God for the victory we have in Christ. Let us praise God for the gift of His Word and faith, the faith which saves us and the Word that fights for us. Let us praise God for the peace we receive through Christ. I want to leave you all with the benediction from Numbers 6:24-26:
The LORD bless you and keep you.
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Garrick Sinclair "Ricky" Beckett first started his Christian writing on a blog titled "The Lutheran Column" where he hires proficient Lutheran writers to convey biblical truth. Along with the blog, he also writes poetry, string quartets in music composition, enjoys doing photography, reading, and playing video games. Ricky is a graduate from Concordia University-Ann Arbor from the Pre-Seminary program with a major in Christian Thought and a minor in Theological Languages. Currently, Ricky is a seminarian at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis as he works on his Masters of Divinity to become a pastor in the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod).
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