I think it’s a “find theological themes in pop-culture” week here at the Chi Files. “Spider-Man”, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, and now “Aladdin”. Check it out: I’ve been pondering the following clip for a while. It’s the scene in the movie where the villain, Jafar, makes a wish to become an “all-powerful genie”. Let’s see what happens.
Essentially, in the movie what happened was that Jafar got the power (he became a genie), but he also got the limitations (bondage and an “itty-bitty living space”) as a package deal. Hence the heroes win the victory.
Theologically, this scene is packed.
First, consider what was said in this post from a few days back:
Whenever authority or power is given in creation anywhere, it’s not given for the sake of the one in power and authority – it’s given for the sake of the one under the one in power and authority. Parents are not given power over the children for the parents’ sake – it’s for the child’s sake. When man is given authority over his wife, it’s not for his sake – it’s for her sake.
– Rev. Jonathan Fisk
Jafar gets the power he wanted – all of it. Problem for him was, he didn’t understand the purpose of power: to serve. In the words of Christ:
“…whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– Matthew 20:26-28
Jafar’s surprise is evident as his wrists are shackled, a visible reminder of the life of service he will now lead. He thought he could have the control and authority he coveted without strings attached, but he was mistaken.
He wanted to be first… and he got his wish.