The King of Cool in The Great Escape
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).”
I love movies, especially if it’s based on a true story. A favorite is the Oscar winning “Papillon”with Steve McQueen as Henri Charriere, a convicted murderer who wrote about his imprisonment in French Guiana’s penal colonies. Papillon (butterfly in French and Henri’s nickname from his tattoo) spent 14 years there and escaped eight times.
The real Papillon
My favorite scene is when Papillon escapes and tries to get a boat from a leper colony. The leper leader is reluctant to help an outsider and tests Steve, who cannot bear to look at his disfigured face.
“Why don’t you have the courtesy to look at me when you speak?” he asks.
Papillon raises his eyes to see a horrific face sucking on a cigar.
“Do you like cigars?”
“When I can get ‘em,” Papillon says.
“Try this one.”
The leper offers his gooey cigar and Steve puffs on it, and then hands it back.
“How did you know I have dry leprosy, and it isn’t contagious?”
McQueen replies, “I didn’t.”
On set for Papillon
This scene is the quintessential example of genuine faith. Steve acts on his belief. It isn’t head knowledge or something he just says he believes. He does it. Papillon steps out in faith and tugs on a gooey cigar that had just been on those rotting lips. He took a chance and acted on his belief that freedom was worth the risk of leprosy. Real faith, a real saving-eternal faith, is like that. It involves action. If your faith in Jesus is genuine, then you’ll act on it publicly (like getting baptized).
But if you’re not 100% sure about Heaven, you don’t have to take a chance like Papillon. The Bible says you can be absolutely certain, and that’s precisely why it was written:
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13).”
Do you think God would make something as critical as your salvation hard to understand when it cost Him His only son? He wants you to get it, figuratively and literally. If you’re not 100% sure, try reading the New Testament.
Mel’s Jesus (Jim Caviezel)
Ironically, McQueen led a wild life with fast cars, motorcycles, and heavy partying, but six months before he died Steve got it…and accepted Christ! He wanted to know for sure, and when he understood the Bible’s message of salvation, a free gift, the King of Cool knelt before the King of Kings. How cool is that? And the good news is you can know too, and as an added bonus…meet Steve McQueen.
Here’s a cool 12-minute doc on McQueen’s original version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_BORJtfo48