In Revenge of the Sith (Episode III), Anakin’s arrogance reaches an all time high. He is spending less time learning from Obi-Wan and more time relying on his own understanding. This seems to parallel our choosing to lean on our own understanding instead of trusting the Lord.
Chancellor Palpatine’s character made me uneasy in the first Star Wars movie. When Anakin was fighting Count Dooku to free Chancellor Palpatine, the chancellor told Anakin to kill Count Dooku after he had lost his weapon. Anakin didn’t want to kill Count Dooku since he was unarmed (as it wasn’t the Jedi way), but he yielded to Chancellor Palpatine’s wishes and killed the Count anyway. After the death of Count Dooku, Chancellor Palpatine started working on Anakin. He began whispering in his ears – telling him lies. He wanted Anakin to learn from him and to lose his faith in the Jedi order.
At the beginning of Episode III, Anakin finds out that Padmé is pregnant. They are both thrilled, but shortly after finding out, he begins to have bad dreams about Padmé dying in childbirth. These were the same kind of unsettling dreams he was having about his mother in the previous Episode.
Once Chancellor Palpatine made it known that he wanted Anakin to work with him, the Jedi counsel decided to get Anakin to spy on Palpatine as they thought Palpatine was up to no good. Anakin didn’t want to spy on him because he believed Chancellor Palpatine to be a good man, but then Palpatine flatters Anakin and slowly begins to turn Anakin against the Jedi counsel. He told him the story of Darth Plagueis “the wise” who was so powerful that he could even keep people from dying. Anakin had been so overcome with the fear of losing Padmé that he was seduced by the idea of having power enough to keep her alive. When he asked Chancellor Palpatine if he could learn this power, Palpatine replied, “Not from a Jedi.”
Later Anakin promises Padmé that she will not die in childbirth. It’s clear that he’s willing to go to any measure to keep from losing her. After it’s discovered that Chancellor Palpatine is a Sith Lord, Anakin has a choice to make: follow him or follow the teachings he’d learned from the Jedi Masters? Overcome with the desire to keep from losing Padmé and the desire to posses greater power, Anakin goes over to the dark side.
Before Anakin chooses to go over to the dark side, Chancellor Palpatine (Lord Sidious) said, “Anakin, if one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its aspects, not just the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi. If you wish to become a complete and wise leader, you must embrace a larger view of the Force. Be careful of the Jedi, Anakin. Only through me can you achieve a power greater than any Jedi. Learn to know the dark side of the force and you will be able to save your wife from certain death.”
That quote makes me think of what the world tells us. The world says, “If you want to be successful, powerful, and have everything you want, you can’t follow old fashioned rules from the Bible. You can’t listen to preachers and live a life of giving. You have to look out for yourself. You can’t trust a God you’ve never seen. Do whatever you have to do to get ahead.”
When Palpatine (Lord Sidious) was telling Anakin that he could only achieve power greater than the Jedi through him, it immediately made me think of Satan and how he seeks offer us pleasure beyond what righteousness gives us, but only to ultimately kill, steal, and destroy. He tells us to abandon our faith and to find fulfillment in worldly pursuits. Our fallen nature desires power. We want to be in control. We want to rule and therein lies the temptation.
What strikes me the most about this Episode is how Anakin ended up causing the very tragedy he was trying to avoid. After discovering that Anakin had gone over to the dark side, Padmé lost her will to live. The doctor said that medically she was healthy, but after giving birth to twins, she died. She maintained until her dying breath that there was still good in Anakin. He had lost everything to save Padmé and then ultimately caused her demise. Satan uses our weaknesses to destroy us. He finds those areas where we struggle and promises that his way will give us the results we want. Then after we fall into His trap, he destroys us. Obviously Palpatine didn’t care about Anakin or Padmé. He was seducing Anakin into becoming his slave – which, ironically, was a position from which he was already freed.
Have you ever prophesied your own doom? Maybe you’ve thought about falling and embarrassing yourself so much that you end up doing just that? All too often we see people who are so desperate to be in a relationship that they walk away from God’s will, their family’s approval, and what they know to be right, just to be in a relationship. It is easy to think, “If I don’t lower my standards, I’m going to be alone! I can’t wait on God to bring me a spouse. I may never get married.” So, the standards are lowered and the person marries someone who is clearly not a Christ follower and then finds that the very concern that plagued that person most (i.e., being alone), has become a reality.
Marriage does not promise us an escape from loneliness. If we marry someone who does not share our faith, the core of who we are, we will be lonely. Never settle. Never look to the world to fulfill you because the world doesn’t have what you need. We cannot stray from Christ and expect to be fulfilled. We can only find our peace, joy, hope, and eternal life in Him. As the song says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Wait on God. Resist the devil. Trust God to bring you the one He has set aside for you. And should He choose to take him or her away, continue to praise the God who gives and takes away (Job 1:21) – easier said than done, but still the right path.
Does the power and fulfillment the world promises you seduce you? Are you tempted to look for love outside of your faith just to escape loneliness?