ROCKY BALBOA: A Parable of Faith

10m1.jpg His career is already over, but not yet. As God brought miraculous power to the elderly Abraham, Sara, Moses, Zechariah, and Elizabeth, the Kingdom of God will break into the aged Rocky Balboa’s life. But this time Rocky’s power comes from above. Just before the climax of Rocky Balboa, we catch a glimpse of a private devotional between our hero and Spider, a washed up fighter Rocky has been supporting in his restaurant. Spider reminds Rocky of his power with Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” And through faith in that power, and that power alone, does our aged hero prevail once again.

Throughout director/writer/star Sylvester Stallone’s thrilling and, at times, profound meditation on aging and death in the Present Age, we see crosses, reminders of the Age to Come, hanging around characters’ necks and silhouetting the skyline of decaying Philadelphia. Just before the bell, the former champ kneels in his corner and crosses himself.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Rocky lifts his eyes from a nostalgic and sorrowful past toward a future of hope and enthusiasm. As the winter of Rocky’s discontent   becomes yet another glorious summer, the champ points heavenward to the source of his strength. And as our hero works his way toward the Kingdom of God, others in his sphere – his son Rocky Jr., grown up “Little Marie” and her son, Steps – find healing and reconciliation in the process. As the credits roll, Rocky’s road toward the Kingdom is literally followed as scores of real life people run up the Philadelphia Art Museum’s steps, imitating his miraculous victory. 

 Faith is the fuel that can power invasions by the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” To that Rocky Balboa says “Amen.”





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