One of my favorite lines in the classic 80s film The Princess Bride (which is my all-time favorite movie, by the way) comes from Westley, the farm boy-turned-pirate who goes to great lengths to get back to his true love, Buttercup, after a long stretch of separation where she feared him dead. In one of the climactic scenes in the relationship between Westley and Buttercup, he shares a great bit of wisdom about true love. Watch the clip below:
The line: “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”
Buttercup: “I will never doubt again.”
Westley: “There will never be a need.”
Let’s make this comparison with the disciples and Jesus. They had developed a strong relationship with Him during His time with them. But then He dies on the cross and they’re in hiding, they’re afraid to associate with him. I gotta imagine there were some strong doubts in their minds about whether or not they should have even followed Him in the first place.
In the film, Buttercup seems to move on, even saying to herself, “I will never love again.” She quits. Her true love is gone, so why even bother giving it another shot? She gets engaged to Prince Humperdinck, who she doesn’t love but since he’s the law of the land she doesn’t really have a choice.
Then Westley returns. It kinda sneaks up on her, but she realizes it and they have the exchange you saw in the video above.
In the same way, Jesus returns. It’s three days, not a few years. And the disciples are changed in such a way that they go from despair to ready to commit their lives to spreading the gospel, dying for it.
Jesus died, yes. He went away for a little bit. But not only did death not stop true love, it was the ultimate act of true love. And because death could not stop true love – the love that Jesus has for us – we have no need to ever doubt. We can go from saying, “I will never love again,” to, “I will never need to doubt again.”
That’s true love. A love that, even if it may look or feel like it’s left, never has and never will.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10