A Broader Vision

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its action, drama, and humor—but its first Disney+ miniseries, WandaVision, introduces a new genre to the Universe: sitcom. MCU fans have been both confused and intrigued since the show was originally announced, and these feelings have only increased since the show has been released. (Spoilers ahead!) We wonder, why are Wanda and Vision in a sitcom? Is this a dream or is this reality? If this is reality, how is Vision alive since he dies in Avengers: Infinity War? It quickly becomes obvious, however, that WandaVision is not really a sitcom; it is a mystery, providing answers and raising more questions with each episode.

And like all other mysteries, the truth is uncovered slowly as the story progresses. At the end of the third episode, we finally learn that Wanda’s sitcom town, Westview, is contained in a force field within the real world. In the next episode, we see how the outside world has been responding to Westview. Episode eight shows us Wanda’s love for American sitcoms as a child and how she created Westfield due to the grief of losing her love, Vision. Each new episode unveils the significance of odd events which occurred in previous episodes and how WandaVision ties into the broader MCU and beyond. However, all of this would be lost on viewers who choose not to continue beyond the sitcom shenanigans of the first few episodes. Here we discover the importance of patience in order to properly appreciate and understand a story.

Expectations and Impatience
Preconceived expectations and impatience can hinder our understanding of any story, whether it be a superhero film or classic literature. The same is also true of the greatest book ever written, the Bible. God promised his people a Messiah who would save them, but Jesus certainly was not what many of them had expected. The religious leaders awaited a political leader who would overthrow the Roman occupation of Jerusalem and restore David’s throne on earth. Instead, Jesus was a suffering servant who established a spiritual kingdom, and he rescued us from our greatest enemy, sin.

Modern Christians may look at Old Testament prophecies and wonder how the Pharisees and others missed what seems so obvious to us now. But this is only because we have the benefit of hindsight. It wasn’t until after Jesus’s Resurrection that he helped his followers assemble the clues from the Old Testament which pointed to him (Luke 24:27). Similarly, Jesus came to save not just the Jews, but the Gentiles as well. This is a great mystery which was hinted at by the prophets but finally revealed to the world through Jesus (Rom. 16:25-26). God’s salvation plan was indeed a mystery which could only be fully understood when looking backwards.

Unfortunately, misunderstanding Scripture is not just a problem from Jesus’s day. Even though we now have God’s full revelation readily available, we still miss much of what God is saying to us. Sometimes, modern readers treat the Bible like a Twitter feed, a random collection of verses with no flow or cohesion. But chapters and verse numbers were not always part of the Bible. They were added in the 16th century to aid in readability and to help locate various passages. Just as one episode of a television show such as WandaVision is a part of a broader story, every chapter and verse of the Bible is one portion of the larger book. The only way to understand a verse is within its broader context. This certainly includes literary and grammatical context, but also the text’s history, geography, culture, setting, original audience, and so on. Proper Bible interpretation requires work, but it is work well worth the time, patience, and effort.

Baseball great Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” That phrase is true of baseball, and it is also true of stories. Until a movie or television show ends, anything is possible. And as any Marvel fan knows, there may be an extra scene after the credits. WandaVision does not begin as a traditional Marvel show, perhaps initially turning off longtime MCU fans. But the silly sitcom frames a mystery, one that introduces new twists and surprises with each episode. Eventually, we learn how the events of the story fit into the broader MCU.

Likewise, we may not immediately grasp what we read in Scripture. It can be our fault, if we read the Bible like a viewer who begins a television series mid-season. We must study the Bible as a whole and carry on until the end in order to understand God’s bigger picture. And like a mystery story, we may need to reread it a few times to catch everything that we missed.

We must accept the Bible for what it is. Marvel created WandaVision, we did not, so if we wish to enjoy the story that Marvel provided, we must accept what the creators have given us—even if it ultimately disappoints us. But as the perfect Author and Creator, God knows what is best for us, and his Word is exactly what we need. Even when it is difficult and takes patience to understand, the Bible is worth the effort required to follow the whole story. It contains passages we find uplifting and encouraging and others we may find bewildering or even boring. But the Bible is God’s very Word to us, and it contains power and life to those who commit to reading and understanding it:

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12).

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Timothy Fox

Timothy Fox has a passion to equip the church to engage the culture. He is a part-time math teacher, full-time husband and father. He has an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University as well as an M.A. in Adolescent Education of Mathematics and a B.S. in Computer Science, both from Stony Brook University. Tim lives on Long Island, NY with his wife and children. He also blogs at freethinkingministries.com.