Choose Your Burden
We are first introduced to Loki, Norse god of mischief and adopted brother of Thor, in the 2011 film Thor. He begins as a villain who desires only to rule, but Loki wins over the audience’s hearts with his wit and charm. He eventually learns to be a hero in Loki season 1. His transition from bad to good continues in season 2, solidifying in the finale. Throughout the season Loki experiences “time slipping,” in which he is involuntarily transported throughout time. He learns to control this power, enabling him to replay events from his past to try to prevent the Temporal Loom from overloading. Loki returns to his first interrogation with Time Variance Authority (TVA) agent Mobius for guidance and Mobius explains to him that life is about making hard, sometimes impossible, decisions. He says, “There’s no comfort. You just choose your burden.” This deeply resonates with Loki, as he frequently boasts that he is “burdened with glorious purpose.” While he always believed his purpose was to rule the world, he realizes at this moment that his purpose is to save the world.
Loki knows that only he has the power to save the multiverse. He frees the threads of the timeline from the Temporal Loom and takes them into his hands. He saves them from dying by empowering and sustaining them with his own magic. Loki finally gains what he always sought: a throne. Ironically, it is not to rule; it is simply his resting place as he holds the threads of the many timelines in his hands. Loki sacrifices his freedom to save his friends and the rest of the multiverse.
The Kind of God We All Need
Before performing the necessary actions to save the multiverse, Loki tells his friends, “I know what kind of god I need to be for you. For all of us.” He must use his power to save those he loves. In this, Loki models the one true God who entered time to rescue humanity: Jesus Christ. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus’s “glorious purpose” was not to gain earthly power, nor “to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Jesus was mocked, beaten, and crucified to secure the salvation of all those who would place their faith in him. Jesus will return again, and when he “comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31). Jesus is truly the God we all need.
The Tree of Life
Throughout both seasons of Loki, the new timelines that arise from the main timeline are called “branches.” When Loki is upon the throne at the end of season 2, the many threads that he holds in his hands create the form of a tree. This is a reference to Yggdrasil, the World Tree, the source of all things (according to Norse mythology). Trees are also important within Christianity, as God created a Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden to sustain Adam and Eve. This tree will be restored in the new Heaven and Earth (Revelation 22:2). Both Odin and Jesus were voluntarily hung on a tree (John 10:18). Odin hung himself on Yggdrasil to gain the knowledge of the runes for himself; Jesus was hung on a tree in the form of a cross (Acts 5:30 ESV) to secure our salvation. Pagan myths such as these have been seen as a shadow of Christianity, stories that prepare people’s hearts and imaginations for the true myth, the gospel.
Hope and Glory for All
While Loki can be seen as a Christ figure, he also represents all of us: sinners in need of redemption. At the height of his villainy, Loki is ruthless, selfish, and hungry for power. But when he is confronted with his own mortality, he realizes that those things are meaningless. He learns to be selfless and to live for the good of others. Even a villain like Loki has the hope of redemption. Likewise, the pursuit of power, wealth, fame, and all other worldly goods is meaningless in light of our own eventual death (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11). Despite our sinfulness, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Although Loki has to prove to others that he truly is reformed and earns his redemption through heroism and sacrifice, Jesus was morally perfect and secured our redemption for us through his death and resurrection. In response, God calls us to “choose your burden” by denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus (Luke 9:23). Paradoxically, it is only by rejecting our own glory and seeking to glorify God that we will obtain glory, honor, and everlasting life (Romans 2:7).
To support more resources like this consider becoming a Truth Partner! Partner with Summit every month to ensure students are equipped to stand for truth.