The very first episode of the BBC's Medieval Drama "Merlin" opens with this line:
"No young man, no matter how great, can know his destiny. He cannot glimpse his part in the great story that is about to unfold. Like everyone, he must live and learn. And so it will be for the young warlock arriving at the gates of Camelot. A boy that will, in time, father the legend. His name: Merlin."
When young Merlin arrives in Camelot, the land is under the rule of the harsh, cold-hearted, and tyrannical Uther Pendragon. King Uther has decreed that all practice of magic is banned through out the kingdom and punishable by death. Merlin has come to Camelot in search of aid. Merlin, unlike most people, was born with instinctual magical abilities. His mother sent him to Camelot in hopes that the court physician Gauis will be able to help him discover the true purpose of his magic, but in the meantime he first needs to learn how to control it. For the young man there is a great risk in coming to live in the city of the very man, who for twenty years has sought to destroy any man, woman, or child even suspected of "sorcery".
Merlin's stay in Camelot gets off to a rusty start when Merlin defends a poor servant boy being tormented and teased by a group of wealthy young knights. Merlin stands up for the boy telling the leader of the knights to back off. Unfortunately for Merlin's bravery, the knight turns out to be none other than the Prince of Camelot himself, Prince Arthur. The Prince is proud, selfish, uncaring, and without a better term a complete bully.
After a night in the dungeons and a day in the stocks Merlin decides, and rightly so, he wants absolutely nothing to do with this pompous Prince Arthur. Then an unexpected thing happens. Merlin discovers the Great Dragon, Kilgaharrah, who is trapped by Uther in a cave deep below the citadel. The ancient beast reveals to Merlin about the young man's destiny. It couldn't be father from what Merlin expected. Arthur, the arrogant prideful Prince is destined to become the greatest king in history, the Once and Future King who will unite the land of Albion. Kilgarrah informs Merlin that it is his destiny to protect and aid Arthur in becoming king. Merlin scoffs at this saying, "There's no way!... If anyone wants to go kill him, they can go ahead. In fact, I'll give them a hand!" Merlin, though happy to discover that his "gift" of magic, a gift that has always set him apart from others, has a purpose, yet he is frustrated by the thought it has anything to do with the Prince.
A few days later, during a royal banquet, Merlin's abilities and morals are put to the test when a vengeful witch makes an attempt on the Prince's life. Merlin is given mere seconds to decide whether or not to save the Prince's life. With the use of his magic to slow down time Merlin makes a choice and pulls the oblivious Prince to safety as a knife wedges itself into the chair where he stood only moments before. The King thanks Merlin for saving his son's life and as a "reward" gives Merlin a job as the Prince's manservant. A strange thanks if you ask me...
Nevertheless, the reason I love this scene so much is because it reminds me of what God did for mankind. We all have gone through stages in our life where we are the young Prince Arthur. We are consumed with ourselves. We live selfishly, showing contempt for Christ. We indulge in power, pride, and arrogance with no care for others. We are not deserving of any kindness or compassion, yet God chose to save us. In Psalms 103:8-10 we read "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve for repay us according to our iniquities." I know, after spending a night in jail and a day in the stocks with people throwing food at me I would in no way want to help the person responsible. Yet, Merlin mirror's God's love for us when he puts all that aside and saves Arthur's life, though Arthur in no way deserves it.
Romans 5:10 says "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" Like Merlin and Arthur we were enemies of God, however by sending Jesus, God chose to redeem us anyways... and I know often God does not get a proper thank you or "reward" from me. I owe him my life, but I, like many of you I'm sure, are so stubborn and selfish. All the more, despite our sin, it does not stop God from rescuing us or loving us unconditionally. Despite our faults against him, Jesus still came to earth to save us from ourselves. In conclusion, that is why I love this scene. It is a constant reminder to me that God chose to save me while I was wholly undeserving, in every way his enemy, and yet he preserved my life. Make sure you thank God today for saving you even when you do not deserve it.
Merlin and Arthur Meet
Merlin saves Arthur's life