As a boy, every Saturday morning was devoted to cartoons. I recall watching the cartoons and movies that presented a superhero capable of mighty feats. Every show seemed to have a plot centered around people in distress and the superhero would sweep in and save the day. I remember watching the original Superman movie as a boy and being overwhelmed with his strength and ability to fly. I can still hear the line, “This looks like a job for Superman.” I also remember growing up watching He-Man and The Incredible Hulk. Unlike He-Man, the Hulk busted out of his clothing and turned green. It was exciting as a boy to use my imagination and explore these superhero characters and their “super” powers.
On the weekends, I would often spend the night with my grandfather (Pawpaw). I remember sitting on his couch at night and being board out of my mind as he watched a different type of superhero named John Wayne. I found myself board because this cowboy rode a horse, and I couldn’t identify with him. He was not as strong as Superman and he had no ability to fly. John Wayne needed a gun, but Superman was always faster than a speeding bullet and could catch a bullet out of mid-air. To me – John Wayne was a weakling in comparison to Superman.
In our modern culture today, we have hundreds of superheros in cartoons and movies. It seems that they come in every shape, color, and size. Some come with capes and cars, but others come with lasers and lightening. Spiderman comes with a unique ability to spin webs and travel across entire cities by swinging on his web. Batman comes with a cape and his signature car – the Batmobile. Superman can fly, has x-ray vision, and is capable of massive brute strength. The Incredibles is about an entire family of superheros with unique superpowers – including brute strength and super speed. Our society is saturated with a love for superheros for a reason. We sense the need to have a “good-guy” who can overcome the bad in our world. We like it when the “good guy” comes and defeats the villain. Although our world is largely pagan and refuses to acknowledge sin, even the writers in Hollywood sense the struggle between good and evil that plagues our world.
How does Jesus size up to the modern day superheros? Are we as adults more captivated by the characters of Jack Bauer, Jason Borune, Ethan Hunt, Spiderman, Batman, James Bond, or John Wayne than we are Jesus – the Christ of God? Do we find ourselves board to tears as we read Scripture? Are we lacking interest in the gospel of Jesus Christ but seriously devoted to the screen characters of a movie or television show? If so, we must consider the power and sovereignty of Jesus Christ.
Jesus came without a cape and He didn’t fly. Jesus walked dusty roads and rode the back of donkeys rather than racing into town in a supercar. Jesus did not spin webs or have x-ray vision. As a King, Jesus was poor and had no house to call His own. Jesus didn’t use fancy swords to fight His enemies. Jesus didn’t have a superhero suit that he wore under His robe. Jesus appeared normal and humble, yet He was sovereign God in human flesh.
Consider the following texts of Scripture:
- Jesus created the world – Colossians 1
- Jesus is Ruler over all things and all people – Ephesians 1:19-23
- Jesus rules over nature – Matthew 21:19-20; Matthew 8:26-27; John 2
- Jesus can walk on water – Matthew 14:28-29
- Jesus has power over disease – Luke 7:1-10
- Jesus has the power to raise the dead – John 11:1-44
- Jesus has the power to heal blindness – John 9
- Jesus defeated death by His resurrection – Revelation 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15; John 2:19-22
- Jesus has the power to forgive sins – John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:13; Matthew 11:28; Mark 2:10
As we read the Bible, we see a powerful story of love, sacrifice, and salvation. What greater story of salvation and the defeat of an evil super power exists than the gospel of Jesus Christ? Paul explained to us that the Greeks viewed the gospel as utter foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:17-25). What King would surrender to win? What King would die to liberate His people? What King of any royal class would humble himself to the Roman cross - without a fight? As I was thinking through the humility of the gospel, I realized that in all of the humility we must not lose sight of God’s sovereign power. Jesus spoke of laying down His life by saying, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:18).
As we read holy Scripture, we should see the power and sovereignty of God on display in Jesus. We should be captivated by the gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that far outweigh the superheros of modern society. John Piper once said, “Being infinite, God is inexhaustibly interesting. It is therefore impossible that God be boring.” What could be more exciting than a man claiming to be God? The answer: A man claiming to be God and it being validated as factual! Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The resurrection proved His statement to be true and trustworthy. As parents we should labor to teach our children to be mesmerized by the power of Jesus in ways that make modern superheros appear as weaklings. The gospel doesn’t need to be exaggerated or intensified. The gospel has enough power and potency on its own. Jesus is worthy of our attention and focus – and who is there in Hollywood that should captivate our minds more than the One who created all things?
May God cause us to be overwhelmed with the gospel – the story of redemption – the story of love – the story of salvation – the story of grace!
Pastor Josh Buice