"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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The Ultimate Superhero

Throughout the past year, I couldn’t help but notice Hollywood’s renewed fascination with superheroes. Batman. Iron Man. The Hulk. The Spirit. It seems these days that every cinematic blockbuster centers on a comic icon. And don’t forget the mortal crusaders protecting us from evil, like Jason Bourne, James Bond, or Max Payne. Their bravery and brazenness make us all feel a little more empowered, and let us vicariously stand-up to bad guys of every ilk as we comfortably munch on popcorn and Junior Mints.

It’s as if, in our collective consciousness, we secretly hope that a mysterious stranger will come swooping in and save us from society’s ills. As a nation, we long to abdicate responsibility for our current state of affairs and instead look for a mystical bail-out package wrapped in a flowing cape. We want a crime-fighting vigilante with super human strength, an iron will, and perhaps a few cool gadgets to deal with the drug lords, gangbangers, and scheming sociopaths all around us.

But, this Christmas season is a reminder that the ultimate superhero has already come, and still walks with us today. He’s not an undercover agent or a radioactive monster. He is God made man — the King of King and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.

It’s hard to imagine that the helpless infant born in a manger some 2000 years ago is the Savior for whom we have all been yearning. He was a carpenter, not a covert operative. He never carried a weapon, never beat up a bad guy with his bare hands. But, he overcame the world. All our sin, all our shame. We are made clean by his sacrifice — if only we will believe.

Ay, there’s the rub.  Because for all our fantastical visions of celluloid superheroes, millions still turn away from the one who came to save us. Christ is merely a myth, they say; only the feeble-minded believe those old stories.

Why don’t they accept that Jesus is our Savior? Because it’s hard. Unlike the Hollywood heroes we hope for, Christ holds us accountable. He offers salvation, but the price is submission. And, in our fast-paced, gratification-driven, socially networked world, it’s hard to imagine that we’re not the center of our universe. Scripture tells us to play by his rules — to obey Christ’s commands. Obey? Commands? This whole Christianity thing sounds more like a dictatorship.

Except that Jesus’ principal command is this: Love each other.

What dictator ever demanded that?

If you think about it, if everyone followed this one command — this one simple plea — we wouldn’t need a superhero. If we loved each other the way that Jesus loved us — through service, grace and mercy — there would be no crime, no violence, no emotional neglect or physical abuse. There would be no greed, no prejudice, and no self-centeredness. If we really understood and put into practice what Jesus calls us to do, then we would see that he truly is our Savior, wanting nothing more than to save us from ourselves.

Instead, we spend our days griping about government bail-outs as we wring our hands over our own mounting credit card debt. After a hard day’s work surfing YouTube and sending text messages, we swipe a pack of Post-It Notes from the supply room, then spend $4 on a cup of Starbucks. We hide in our homes at night and watch riveting dramas about adultery and homicide to unwind, and just before bed, we secretly peek at online porn, forgetting that the girl splayed out naked for our entertainment is someone’s daughter.

We hope for a hero, and all this time, our true hero is hoping for us. Phillipians 4:19 assures us: “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. God promises that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28), and that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved (Mark 16:16).

He promises to give us hope and a future, if we will just believe. This Christmas, don’t look to the movies for a miracle. Look to the baby in the manger, who is the only hero we need.

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6

3 comments

1 shells { 12.17.08 at 5:51 pm }

This is a beautifully written article Leslie and whether a believer or not it certainly makes you think about things and feel very humble. A real pleasure to read. Thank You

2 Sanae { 12.21.08 at 9:24 pm }

So eloquently put. Thank you.

3 chris { 01.06.09 at 4:49 pm }

Stellar stuff, Leslie! Thank you! It’s provocative, engaging, and challenging. I hope this makes the rounds in cyberspace.

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