well, I know I do at least – want a superhero, that is. You know, someone to rescue me from danger, from certain impending doom, from the life- threatening situation in which I find myself. Yes, that’s what I need – someone to save me from myself as much as from the evil in this world. But will I recognize my superhero when he comes for me?
Now superheros have been around for awhile. Superman appeared in comics in 1938, followed by Batman in 1939. Joined by Wonder Woman, Spider Man, The Comet, The Flash, and many more over time, we see these and other superheros in movies as well as comics today. These heroes and heroines are always unmistakable. They have super powers and they wear special costumes – unless they are off duty, in which case they wear regular clothes in order to blend in, just as Superman did. He was Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter, until he changed clothes and became Superman. (maybe the clothes really do make the man? after all, there’s nothing like a cape if one of your super powers is flying)
Superheros are unmistakable. They are easily recognized and impossible to overlook in their distinctive, colorful costumes. Even if their faces are masked, their identity is clear. They have come to save the day. These superheros fight for what is right. They protect the weak and fight against evil. They even formed a Justice League to fight for “truth, justice and the American Way.” These comics and movies are still very popular today. It seems we can’t get enough of watching this battle between good and evil play out in scene after scene. And each time, we hold our breath wondering who will win.
So I wonder, will I recognize my superhero? Who’s coming for me? Turns out, He’s come, He’s gone and He’s coming back again. The Israelites didn’t recognize Him when He came. They were waiting and watching for their promised deliverer, their superhero, if you will. But they missed Him. He had been prophesied and promised to them centuries before. However, they were still waiting, still in bondage to Roman occupation and oppression, still longing to be rescued by this Messiah who would defeat their enemies and set everything right. He was going to be one powerful, mighty Messiah when He came. He would be unmistakable – and yet –
they did not recognize the baby born in a manger. He came into the world without fanfare (well, by earth’s standards – all of heaven was celebrating big time) He came without power or position or influence, born to poor parents – He entered earth as a helpless infant, not a powerful military leader. And that’s what they were looking for, someone with military might who could defeat their Roman captors. This baby didn’t seem to fit the description they had been given in Isaiah 9:6-7 which says,
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Like the Israelites, I need a deliverer. I need a superhero to rescue me. I am engaged in a great battle. A battle that Paul described so well in Romans chapter seven, that I thought he was talking about me. Paul described our human predicament this way,
“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-25)
Who will rescue me? that is the question indeed. And like Paul, Timothy responds to that question with the same answer,
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)
Colossians 1:13-14 tells me more about what the superhero of my soul has done for me –
“For He has rescued us (me) from the dominion of darkness and brought us (me) into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we (I) have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus is the long awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world, the superhero sent to save my soul and your soul from eternal death. I confess – His methods are not what I would have expected or looked for in a superhero but then I realize that I am given a head’s up in Isaiah 55:8-9 with these words of explanation,
” ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ ”
Jesus may not have behaved like our typical comic book/movie superheros (although He did heal a lot of people, walk on water, turn water into wine, feed thousands of people with just a few fish and loaves of bread – but still, not the military might and conquest the Israelites were desiring) Jesus’s methods and instructions were a bit unorthodox actually, not your typical superhero modus operandi. In Matthew 5:44 I read,
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
This is harder to do than simply fighting my enemies outright! But I am told in Romans 12:21,
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Jesus has overcome darkness with His light, hate with His love, evil with His goodness, lies with the truth of His Word, and He has defeated my mortal enemy – death. Jesus did this by His own death and resurrection.
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him. Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:22-26)
sounds like a happy ending to me, all enemies not just conquered, but destroyed. The rescue I most need – the saving of my soul, the forgiveness of my sins – all accomplished for me by Jesus. He truly is the rescuer I long for, the superhero I want fighting for me.
today I will remember the instruction that Moses gave to the Israelites when he said,
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
sincerely, Grace Day