MORE THAN A SUPER-HERO

Who is the greatest super-hero? The great debate has been going on for years and years.  The names may change, but everyone has their favorite.  When I was young, cowboys were cool - the Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Cheyenne, and others.  Space-men have always been popular too - Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Captain Midnight.  Then along came the heavy hitters like Superman, Batman and Spiderman. 

I usually like to keep my focus on reality and not get too caught up in the fantasy world, but I guess I can't really blame anyone who enjoys the occasional venture into the imagination. If I did, I would have a hard time explaining myself to some little people who I have grown very fond of.

One is a grandson whose favorite pastime involves transforming cars, trucks and planes into Megatron, Bonecrusher, or the ultimate good guy - Optimus Prime. I also know a little 5 year old who just can't make up his mind if he is going to be Batman or the Flash.   And I can't forget a sweet little lady who can sing me all of her princess songs - perfectly on key - and sometimes Batman even joins in.  And to be totally truthful, I should also mention that I actually do own all six of the original Star Wars episodes.  Chewbacca is my guy, and Darth Vader - has there ever been a cooler villain? 

Today's recent spate of super-hero movies has taken the journey into fantasy-land to record heights. It seems like every new film has to be more spectacular than the one before.  I'm no psychologist - I don't know why we like to create imaginary creatures with superhuman powers.  In some cases, it might just be a good way to make ten or twenty million dollars.  But in the end, it IS just fantasy.  We do have to return the real world - and then what?

If you know me at all, you have probably guessed by now that what I really would like to talk about is my favorite Super Hero. My favorite Superhero isn't on tv, or in the movies.  More than that, He isn't a fantasy at all.  He is real, and He is alive, today and forever!  There's a song that says "you don't tug on Superman's cape."  But even if Superman was real, he would be no match for my favorite Hero because He is the Creator of the universe, and His name is Jesus Christ.

However, a real Super Hero is a hard subject to teach in today's American culture. Imaginary creatures are fine.  There's no problem talking about them all you want, but it seems like the minute you start talking about God, and especially Jesus, then the war begins.  "Oh, you're one of those - a Bible-thumper."

That's how it always starts. You can glorify murder, sex, bank robbery or whatever, but the minute you mention Jesus, the snide remarks and the insults begin.  Today's popular society can tolerate absolutely anything, but God.  But I would like to ask just one question.  What if the Bible is true?

What if those who are always telling us not to believe in God and the Bible are really doing so in order to keep us from knowing the real truth?  Is that so hard to imagine?  Isn't that what the bad guys always do in every movie and tv show we have ever seen?

Sure! The villain always tricks people into believing and doing the very things they should not believe and do.  So what if that is the same thing that is happening when "they" tell us you can't believe the fairy tales of the Bible? 

Let me ask another question. Is there anything in this world that will really satisfy the human heart?  Have you ever actually found true, lasting happiness in anything this world offers - money, sex, cars, boats, houses, power, fame, whatever?  I know I have not, and I don't know anyone who has.  In fact, we have all heard of those who became rich and famous only to  crash and burn shortly thereafter.  In contrast, there are multitudes who have placed their hope and faith in God and have found the peace and joy their hearts had always desired.  I know I have, and I know hundreds of others who feel the same way. 

Yes, I can watch some of the old tv shows and even go to a few of today's movies. But my hope is not in any fantasy.  My hope is in the Son of God,  who created all of us and promises to return one day to put an end to evil once and for all.  Wouldn't that be neat?  Would that be a happy ending or what?   Am I the only one who likes happy endings?  I honestly can't stand these shows they are making lately that have such lousy endings!

But the Bible has a wonderful ending for all who will turn from sin and commit their hearts to Jesus. But those who listen to the lies of the ultimate bad guy, the devil, will experience a terrible ending, worse than any of us could ever imagine.

But, of course, this reveals another problem. The devil has convinced the majority of people that he doesn't even exist.  How convenient!  That is the perfect ploy for any villain.   He just tells us that he is only a fairy tale that Christians have made up.  And that's where the whole Bible came from - they just made it up!  So there you go - you have no hope, so just keep anesthetizing yourself with drugs and alcohol and sex.  

But the truth is, Satan has been defeated by Christ on the cross. Those who believe in Jesus and accept forgiveness through His blood, are set free from sin and are then able to live new lives. 

While Hollywood goes to extreme lengths to wow us with their special effects, the truth that the Scriptures reveal about the greatness and power of God is so far beyond anything any screenwriter could ever conceive. John 1 tells us that God created all things through Jesus, and the first chapter of Hebrews describes Christ as the "perfect imprint and very image" of God's nature, who "upholds and maintains the universe by the Word of His power." So, while many people think that humans are in control of things down here, the truth is that our perception is not reality.

But the Son of God's greatest accomplishment was the humility He displayed by stepping through the curtain from heaven to earth and offering Himself on the cross as payment for the sins of His fallen creation. On Easter we commemorate His death, burial and especially His resurrection, which gives us the glorious hope of everlasting life in His presence.

The promises of the super heroes on the silver screen, even if they were not simply figments of our 21st century imaginations, still only offer to protect us from the evils that exist on earth. But Jesus has promised His faithful believers not only to give them eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth that is beyond comprehension (see Revelation 21 and 22), He also proclaims they will actually share His divine nature.  I John 3:2 says that we will see Him as He is, and Philippians 3:21 explains that He will transform our lowly bodies to be like His.  So what does that mean?  Well, after His resurrection, Jesus walked through walls and appeared to His disciples when they were locked in a room for fear of their lives.  He also appeared and disappeared to two of His disciples who were on the road to Emmaus.   After that He ascended into the clouds of heaven to sit at the right hand of the God the Father, from whence He has promised to return one day to the earth in the same manner. The Bible paints a very vivid picture of the hope that a follower of Christ has.  But Christians also have the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is God, Himself, living in our hearts.

For as long as this world remains, people will continue to search for something beyond this world to fill the emptiness within their soul. But the offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is still available to all who will repent, believe and accept it.  The Spirit of God is still calling out to all who will hear that the answer to their quest does not reside in the fantasy world, but is found in a real Savior who has already conquered our greatest fears - death, hell and the grave.  And my hope is that everyone who reads this, who has not done so already,  will turn their heart to the Savior today.

   

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
  Hallelujah! Christ arose

 

From the hymn, Christ Arose, by Robert Lowery

 

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