Of Superheroes and the Savior

I recently finished a series of sermons on the popular movies of the past year. My last address was on the superhero movie called The Black Panther. It is part of the Marvel universe of films. These movies have become a stable in the cinema during recent years. In fact, four of the top ten highest grossing movies of all time are part of this genre. Their impact on Hollywood cannot be missed from the big screen to the little screen in our homes. Superheroes are everywhere and cannot be ignored.

These movies are all built on a singular premise. Someone is given a unique power in the universe. These powers can range from enormous knowledge and wealth like Iron Man to creature like characteristics of Spiderman. These special people are then given the choice of helping humanity or serving themselves. Frequently, the choice is to save humanity from certain peril by some super villain or avoid getting involved. At that right moment, our hero steps up to save the day.

There are two things I notice about these movies. First, while these characters inspire us with their acts of heroism, they really do nothing to change the world. People still struggle with anger, hurt, pain and ultimately death. They never deal with the issues of the heart that make this world a depraved state where people need saving.

Second, their job is never complete. In the children’s movie, Mr. Incredible has the perfect description. “No matter how many times you save the world. It always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved. You know, for a little bit. I feel like the maid. ‘I just cleaned up this mess. Can we keep it clean for ten minutes?’”

I ponder these stories frequently as I think about Jesus. His impact on the world is so incredibly different from the movie we would create. He comes with great power, but his goal is not to throw down the forces of Rome and build his own empire. He comes to deal with the heart of humanity and its bent toward evil. His kingdom is not one of flesh and blood instead it is built in the soul of humanity. All this is accomplished through his work on the cross. Scripture underlines to us that his work was done once for all of time. Jesus came that we might be genuinely saved both now and forevermore.

People hand over their money in mass at the latest superhero movie. I suppose it is okay for entertainment purposes and the enjoyment they bring to us. When the chips are down, life gets dark, and I face the final hours. I thank God for sending me a true Savior.

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