Jesus the Teacher. Jesus the God. Jesus the Great Physician. Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But Jesus the Superhero? That’s not something that comes to mind immediately when we think of Jesus. Well, not unless you are a Sunday school teacher trying to teach kids that song.
So why is it that we teach our kids to see Jesus as their superhero but when we grown ups seek a superhero we go to movies and comics, to The Avengers and (Super/Bat/Spider/Iron/etc)man?
Why is it that somehow Jesus loses His “superhero” status in our eyes when we go to church proper as adults, and He is revealed mainly as a God to be worshipped and a Teacher and good example to emulate in most churches on Sundays?
Before I became a Christian, I only knew Jesus as a God of a religion or faith who walked on Earth as a man. I never knew He was a King. If someone had told me that He was a Teacher whose ways I was supposed to follow, frankly I’d probably have just shrugged and filed Him away with the other gods and saints teaching people to do good and continued to stay politely away from Him.
And yes I’d also heard of Him as a Messiah and Saviour, but I didn’t really know what it meant or from what.
According to Wikipedia (which we all know is the best source of free information on the internet), a superhero is “a type of heroic character possessing extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and is dedicated to a moral goal or protecting the public (emphasis mine)“.
Perhaps the best of all fictional superheroes who exemplifies this is Superman, as portrayed in the 2013 film Man of Steel. He had super strength, laser eyes, could fly, always came back no matter how many times he was struck down, protected the helpless public even though they didn’t always welcome or cheer for him, and was extremely hunky and good-looking to boot.
So let’s see, how does Jesus compare?
Jesus didn’t need to exhibit super strength. He had something better. The power to calm seas, send demons fleeing with their tails between their legs, to heal and raise the dead with just a spoken word. The power to draw unschooled and rough fishermen to leave everything to go with Him with a simple “Follow Me”. The power to cause heavily armed soldiers and guards who came to arrest Him to all fall to the ground with a self-identification “I am”. And then He patiently waited for them to get up, allowed Himself to be bound and went with them.
Jesus’s eyes not only see and know every thought that every single one of us has, He sees them with compassion and grace.
He doesn’t waste time flying around, He simply appears behind locked doors (John 20:19, 26). And the risen Jesus can appear in more than one place at one time, in visions and dreams. A teleporting superhero who can appear in multiple places simultaneously and also enter our subconscious realm. That’s pretty cool.
Jesus never lost a battle (remember His unsurpassable power of defeating all enemies with a word?). Actually, He had to control His power, choosing to come in ordinary human form and grow up normally like any one of us until it was the right time to reveal Himself.
And boy, does He come back again and again to save us.
Whether we like Him, hate Him, don’t know Him, can’t care less about Him, He saves. In fact, His name Jesus means Saviour or literally Yahweh (The Lord) saves. Saving us is what He does.
Oh and the good looks? The Bible describes Jesus as “fairer than the sons of men” or “the most handsome of all” (Psalm 45:2). Woww. Brad Pitt, Zac Efron, K-pop stars? They haven’t got a chance.
Superman may be in all aspects a pretty decent superhero, but he’s only the man of steel. He protects, but he will not come and hug or comfort you. And bring in the kryptonite, and he’ll become as average as can be.
Jesus is steel and velvet. Steel against our enemies, and velvet towards us. He is meekness and majesty. Manhood and deity.
Weaknesses? He has none to speak of. Love is not His weakness – He could have abandoned us, wiped us out and started over, but He chose to stay and save us. His love and grace is the only reason any of us are here today.
Jesus saves us from anything and everything that comes against us – sin, sicknesses, demons, fears and anything keeping us in bondage.
We may not think we have any of these that we need saving from – well, He will even save us from a mediocre and average life into a glorious and abundant one.
We may not be ready to come close just yet – that’s ok. When we are, we will find Him waiting and smiling, as He always has been. ‘Cause that’s the kind of superhero He is.
He is a King and He is God, but ultimately He is a Saviour and a Superhero. Let’s celebrate Him for who He is today.
Blessed Christmas and grace to all.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.