Superpowers

The greatest superhero of all is Superman, hands down. Ironman and Batman have cool gadgets, the Hulk is both a formidable and sympathetic foe, Captain America commands our respect, but Superman is pure other-worldly superpower channeled through a morally upright heart. You can’t beat that.

My friends and I passed around our comic books when we were kids and I couldn’t get enough of the caped crusader. Then, George Reeves put on a pair of tights and I was glued to the TV watching him bring peace and justice to the bedeviled citizens of Metropolis.

Christopher Reeve was a convincing though campy Superman, but my favorite film adaptation so far is Man of Steel, staring Henry Cavill. It has an awesome score by the talented Hans Zimmer, and it helps that Amy Adams plays Lois Lane — I might have a small crush on her.

Superman can stop bullets in mid-flight, defy gravity, see through walls, save a busload of school children from great peril, he can even turn back time by reversing the rotation of the earth, all without breaking a sweat! Nothing is too difficult for him; no villain is so devious that his evil plans can’t be thwarted by Superman.

The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” — Mark 10:26-27 (NLT)

The disciples were worried about their salvation. Jesus had just finished saying that moral living was not sufficient, and that great wealth might even be an impediment to salvation. They were astonished and filled with doubts about their own standing with God. They had given up so much to follow Jesus, surely that counted for something?

“Everything is possible with God” was Jesus’ answer. God will provide a way. God will provide a lamb, as Abraham said to young Isaac. Everything is possible with God. That’s a remarkable claim. Everything? Really?

Another time, Jesus said this:

“You don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” — Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

The power of God is boundless, a concept we simply can’t get our heads around. If we take the first few chapters of Genesis seriously, we see that God created matter from nothing. He created light out of darkness. He created order from the burning hot, chaotic soup of the early universe. He created life with the power of a spoken word.

God is the true Superman, but without the silly costume.

Hard to believe, of course. How could there be a single being with the creative powers to design and give life to all that we know and see and love in this world? And if there is such a being, why would he care about us?

Awesome power he may have, but how does he use that power? Did he create this universe of stuff and life as a boast, or for some more humane purpose?

I believe that the answer lies in the life of Jesus, the Jewish rabbi who claimed to be the Son of God and who convinced his contemporaries of the fact by healing illnesses, commanding the forces of nature, and even restoring life to the dead.

Even more convincingly, Jesus taught about God with the insight and authority of someone on the inside, and the God he revealed to us turns out to have used his power as a means of expressing his heart of love, creating a world in which he could live out that love day by day in a relationship with you, me, and everyone who wants to know him.

In the Superman story, the great love of his life is Lois Lane. He does crimefighting because he can, because he doesn’t like bullies.

In the God story, the great love of his life is you. He created us hoping we would become curious about him. He created us hoping that our curiosity would drive us to discover the power behind the marvel of life, and to discover that what drives that power is love and a desire for a relationship.

God loved us so much that he sent his son into the world as a herald, an emissary, a bridge, so that we could know the one who with the greatest of love and care created us (John 3:16).

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Comments

  1. One night about 2:30 am I was thinking: What if this Christianity stuff is all just a feel good country club we are deluding ourselves by. Immediately a song began to play in my mind. I knew it was new and had never been written down. I got my poor wife up out of bed and dragged her to the piano and had her write the notes down before it all evaporated. Someone at a later time produced a full blown four note version of each measure. But the first verse is: When Christ was born in Bethlehem, there were some who said, this is the One the very One, God’s own precious Son. There are several more verses but the last is: When Christ sat down at God’s right hand, there was One who said, This is the One, the very One, My own precious Son.

    I, at various times have had momentary doubts, but then here comes the song and it is as if God is telling me, we have already settled this, quit doubting and go on about your business.

    • Beautifully put, Rafa. I’ve had the same doubts at times, but God always brings me back to that place in your last verse: This is the One, the very One, My own precious Son. And what an amazing and life-changing realization that is.

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