“Daddy, can Jesus fly like Superman?” My then six-year-old son’s voice broke the quiet hum of the car ride. My answer? “Of course he can” “He can? Whoa!” I added, “But He’s so much more than Superman.”
It was time to drop some kid-sized Christology.
Many comic-page-to-movie-screen adaptations have been made lately: Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man, and most recently, Superman. Cape flowing behind his chiseled body, ready to fight for justice, he is the archetype of superheroes.
Yet he has nothing on Jesus. Why?
1. Because Jesus is so much more powerful than Superman. He can fly and so can his horse! (Rev 19:11) He can walk through walls. Well, either that or he just appears out of nowhere. Either way, it’s impressive. (John 20:19) He told the raging sea to shush and then went back to sleep (Matt 8:28), which makes sense since he created the sea and the fish that live in it (John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1:2). The pages of the New Testament tell repeated stories of his power over demons, over nature, and over life itself. He raised Lazarus, a dead man (John 11:43), which was a precursor to many dead hearts that would be raised through the power of His resurrection (2 Cor 15:12). Only He can do that. Superman, Spiderman, Batman… they are all but faint shadows of the real Super Hero – the God-Man.
2. Because Jesus is so much more loving than Superman. We like our heroes to bring about swift judgment on the villain who’s been terrorizing the city. But in the Gospels, we make a frightening discovery-we are the villains. Humanity did not receive Jesus’ terms for peace nor did they recognize the significance of His visitation upon earth (Luke 19:41-44). In the blockbuster of redemptive history, the role of the villain is played by fallen humanity armed with three nails and a cross. We schemed and hung the Hero on a tree (Gal 3:13). The astonishing twist is that Jesus, so full of power, allowed his own murder to happen. If Superman’s weakness is krypton, the Godman’s weakness is a broken world full of sin and pain. He can’t ignore broken hearts. He must rescue them through his death and resurrection.
To be rescued from our sin, we don’t need the Man of Steel; we need the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3).