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Why Jesus Isn’t a Superhero

Beth Demme Blog 1 Comment

You’ve probably noticed, but the world is on fire metaphorically and literally.  I don’t know about you, but there are days when I feel like I need to be rescued from it all.

Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … Superman!

Sometimes, I want a superhero to swoop in and save me. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too.

Superheroes run into burning buildings and pull people to safety. There are times when I want Jesus to be a superhero. I want him to run into the hardest parts of my life and pull me to safety.

Jesus is SUPER, to be sure. And I definitely consider Jesus a HERO. But I think expecting Jesus to act like a superhero misses the mark.

After Peter, one of the leaders among the Apostles, declares Jesus to be the Messiah (Mark 8:29), Jesus explains what that means. Jesus says he is going to be rejected, suffer, and die before he is resurrected (Mark 8:31).

Peter is so stymied by this proclamation he tells Jesus to shut up (ἐπιτιμᾶν) (Mark 8:32).

Peter expects Jesus to be like a superhero but Jesus, it appears, doesn’t want to hear it. He tells Peter … well, he tells Peter to shut up (ἐπετίμησεν) and calls him a name:

But turning and looking at his disciples, Jesus rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Mark 8:33
Peter expects the Messiah to swoop in and save the day, but Jesus says that’s a human way of thinking that doesn’t align with God’s intentions.

Instead of being victorious in the way the disciples expect, Jesus will be condemned by the religious leaders and executed by the political leaders. To Peter, anyone who could be treated that way couldn’t be The Messiah.

But Peter was wrong.

Humanity threw its worst at Jesus and he took it. He took it and he redeemed it in his resurrection.

When life throws its worst at me, that’s just the kind of rescuing I need. I need to remember that God sees all the trouble and turmoil I feel and has already found a way to redeem it.

God swoops in, not to carry me out of the burning building, but to stand in the fire with me. God swoops in, not to spare me the painful parts of life, but to endure the pain with me.

Superman could never do that.

Are there times when you feel like you need to be rescued? How does that affect your faith? Tell me about it in the comments, in an email, or on Facebook.

More like this from Beth:

Beth preached on this topic on September 12, 2021. You can watch the sermon here:

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