A few weeks ago, Katie, Tank, and I went to the opening night of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now, I don’t enjoy opening nights because of the crowds, but the Tank spends much of his play time with the Avengers action figures, so I let them both talk me into it. We had a blast watching these superheroes (especially my favorite, the Hulk) fighting against evil with their supernatural strength and winning the day. When the movie ended, the Tank said, “Papi, I will always remember we went to see the Avengers on opening night!” That certainly made braving the crowds worth it!
Watching the movie got me thinking about another kind of supernatural strength, one that is not merely a made-up story for our entertainment, but real and available to us all, regardless of our station in life.
. . . Being strengthened with all power according to [God’s] glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience . (Colossians 1:11)
I’m pretty sure that all of us, when we are watching movies like The Avengers, secretly wonder what it would be like to have a superhero’s supernatural strength. It’s easy to forget that the Bible makes it clear that we do have real, supernatural power that gives us strength, not as make-believe superheroes, but as children of the Most High God.
When we place our trust in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, we are immediately indwelt by His Holy Spirit. The same power that raised Jesus from death to life now resides in us! He promised that we would be “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 23:49), and that power is available to us 24/7, 365 days each week.
Christians have been given the power to live a supernatural life. We receive supernatural power to hope even in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation . . . to love even someone who is utterly unlovable . . . and to find peace even in the midst of the most violent storm. This is real, superhuman strength that has been given to us to lift us above the challenges of daily living and to put the Gospel on display.
Moses was given this strength when God sent him back into Egypt to confront Pharaoh. Daniel was given this strength in the lion’s den. Esther was given this strength to petition the king without an invitation. John the Baptist was given this strength to be a voice crying out in the wilderness. Paul was given this strength to fight the good fight of faith and finish his race. Every hero in the Scriptures was endowed by God with supernatural strength to do everything God was calling him or her to do. Several of these heroes are enshrined in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.
One last thought: there really is only one great Hero, and all of Scripture testifies to His greatness. If we see the giants of the Christian faith as superheroes, we will have a tendency to want to look like them and try to be like them. Now, that’s not a bad thing, but it is not what God wants us to do! That’s because very hero of Scripture points to the one true Superhero: His name is Jesus Christ. And we are to fix our eyes on Him.
I genuinely enjoyed Age of Ultron, but there’s an even better story, a much more powerful and captivating one that should lift our hearts every day, stirring us on to love and good works. Sally Lloyd Jones’ marvelous children’s Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, summarizes it beautifully:
[The Bible is] an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescue the one he loves.
This young Hero, this brave Prince, this is the One we are to look to, follow, and reflect on as we receive His strength and live out our lives in His power for His glory, moment by moment.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!