BY DEVON JUE
The body-tight spandex, the cape flowing in the wind, the mask to hide one’s identity, the inconceivable weapons and gadgets and the powers beyond normal human capabilities—we are all familiar with what characterizes a superhero but all these attributes of superheroes only exist to us as fantasies. Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Superman, the Green Lantern, Hiro Nakamura, and Jack Bauer are all confined to their glossy paper and screen-projected media due to their fictional nature.
What interests us the most are their fantastical, larger-than-life situations where they use their powers to put their lives on the line to protect the well-being of normal, law-abiding citizens like us. I mean, who else but the Incredibles are able to take down an indestructible, rampaging robot sent by Syndrome to sell “superpowers” to the public? But because of these grand portrayals, our expectations for those we recognize as heroes in our own lives are often too high. We take for granted the great teachers, DARE officers and YMCA counselors whom we never identified as heroes, but above all else, we forget our greatest hero of all, Jesus.
Savior and Redeemer, Son of God, Messiah, King of Kings, Alpha and Omega, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel: these are a few of the many titles of Jesus, but hero is not one of them. The word hero comes from the Greek word “heroes” which literally means “defender” or “protector.” When Jesus and his disciples were crossing the lake to Gadarenes by boat, a storm came and threatened their lives, but Jesus protected His disciples from drowning by calming the storm Himself (Matt. 8:23–26). Jesus also defended many people by casting out demons from those who were possessed (Matt. 15-32, Mark 1:34, Luke 9:37–42). Even now, it is in Jesus’ name we pray the Lord calm our storms in life and free us from our demons. But most of all, Jesus protects us all from the consequences of our own sins by dying for us on the cross and taking the burdens of our sins Himself.
But Jesus is no ordinary hero. He performed numerous miracles where He made the blind see (Matt. 9:27–30), the lame walk (Mark 2:2–12), the lepers well (Luke 17:11–14), the deaf hear and the mute speak (Mark 7:32–35), and raised the dead back to life (Matt. 9:23–25). Prior to His death, Jesus had even predicted His own death three times (Matt. 16:21–28, 17:23–24, 20:17–19), and at the time of His death and after, Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies made in the Old Testament about the Messiah. Not only was Jesus the living sacrifice for everyone’s sin, but He rose from the dead and later ascended to heaven to join His father as His right hand (John 20:1–20; Luke 24:50–51).
Jesus carries the characteristics of both a real-life hero and superhero:
He is not only a defender and a protector but He defies human capabilities and He sacrificed His own life for our well-being in the grandest situation where He proves that He is the one and only Messiah.
But what sets Him apart from all the other superheroes is that He is real. Jesus is the one and only real-life superhero that will ever exist, and what He did for us goes far beyond what any fictional superhero can ever do.