The ultimate hero
We live in what can arguably be called the golden age of superhero movies. For more than 10 years now, the silver screen has been annually graced by multiple multi-million-dollar superhero blockbusters. Currently, two of the top ten grossing films of all time, not adjusted for inflation, are superhero movies. Why have superheroes been so consistently popular on the movie screens for more than a decade now? How is it that the popularity of superheroes has manifested in many different television shows as well? What is it about superheroes that people love so much? What is it about heroes in general that people love so much? Undoubtedly, there are many different reasons as to why people love heroes. Perhaps it is their noble ideals and actions which inspire people and draws their affection. I can’t speak for all, but there appear to be some universal heroic qualities that endear heroes to us, the world over. Namely, it is that heroes are able to be and do what others can’t, they abide by exemplary standards, and they are self-sacrificial.
Seemingly, one of the principle heroic qualities that arouses our affection is that heroes are able to be and do what we can’t. Who, after watching Batman give of his life, money, and resources to save lives, doesn’t wish he could do the same? How many people’s imaginations have been captured by dreams of being able to help people in this way? Alas, limited by our real-world mortality and human limitations, we realize that to replicate the actions seen onscreen is beyond our capabilities. Nevertheless, the desire to be able to help others in some immediate, tangible way persist, and it is reinforced every time one watches another heroic movie or reads a heroic book.
We are also often inspired by a hero's ability to abide by exemplary standards. Whether it is Batman’s position against using guns or Superman’s commitment to never kill, seeing people so resolute in their convictions is awe-inspiring. Who among us hasn’t wished to be more resolute in abiding by his own convictions; instead of acquiescing under pressure? How often do we see steadfast moral character onscreen and wish it was more prevalent in our own world?
Additionally, heroes tend to be incredibly self-sacrificial. Perhaps we forget it, but heroes don’t get paid for spending their time and risking their lives for the benefit of others. To engage in such conduct requires a tremendous amount of selflessness. While others are using their abilities to benefit and further themselves, heroes use their abilities to benefit others. I believe it is these consistent qualities that so often endear heroes to our hearts: their ability to be and do what we can’t, to abide by exemplary standards, and to live self-sacrificial lives.
Oh, how often have people wished heroes were real? How often have people wished they could be that hero? We do have heroes that serve our community; such as many of the police, firefighters, and military personal whose jobs are focused on serving others. We can and should appreciate these everyday heroes who are present in our society. Although people get older, grow up, and realize that heroes from movies and myths don’t exist in our world, I feel that many still harbor a secret, small longing for them anyways. What is amazing is that there is a hero who lived, and still lives, that embodied these heroic qualities better than any superhero of man’s imagination ever could. That is the God-man, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was able to be and do what we couldn’t in regards to our most significant flaw, our sin. He was able to live the perfect, righteous life that we aren't able to, and he suffered the punishment for our sin that we deserved in order that God could declare us righteous in his sight.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:3-4
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” – 1 Peter 2:24-25
We could never have lived that perfect life, being born sinners as we are. However, Jesus was able to be what we couldn’t be, perfect and holy, in order to do what we couldn’t do, fix our relationship with God.
Jesus also lived a life resolutely abiding by exemplary standards. Whereas our superheroes might waver in some of their conviction, Jesus never wavered in his commitment to righteousness and doing the Father’s will.
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’” – Matthew 26:39
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:21-23
Jesus never sinned nor compromised with it. He resolutely stood fast with those perfect standards of righteousness in order that he could die the death we deserved to redeem us to himself.
Jesus also embodied a perfectly self-sacrificial life. His primary focus while on earth was to do the will of the Father, which involved our redemption.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:3-8
My friends, in the midst of our admiration of heroes and heroic ideals, let us never forget that there was a true hero, a perfect hero, an ultimate hero who lived, Jesus Christ. He, to a perfect degree, abided by exemplary standards and lived a self-sacrificial life, in order to be what we couldn’t be and do what we couldn’t do. Through his death, he saved millions, if not billions, of people not from physical death, but from spiritual death. He is the ultimate hero who lives and reigns still, sitting on His throne in heaven and yearning for His people to be with him. Let us set our eyes on the ultimate hero , our savior and lord Jesus Christ!