This morning we have been thinking about heros. Who is your favourite hero? Here’s one of mine. Can you guess his name? “This mighty-muscled, super-powered strongman can single-handedly rescue a little old lady’s cat from a tree while apprehending bank robbers – and along with Elastigirl, a super heroine with amazing stretchability, protect all the citizens of the great city Municiberg. Mr Incredible. I wonder who your favourite super-hero is? Can you guess the three most popular super-heros of all time? Superman is #3. He was created in 1938. Batman is #2. He was created in 1939. But the youngest of the three super-heros and currently the most popular is Spider-Man, created in 1962.
Why are we so attracted to heros? Why do many people seem to prefer fictional super-heros who save the world from evil? And why do we seem to need new heros like Mr Incredible to replace those who have faded in popularity? Does a society where evil and injustice is unknown seem like a dream? Can we really imagine a place where crying, and pain, and death and mourning will ever cease? Is hope to be packed away, like the super-heroes in the movies, along with the Christmas tree and decorations on the 12th night? No, because the long promised hope that became human that first Christmas is more powerful and long lasting than all our super-heros combined.
What have we learnt about Jesus this morning? What makes a real H-E-R-0?
Help the helpless
Engage and defeat the forces of evil
Rescue lost sinners
Order back into God’s universe
Jesus came to:
Rescue God’s world from evil
Redeem God’s children for heaven
Restore God’s rule for ever
The Angels – remind us we have a saving hero
The Shepherds – remind us we have a suffering hero
The Kings – remind us we serve a sovereign hero
And, like the angels, shepherds and kings, the Bible tells us that we who follow Jesus Christ have a purpose driven mission, a calling and destiny more awesome and more captivating than even that of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl.
Our powers may not be as spectacular but we have been given the Holy Spirit of God who is transforming us into God’s children. That makes us – through the power of God – more than equal to any task, more than conquerors, to use St Paul’s words.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:36-38)
As long as there are hungry ones, lonely ones, poor ones, as long as there are sick people or imprisoned people, abused or marginalised people we have work to do. As long as evil reigns we have a mission to fulfil. As long as injustice exists we have a Gospel to proclaim. As long as people remain captive to sin, we have a Saviour’s love to share. We are not called to “save the day” or overcome the world – Christ has already done it. We are not even called to bring in the new heaven and the new earth – for that is His role, but we are called to join the family business.
We are to use the talents and gifts God has given us to show a sceptical world that Jesus is the ultimate hero worth following and that through Jesus, God is building his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
And if you are not sure of God’s will for your life, if you need more information about Jesus in order to decide whether to serve him, then talk to one of our staff team after the service. Pick up one of the booklets on the meaning of Christmas from the table, and join us for our next Christianity Explored course starting Thursday 5th February.
Join us next week and every Sunday in 2009 to find out more about the incredible, supernatural life God wants to live in and through you. God’s will to create and redeem will not be stopped. Hope will not be suppressed. Justice will prevail. Peace will come. If we live in this way there may be ridicule, there will certainly be hardship and possibly even imprisonment – but, like the Incredibles, when at last we lay down our lives we will know we have fulfilled our mission and will be ready to serve our hero in eternity to the glory of God in the highest. Lets pray.
Listen to this talk here