“…..that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an Avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:6)
If we could be honest, certain sections of scripture can be like reading through the phone book. The endless genealogies, architectural plans, Levitical laws at times make you want to just flip the page (if Christians did such things!) I recently hit a rough patch reading about the building of the wall in Nehemiah when this verse caught my eye: “Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes” (Nehemiah 3:16)
What is this “House of Heroes”?! Most commentaries believe it was where the great King David housed his “Mighty Men”. How cool is that?! I believe God is rebuilding the House of Heroes. Have you ever noticed our society has an insatiable appetite for hero stories? I mean think about it; you have Batman, Iron Man, Kung-fu Panda. Whoever you are, we love it all!
I read a statistic that said the Marvel Comic franchise grossed 11 billion dollars from 2009-2017 and that doesn’t include the recent blockbuster smash hits: Black Panther or the latest Thor and Spider-Man sequels. Hollywood is tapping into the deep longing of the human soul; let’s look at it a little deeper.
1) WE LONG TO LIVE HEROIC LIVES. I believe this longing is hard-wired in our DNA. It’s why people obsess over video games and fantasy. We read in Genesis 2 that God creates man, places him in the Garden and says “cultivate it and keep it”. The Hebrew word is literally “defend it” or “protect it”. My first question would have been, “protect it from what!!??” We find out later a deceiving serpent is present in the garden to destroy the beauty and harmony between God and man. The man would fail miserably, so God sent a Superhero who would undo all that was lost in the Garden. Before our Hero ascends to the right hand of God, He charges us, “Go and make disciples”. Jesus sends us out on a rescue mission… rescuing people from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light.
2) WE ALL WONDER IF WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES. Isn’t it crazy to see how many different superheroes there are with totally different powers? Some can fly, some are fast, and some are strong. God has given each of us a unique gift, skill, and talent designed to bring glory to God and help people. You have a gift, and you are a gift. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10)
All Superheroes have strengths and weaknesses, but when they work together… well, you get “The Avengers” right? We all have strengths and weaknesses too and when you put all these gifts together, you get “The Church!” Jesus assures us, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against us!” (Matthew 16:18)
3) WE ALL LONG FOR A SAVIOR. If you pay attention, any and every successful movie has the same storylines and themes: sacrifice, redemption, and reconciliation. We can’t get enough of these because, at the deepest level, that’s our story. The Gospel story is that of the sacrificial death of Jesus redeeming us and reconciling us back to the Father. At the cross, our HERO, Jesus Christ was absorbing the penalty for sin, and one day He will return to remove the very presence of sin! But that’s the sequel which is COMING SOON!