May 19, 2012 in Person of Christ
*Psalm 28:8 “The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.”
When it comes to movies, why is it that we root for certain characters and hope for the downfall of others? We find ourselves wishing we could be like the heroes in our books and live the lives of adventure. Have you ever just asked yourself why you like those particular characters?
The answer is summed up by one word: characterization…
A strong plot may entertain you, but you’ll soon grow bored without a strong central hero you can root for. In order to do so, we have to be able to relate to the hero; he must have common struggles we know all too well. I recently watched the latest blockbuster hit The Avengers, and I was blown away by the level of characterization in that film. Each hero had common life struggles, but they each found out how to overcome them and battle evil together. Each hero had his/her own unique personality which made us laugh, made us admire, and made us want to imitate them.
After the movie you find yourself imagining what it would be like to have the powers they had, to experience the fame they had, and to make such a difference as they did; in the end you couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like to actually be that important, a hero to the world.
But what if the world of superheroes were real? What if there really were that cape wearing, life saving, masked crusader darting to a fro in the skies with the sole purpose of ridding evil once and for all?
The hero isn’t quite as silly so as to wear his underwear over a poor choice of tights, but he was the king of theatrics, the likes of which would make superman seem like a mere amateur pyrotechnic. Yes I’m talking about Jesus. The characterization of Jesus is not a script or role but of real life. He was from humble beginnings, of an early humble career, and someone who was a friend to everyone that was well aquatinted with struggles, hardship, and defeat; they were the rejects of society. He was their hero…
His superpower was the ability to heal. He healed afflictions, repaired hands, legs, and eyes; he even put life back into the dead. Most importantly he defeated the Dark Lord in a most epic battle, not with weapons but with his very own life. Our superhero gave up his life to gain the power to give more than physical repair; by doing so He gained a new superpower, the power to give life to men’s souls. Oh but this tale of the only real superhero didn’t end with His descent to Hades, but by His own power and with the Father he used His abilities as giver of life to raise Himself from the dead thus grasping completely the power to save men from doom and gloom and carry them into the presence of the Creator of the universe. Christ our hero snatched us from the grip of Satan, and now in His hand Satan is unable to steal us back; we are secure!
Now track with me back to this notion of characterization. We see in the story of Christ that there were those who loved Christ, and then there were those who despised him and plotted to bring him down; they were even successful in turning Christ’s followers against Him. This sounds like so many of the plot structures of the recent superhero movies. So what was it about Christ’s character that lead to both love and hate from those He was among? The answer is the singular word desire. Christ desired to repair the broken relationship between God and man that sin had ripped apart. The common people desired freedom from all forms of oppression. The disciples desired the truth about what true religion and service to God was. Satan desired to stop the work of Christ so as steal glory from God. The societal leaders desired to remain the heroes, no matter how corrupt they were. Christ is the champion of justice, for God is purely just. (James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”) Christ came from the heavens to save man from our own injustice and all the guilt it brought. (much like the story of Thor- How amazingly more great is the ancient, continuing, and true story of the work of the only true God Yahweh). Satan is the wicked villain of this world and Christ is the Hero which has saved us if we so choose. But why do so many hate this hero Jesus? Their desire for all the delicacies Satan dangles in front of them (You might remember the metaphoric illustration from Narnia) lure them into lifestyles that the light of Christ show to be wicked. So instead of turning and changing under the kingship of Christ, they take on a mission to push the influence of Christ from their presence. For where there is no light, there is no guilt felt in darkness.
So what is the character of Christ that leads his followers to love Him so dearly and desire to imitate Him in all aspects? It can be summed up by the Fruit of the Spirit which is the very Spirit of Christ: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Take these characteristics and add the infinite power of life which only the Creator of the universe could wield and this is the characterization of Christ. Imagine having such a superhero here on earth to protect us. We do! And this will especially be made manifest when the millennium comes, Christ will rule in the flesh.
If you find yourself in company with the Pharisees in wanting to rid society of the notion of Christ, like so many do, then ask yourself: “What exactly are the desires of my heart that would lead me to despise a man whose character is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness?” You naturally despise Him because you are born as a child of Satan and sin nature is automatically added to you (John 8:34). Your heart is naturally wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Awake you sleeper (Eph 5:14)! You need transformation. Finally I will say this, the characterization of Christ that is love and goodness is not open to interpretation; the Creator of the universe defines what it means to truly love and what is truly good; the created do not have the ability to tell the Creator what is right.
The characterization of Christ is incredible and perfect! Therefore we are to be imitators. How often did you walk out of a movie wanting to be just like the hero? Now is your chance because the hero is real and the Spirit that makes such transformation possible is at work within all who bend the knee to King Jesus…
We are all called to be sidekicks.