Superheroes are fascinating. Whether we’re caught up in the pages of a book, comic or glued to a screen, there is something about these flawed individuals and their powers that captivate us. Have you ever wondered why?
Superheroes in movies
One thing I love about God is the way you can find clues of spiritual truth in almost everything around us. My examples aren’t classic Marvel/DC superheroes, but hear me out.
The movie Avatar, for example; Jake Sully’s body is a broken wreck, yet in his avatar, he runs, climbs, mounts and rides a flying ikran… He is free and unlimited. Watching that movie made my heart pound because the Bible speaks of our bodies as seeds compared to the heavenly body we’ll have one day. Think acorn versus oak tree. We are currently living the acorn life without a clue what it will be like to be a fully functioning oak tree. We are Jake Sully, in our frail, fragile flesh, with bones that break and immune systems that fail. Nothing like the spiritual bodies we will have one day. Superheroes give us a glimpse into oak tree-living. (1 Corinthians 15:42-45)
Or what about the scene in The Lord of the Rings when Aragorn calls the oathbreakers to fulfil their oath and come to the aid of the king at Helm’s Deep? Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli commandeer the enemy’s ships and disembark to face a living sea of their worst nightmare. Their enemies laugh seeing the three of them on the riverbank so ridiculously outnumbered. But our boys are not alone – and the oathbreakers soon wipe the grins off the ugly orc faces. When we face the enemy, he laughs and mocks just as the orcs did. But we don’t stand alone and the One who fights for us has already disarmed the enemy and made a public spectacle of him. Watching that part of the movie gives me goosebumps. Every. Single. Time. (Colossians 2:15)
So what does all this mean for you and I? I’m not suggested we tie sheets around our necks and leap off buildings, but it is worth investigating some of the crazy stuff that happened to people in the Bible when the Holy Spirit got involved.
Superpowers in the Bible
“For what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.”
—2 Corinthians 4:18
In Acts 8, we read about Philip and the eunuch. The eunuch was reading about Jesus from writings of the prophet Isaiah. He couldn’t make sense of it, but he was curious enough to take Philip up on his offer to explain it all. After that Philip baptised him in some water and when they came up out of the water, verse 39 tells us, ‘the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again’ (emphasis mine). That sounds like a good special effect, but it really happened.
There’s the well-known story of Peter walking on water. Talk about bending the laws of physics. Jesus Himself was out on the lake for a stroll and was going to pass the boat by when Peter spotted him. Cheeky as always, Peter told Jesus to call him out of the boat so he could walk on water too. Who knows whether he was bluffing or not, but Jesus –being Jesus- held out a hand and said that one word, ‘Come.’ Peter actually did it. For a moment or two he walked on water. And then he took his eyes off Jesus, saw the waves and took his annual dip in the lake.
Paul and Silas sang some off-key worship songs in the middle of the night and all the cells in a jail rattled open. Daniel’s buddies were thrown into a furnace so hot, the heat alone should have shrivelled them before they even touched a single flame and walked out unharmed – not even smelling like smoke. I don’t know about you, but these sound like superhero stories to me. Yet they were all ordinary folk who believed what God said to them. God wrote the laws of nature, He is quite capable of ignoring them when He wants to.
On the other side of the spectrum are spiritual gifts – words of knowledge, the gift of discernment, encouragement, faith, the working of miracles and more. He can show you things about people and situations you couldn’t know by yourself. These are not natural gifts that come as part of the DNA package you inherited from your parents. They come to us supernaturally from God Himself.
That’s all very well, but can we expect God to do such wild things with us?
I believe we can. But just as superheroes are given their powers for a purpose, God will unlock things for us as we begin doing what He’s created us to do. Our collective purpose, the point of everything we do is to point people to their Creator. He is the One who made them in the first place and His heart is to heal brokenness, restore and make right all the wrongs.
Within that big purpose, we find ourselves and our uniqueness, our specific callings and gifts… our own good works that were created in advance for us to do, individuals who God hand-picked for us to shine His light to. As we recognise, step up and own those things, He will give us whatever tools, weapons and abilities we need to get the job done. Some will be natural and others will be 100% special-effect-jaw-dropping-superhero-supernatural.
I don’t know about you, but I’m up for some of that. Our world is broken and it’s going to take supernatural power straight from our Heavenly Father to rescue and redeem.
So… what’s your superhero name going to be?
“Affinity is a creative and original play on old concepts, and if you’re willing to take the ride, you’ll find it goes places.”
— Lorehaven Magazine
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