What is the attraction of superheroes? Comic book based TV shows and movies are killing it right now. Non-comic geeks can tell you the origins of Batman, Superman, and Spiderman. What’s the allure?
Most of them have secret identities, a double life, one average but when duty calls they suit up. They look like anyone else, but are something greater. We live vicariously through them, aspiring to be something more.
Even up to my twenties, I would draw myself as a superhero. Usually a small twist on a current character. I wanted to be something more. These thoughts returned as I watched Man of Steel.
I wanted to be Superman, nothing could hurt him, really. He was a good guy that you could count on. Wolverine was a favorite for a long time, rough and tough, no one messed with him. Despite his demons, he had a heart of gold underneath.
Spiderman, witty and smart; he’s just fun and dealt with real life as well as supervillains. A relatable character, with a lot of bad luck, yet he persevered.
If you know me, then you know I love Batman. Why? Because he’s good at EVERYTHING! A genius, top fighter, has a plan for everything, doesn’t stop, and just plain, frickin’ cool! He’s complex, and honestly, very scarred. Still he does good. It’s his mission.
I’m growing almost as fond of Captain America as I am of Batman. Chris Evans’ portrayal is so endearing; he’s just so unbelievably good and honest. A good-hearted runt that became more. Like Superman is to DC, Cap is the moral center of the Marvel Universe.
What do these teach us?
Despite tragedy, they do good, they persevere, whether their world exploded, family died, or like Wolverine, everyone they love dies while he lives. They help stop it from happening to others. Where you could easily crawl into a hole deep inside yourself, they refused to.
The world is a harsh place. It’s also good and beautiful. They preserve the beautiful. A cause is good. However, the center of the cause should be people. It’s more than a concept; it’s a reality. I watch broken people who have emerged from their trials, helping other broken people every week. They bring a double-edged sword that is experience and empathy. They’ve been there.
Jesus gave the disciples and Christians today the Great Commission.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
That’s the cause. The center is people, though. Look at the second greatest commandment.
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39 NIV
So who is the neighbor? Jesus was asked that.
“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29 NIV
The answer was the parable of the good Samaritan. To sum it up, he made the questioner answer his own question.
““Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10: 36-37 NIV
The past is the springboard to the future. First, climb out of yourself. Then start helping people up. We may not have superpowers, but we can make a difference. It’s about people, help one and their world is changed. Now suit up and go.