Cosmic Heroes – Spiderman

  Inspirmedia   Oct 07, 2007     0 Comment

October 7, 2007

Bible Text: Luke 12:48 |

Theme Scripture:


NIV Luke 12:48 From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.





We live in a scary world.  We long for safety and security.  We hedge ourselves against disaster … but life is ultimately beyond our control.  If only some more-than-human power would set the world right.  If only someone could walk beside us to see us through the perils of life, someone genuinely good and supremely strong.  And so we look for heroes.  Athletes, but they don’t make any difference in the real world.  Political leaders, but up on a pedestal their clay feet become obvious.  Doctors, cops, firefighters, even moms and dads … but they fail us too.  So we turn to heroes of the fictional variety, super-heroes … but where real flesh-and-blood heroes weren’t big enough or strong enough, super-heroes just plain and simple aren’t real enough.


We need a hero who is both real and super.  A Deliverer; Someone to save us from injustice and suffering. You know where I’m going … but this month we’re going to let Marvel and DC Comics take us there. These super-hero stories seem to whisper of God’s plan for us, they hint at the ultimate real Super-hero. Like the mythical heroes, He too came from humble beginnings – not Aunt May and Uncle Ben, but of Joseph and Mary.  He was the God-man, with amazing abilities and powers beyond mere mortals.  He became renowned for standing up for truth and justice, and performed amazing feats.  He commanded the weather, cast out demons, raised the dead.  He was considered a menace to the authorities, and fought epic battles with our greatest enemy, the first, the scariest, the powerful Satan – the first villain to plot world domination.  And He was successful – the Greatest Super-hero of all time!


Let’s get started.  Let’s begin with one of the most famous super-heroes – none other than Spider-man himself!


VIDEO #1 (1 min):  Spidey 1 Chapter 3 Peter Parker gets bit


And so Peter Parker gets bit - gets bit by the love bug as he snaps pictures of the lovely and gracious Mary Jane, and gets bit by that horrible radio-active spider – that will give you the heeby jeebies. - and it was that second bite that gave him the powers of Spider-man.  But having the powers, and knowing what to do with them … that’s a whole different story.  It takes a while, but by recalling the wise words of his uncle Ben, Peter figures out what these strange new powers are really for.


VIDEO #2 (1.5 min):  Spidey 1 Chapter 13/14 Peter recalls the words of his uncle Ben and then begins to help others who are in need


With great power comes great responsibility.  I wonder where Uncle Ben got that line.  I wonder if it’s true.


NIV Luke 12:48 From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.


You’ve been given much!


NIV Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!


Wow – you’ve been given much!  Peter Parker was destined for greatness – he was snatched from obscurity – he had no choice in the matter.  He didn’t want to become Spider-man – he was chosen and given the powers of Spider-man.  I would say the same about you – you were snatched from the jaws of hell, not by some random chance, but by the specific act of God Himself who died for you … personally!  You’ve been chosen!  You’ve been destined to be a child of the God of the Universe because … just because.  Because He loves you and has chosen you.  You’ve been saved!  Saved to serve, as God says:


NIV 1 Corinthians 12:4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them ineveryone. all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.


NIV 1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.


Ahh, yes, this is great news.  This is fun.  Life doesn’t get any better than this!  Being saved by Jesus. Serving others and seeing the satisfaction on their faces.  Who could ask for anything more?  Right.  But. There’s always a but.  Sometimes a big but.  But to serve Jesus, sometimes you’ve got to give up stuff, important stuff, good stuff, lovely stuff, valuable stuff.  To serve Jesus means you’ve got to make huge sacrifices.


VIDEO CLIP #3 (3.5 min):  Spidey 1 Chap 28 – Spidey gives up MJ so he can serve others and sacrifice himself


That’s noble, that’s valiant, and maybe Spidey even knows the words of Jesus, the truth of what Jesus said:


NIV Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.


Yeah, that’s great.  True.  But it’s hard.  Sometimes really really hard.


It’s hard to look that vacation to Colorado in the eye … and say goodbye … because you want to enroll your kid in Christ Schools next year.  It’s hard to come home from a long day at work and not just grab a beer and plop down in the chair … but head out to play with the kids and fix their toys.  It’s hard to look at that dual-income-no-kids lifestyle … and read the Scriptures about children being a blessing from the Lord … and make the choice to take that blessing … because it means giving up so many other blessings that you’ve come to love.  It’s hard to look that knight in shining armor in the eye and say hey, you know what, I love Jesus and you don’t and so it’s either Jesus or you, and I’m choosing Jesus.  I look at that, and I weigh it out … and sometimes it’s a real burden to follow Jesus.  Sometimes it’s a real burden to have been given much. Sometimes it’s a real burden to have been chosen.  Sometimes I want out:


VIDEO CLIP #4 (2 min):  Spidey 2 Chap 26 – Peter Parker rejects the Spiderman persona


It feels so good to go to the bar and just drink.  To hang out with the ladies and just gossip … uhh, I mean talk … about co-workers.  It just feels good, sooo good to not worry about what’s going on at that crazy church, to just walk in on Sunday and soak in the next thing at Room211 – to not worry about saying hi to people I don’t know and to forget putting away those stinkin’ chairs and to just block my ears when that preacher talks about tithing – it’s my money and I’ll do what I want with it!  Man that feels good!  Holy beep, you know, I’ve spent way too much time worrying about everybody else and not looking out for number one.  It’s about time that changes!


That works out fine for Peter Parker for a while, but then, as with us, things begin to go south.  He hears some girl screaming from a burning building, and somewhere from deep down inside comes the urge to save her.  He does, in his own strength, but misses another kid in the building.


 NIV Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.


As time progresses he realizes the truth of Jesus’ words – well, Peter Parker never quotes Jesus, you understand – but the truth of Jesus’ words comes out in his life – he discovers that life lived for himself is ultimately empty, that life lived for himself is actually a life that is slipping away.  He determines to become Spider-man again.  Yeah!


VIDEO CLIP #5 (1 min):  Spidey 2  Chap 36  - Peter Parker tries to do good things, and falls flat on his face


Turns out that Spider-power isn’t something that Peter Parker can just turn on at will.  Turns out that Spidey-power is different than Parker-power … Peter can’t just decide to become Spider-man again.  Peter Parker doesn’t control Spidey.  Spidey controls Peter.


ON SCREEN BUT NOT SPOKEN  NIV Luke 12:48 From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.


Same thing is true of Jesus-power.  The power to do great things in the name of Jesus, the power to take on great responsibility, well, it’s given to you – it’s not yours – it’s His.  You don’t control Him.  He controls you. You’ve been given much.  It’s now who you are.  You can deny it for a while.  You can run away for a while.  But I’m sorry – it’s who you are.  You are His.


More than 2500 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah felt just like Peter Parker, felt just like me.  He was sick and tired of serving God, he was bummed out that God had called him.  But look what he discovered:


NIV Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, "I will not mention him God or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.


ON SCREEN BUT NOT SPOKEN  NIV Luke 12:48 From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.


Don’t fight it.  Give in.  You’ve been gifted.  Gifted with eternal life.  Gifted with many and various talents, with faith, with finances, with time, with so much.


Check out Peter Parker – he reverses course.  He gives way to Spider-man.  He accomplishes huge things – the saving of the planet from the evil Dr. Ock.  And guess what – in a wonderful twist of fate, he winds up getting Mary Jane as well.  You see, once he was willing to sacrifice her, to live out his calling as Spidey … well, he was able to live out his calling and he got the girl too!  That’s Hollywood … but it’s also what St. Paul praises God for in his letter to the Christians living in Ephesus:


NIV Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,


VIDEO CLIP #6 (1 min):  Spidey 2 Chap 51 – Spidey swings away to his next assignment, full of the joy of the Spirit … and guess what, God gave Him MJ as well!


Let’s pray…

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