In RnR, we’re doing a mini series comparing Superman and Jesus and we’ve seen how they have quite a bit in common. Like people in the Old Testament point to Jesus, Superman does the same thing – he points to the most incredible hero of the world…
HOPE FOR A WORLD IN NEED
The character of Superman was created to bring hope to a nation in despair. He was imagined by two Jewish men who lived in America in the 1930s. Sorry if you’re not that into history but bear with me for just a second… The 1930’s was a stressful time. America was suffering the depression from the wall street crash in 1929 (where the stock exchanges broke and the dollar became extremely weak). There was no money, lots of poverty and abounding unemployment. Families had little hope, businesses had little hope. While this was happening, the Nazis were gaining more power by the day and WWII was looming. In the midst of all this despair, a superhero emerged who wore the colours of the country to raise spirits and provide hope.
Similarly in first century Israel, Jesus brought hope to a people in need. Politically speaking, things were bad. God’s people (Israel) had been taken over and were being ruled by the Romans. Financially, they were having to pay taxes to Caesar (a foreign leader) through a corrupt system. The only hope Israel had was for the messiah God had told them was coming. Jesus wasn’t who they expected, but he was exactly what they needed. He wasn’t just the saviour for God’s people but the saviour for the whole world. He fulfilled everything that had gone before, and changed the future forever. He was the prophesied messiah and bringer of true hope.
Superman’s Kryptonian name is Kal-El. This is a bit strange at first glance, but has a very cool deeper meaning. The ‘El’ part is what God’s people used to refer to God in Hebrew. Names for God like Elohim (meaning Justice) and a name for Jesus is Emmanuel (meaning God with us) Even the creators of Superman knew God was the only hope!
Like Superman’s father (Jor-El) sent Kal-El to Earth, God the Father sent His son, Jesus to earth.
[biblegateway passage=”JOHN 1:14″ display=”JOHN 1:14″]
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighbourhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
SYMBOLS OF HOPE
In ‘Man of Steel’, Superman shares with Lois Lane, that the ‘S’ logo isn’t an S but on his home planet of Krypton, it is a symbol for hope.
In a world which currently seems to be struggling under the oppression of terrorism, natural disasters, outbreaks of pandemic diseases, we have a hope that is stronger and more powerful than any darkness. His name is Jesus. Jesus is our hope. Jesus is the one true thing we can always rely on. He’s the one truth in this world that can save us, can heal us, can restore us, can give us fresh starts. Despite all the darkness in the world, God is on the move in extraordinary ways. In RnR, I shared a couple of testimonies. One of God healing cancer and one of a little boy with severe behavioural issues being healed. To read more of these, check out this site: ibethel.org/testimonies
Jesus was parented by Mary and Joseph, likewise Superman was raised by human parents too – Jonathan and Martha. Superman grew up as a normal child, occasionally making scenes by using his powers in public. We don’t know much about Jesus’ life until he was 30, but we can assume he lived a fairly ordinary life as a carpenter, occasionally wowing people with his authority, like in the temple when he was a teenager. But generally not many people knew he was the son of God.
Both Jesus and Clark (Superman) lived among humans, experiencing what we experience. Both gave hope to humans because they knew what it was like to live as a human.
But then things changed…
After talking to his father about who he really was, Superman decided to step into his destiny. He donned the suit and after spending a while in the desert perfecting his powers, revealed himself to the world and started saving people in public.
we have an innate need for a saviour
Jesus, after being baptised and spending 40 days in the desert, came back and started a ministry where his teaching brought understanding and meaning that the world hasn’t ever been able to improve on. He performed miracles that science cannot explain… Still! For example, touching a woman’s hand and a fever leaving her, raising people from the dead, walking on water, changing water into wine. He was a force for good, and without doubt the most incredible and powerful person that has ever walked the planet.
The last similarity I want to pick up on here is that both Superman and Jesus have a big decision to make over the fate of their lives. About half way through the film ‘Man of Steel’, Captain Zod (Superman’s enemy), invades Earth and threatens to destroy the planet to turn it into a new Krypton. Captain Zod gives the world a chance to be saved by Superman handing himself over as ransom which would most probably lead to his death, he has a decision to make… In a similar way, we find Jesus praying this prayer in the garden of Gethsemane: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”” [biblegateway passage=”Matthew 26:39″ display=”MATTHEW 26:39″]
Can you think of any more similarities? Comment below with your ideas!!
AND HERE’S WHERE THEY DIFFER…
So there are quite a few ways in which Superman points to Jesus, but Jesus was completely different to Superman. At the end of the day, and I hate to break it to you, but Superman is just a character who has only existed in magazines and screens. Jesus actually walked the Earth, Jesus actually lived, breathed, gave up his life for the sake of the universe. But here are some other differences we came up with in small groups –
- Superman came to our planet because his planet was being destroyed
- Jesus came to HIS planet because it was being destroyed
- Superman wanted to be seen
- Jesus wanted (wants) to be believed
- Superman was a bit of a show off – handsome, wore a flashy suit, flew around
- There was nothing about Jesus’ appearance that made him physically attractive (Isaiah 53)
- Superman saved the human race from an enemy that was going to kill everyone.
- Jesus came and saved the human race from death. He made a way for us to live with Him FOREVER. [biblegateway passage=”JOHN 3:16″ display=”JOHN 3:16″]
We humans love superhero stories, we love the hope it brings the way it lifts our spirits. Why? Because I believe we have an innate need for a saviour, an innate need for Jesus.
At the end of the day, Jesus isn’t just a superhero alien from another planet, he was fully God and fully man. What he did on the cross changed the world forever. It paid our ticket into heaven, into reality.