Insights from Superman and Jesus

Superman-s-symbol

One fan favorite of super hero comics is Superman.  More than any other superhero, the Superman story resembles the Gospels. If you haven’t heard the story, it goes something like this.

From above, father Jor-el sends his son Kal-el as a baby to earth

Like God the Father sent His Son Jesus to this world. By the way, El is Hebrew for God.

Kal-el was sent in a star-like space ship

Similar to Christ’s first coming that was heralded by a star.

When he came, he was raised by two earthly parents who were originally named Joseph and Mary (later Jonathan and Martha).

Jesus was raised by two earthly parents, Joseph and Mary.

When Kal-el comes of age, he visits the artic wilderness to speak with his father’s spirit.

Like Jesus’ visit to the wilderness.

Thereafter, Kal-el (earthly name is Clark) embraces his mission as Superman to fight for truth and justice.

Similar to Jesus’ mission.

Superman’s mortal enemy is Lex, who envies His power.

Like Satan who wanted to be like God.

Superman came back to life after being put to death as per a 1992 comic book called The Death of Superman.

Like Jesus rose from the dead.

Well Superman may be a bit like Jesus, but is Jesus anything like Superman? I think there are at least three implications for Christians from Superman or superhero stories.

1. Jesus is incomparable to fiction or myth

As seen above, there are similarities, but there are also incomparable differences.

  • Jesus is real. Superman and any other superhero or gods are either myth or fiction.
  • Jesus’ death achieved something amazing. When He died, He died as our atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He died in our place. He died our death. When He rose, He earned the right to give us life (1 Peter 1:3).
  • Neither superman nor any other person in real life or fiction can take away our sins, and give life eternal. Only Jesus can. He is the true messiah; He is the true Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).

2. The Superman story can help you talk about Jesus

Given the similarities, some have used Superman’s story as a parable or an illustration to teach about Jesus. When the movie Superman returns (2006) was set to hit theaters,  some churches used it as an opportunity to share about Jesus. I know friends who did likewise. I know friends who wouldn’t do likewise.

Given how much Superman’s story resembles the story of Jesus, I think it’s great to try and use every opportunity to point people to Him. Of course we should share with them that Jesus took away our sins. He died our death. No one else, neither Superman nor any other person could have done it.

3. Don’t let superheroes take your attention off Jesus

I like super hero comics, and I know some of you do too. But let’s recognize this. Satan can turn harmless things into harmful things. If Satan can take away our attention from Jesus, using superman, superheroes or any other thing for that matter, he has set up false gods, false messiahs for people to follow.

Satan can make things appear more beautiful, attractive, and desirous than Jesus. He has been doing that from the very beginning. He convinced Eve that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her” (Genesis 3:6).

He is doing it today. Sometimes, people find super heroes more attractive than Jesus. Why wouldn’t they when super heroes are portrayed as not only standing for justice and truth, but also having popping biceps, flashing six packs, extremely good looks, and witty conversations?

Because Jesus isn’t portrayed that way, sometimes people find Jesus boring, and unappealing.

True, supers story lines may provide opportunities for sharing about Jesus. Equally, they may make sharing about Jesus challenging with people.

Nothing can compare to knowing Jesus

As Christians, let us use every opportunity to share about Jesus because He is the true Savior of the world. Let’s also remember and share with others that nothing can be compared to knowing Jesus. Paul said it this way.

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

We also need to do one more thing. To not allow anything to take away our focus on Jesus, let’s “keep our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

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