30 12 2018

Superman cross

Incarnation is a big theological word, and sadly, not a lot of Christians either use it, or know what it means. It does not refer to the same thing as the virgin birth, although Jesus entered this world by means of Mary giving birth to Him. Incarnation actually refers to the choices and the specific acts of a Pre-existent Divine Being, namely the Son of God, that the Son took and willingly made in order to become a human being. God literally locked himself inside the room of a limited human body. Miraculously, in a moment, Jesus became fully, truly human without ceasing at the same time to be fully, truly divine.

Divinity is not something Jesus acquired later in life, or even after his death and resurrection. According to the theology of Incarnation, Jesus had always been the Divine Son of God, and the Second Person of the Trinity. This was so, in eternity past, long before He became a human being. Strictly speaking, the name Jesus only applies to a human being. It is the name the Son of God acquired once he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Jesus is the Name above all names and He maintains it even to this day as he continues to be the God/Man.

We could continue to go down this track, but do so at your risk of getting a major headache. The finite can only go so far in attempting to comprehend the infinite. Without faith, it is impossible to please God because everyone who comes to the Lord must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We can actively look for the Lord without ever totally comprehending Him. Incarnation is not something that human beings can fully get their finite mental capacities wrapped around. Childlike faith involves processing the wonder of both miracle and mystery, and is frankly above our mental pay grade, even for the brightest amongst us.

That doesn’t mean however that we cannot at least for a moment stand in awe of the immensity of it all. God was so determined to save us from ourselves, He became the only One who wouldn’t mess it up by becoming one of us! Christmas tries to tell mankind that in the Presence of Jesus, we can discover the super power we lack. Forget the many faceted myriad of Marvel Comic Heroes; but when all is said and done, Jesus is the only true Super God left standing.

Did you know that Comic Book Icon, Superman was patterned after Jesus? Throughout the decades of Superman’s career, creators have drawn upon the Biblical narratives of Jesus and enveloped them into the mythology of Superman. Sometimes it happened intentionally and sometimes, perhaps, providentially. Either way, Superman has become a cultural road sign that can point people toward Jesus, like it or not.

Now, the number of parallels between Superman and Jesus are far too numerous to cover in one article; but I would like for you to consider the following pieces of evidence. Most of you know the story. Once, long ago, a rocket ship launched from the doomed planet Krypton and dove out of the sky landing on the humble property of Jonathan and Martha Kent. With mingled fascination and fear, they climb out of their Ford pickup truck to discover the ship’s tiny infant occupant.

Superman’s Kryptonian father’s name was Jor-El. El from the Hebrew from whence we get the title Elohim which is one of the Hebrew Names for God. This is not a coincidence since Superman was created by two young Jewish boys from Ohio. It was from Superman’s Kryptonian father that he would receive “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.” Yet he was raised as a step-son by Jonathan and Martha Kent who would adopt him and instill in him the ways of humanity. Scooping him up in her arms, Martha (who was originally named Mary in the comics) and Jonathan (whose middle name is Joseph) named their adopted son Clark Kent and raised him in a small town in the middle of nowhere where he would learn to work with his hands on his father’s farm. His father, Jonathan, would die while Clark was a teenager and it wouldn’t be until he was around thirty years old that Clark would make his first public appearance as Superman. This dual-identity (Clark Kent/Superman) has become an essential element in Superman mythology. I mean, who can forget the famous line from the George Reeves’ television series, right? “Superman…disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.”

No matter what role he might be in at any given time, this much is true. Clark Kent is Superman as much as Superman is Clark Kent. The two are really inseparable. He is fully Superman and fully Clark Kent. Does all that sound familiar? It should. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is just as human as he is Divine, and just as Divine as he is human. Jesus is fully God and fully man. Even though the Son of God was sent from Heaven above, He was still raised here on earth in a small town in the middle of nowhere where he would learn to work with his hands in his father’s workshop. And just as with Superman, both sides of Jesus’ dual-identify are essential to his nature.

Jesus’ humanity is important, because it sets him apart from the ancient gods of Greek and Roman mythology who sat up on Mount Olympus playing dirty tricks on the ignorant humans down below. Jesus isn’t like the gods of Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism who have never experienced humanity. Jesus’ dual nature reveals one inconceivable reality and that is God loved us enough to become one of us.

Yet in becoming one of us, He displayed for us what an act of love it really ultimately was. And while I could list the innumerable amount of works that Jesus did do, I also believe that Jesus displayed an incredible amount of force shown by what He didn’t do! One of God’s attributes is Omniscience which means that God is all Knowing. Another is Omnipotence revealing that God is all Powerful. Finally, the big three is rounded out with Omnipresence which defines God as being Present Everywhere at the Same Time. Humans have none of these powers, though I have known a few egomaniacs who thought they knew it all or had it all!

What does it mean though for the Son to put all of that on hold, so to speak, to not draw on His omni-competencies? It means that while Jesus had a God button, and He could have pushed it when he got in a difficult situation, He refused to do so because it would have meant the end of his living a truly human life with all its inherent limitations. Jesus could have called 10,000 Angels. Jesus could have wiped out the bad guys with a single Word! Jesus could have disintegrated the devil with just one look. But He didn’t! Jesus willingly submitted Himself to obey His Father’s plan! In that one act of surrender; Jesus modeled for us all that real power is strength under control! Jesus sacrificed jumping over tall buildings in a single leap and running faster than a speeding bullet so that He could undertake His most courageous and loving act. God so loved the world that Jesus laid down His life so that we by believing in Him could be rescued from our own stubbornness.

God could have the power to change your circumstances in a moment, but that is not the way we grow up. We don’t learn by getting automatic A’s. We don’t gain endurance by sleeping in. We actually become more powerful by surrendering our will to God’s leadership If you want the power of God in your New Year, then you must allow the Presence of Jesus to be your definitive Guiding Light.

Things are not always what they seem. Have you ever stopped to think about what Jesus would look like if He were to walk into this room? I don’t think God left us enough clues to know what Jesus looked like physically, because that wasn’t the important thing. But Heaven did reveal to us exactly the right amount of information about His character, and His values, and His virtues, and His attitudes. These are the things He wanted us to inherit, to imitate, and to develop. Jesus’ character was one of power and strength. Yet our Lord took on the role of a Servant.

As Believers, we share in His power. He has placed that power, His authority, in you. On our own, we degenerate into wavering, unsure, unstable, fickle and indecisive people. Or worse yet, we think our glory is in our own shame. Far too many people misplace their source of identity in possessions, charm, skill, intellect or another passing fancy. Our legacy won’t be what we write or what we own or what we leave to our kids or what we say with our tongues. Our legacy will be determined by what we choose to do with the power of God which is available to work in us and through us. There is a huge need for Men and Women to step up their game in the days to come. I think the secret weapon is that we must decrease so the Lord can increase and, in the end, God can accomplish what would never occur without Him. Is it time to answer the call? 



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