Tuesday, July 20, 2021


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

When I was a boy, like many of my peers, I was enthralled by the exploits of superheroes like Superman, Batman and Spiderman. As time went by I grew out of these fictional characters and mostly forgot about them. Now, as I listen to my grandson enthusiastically talking about my old heroes and a whole range of others, I realise that superheroes are with us to stay.

Some of these characters have been with us for along time. Since 1939, Stan Lee has been responsible for creating or co-creating some of the world’s most popular superheroes. His imagination gave birth to Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man.
Of course, the world has no shortage of storytellers, but Lee has been quite unique in this field. The Avengers series alone has generated more than ten billion dollars in ticket sales at the box office since 2008. So what set his stories apart from the rest? Lee was able to tap into two deeply rooted human instincts. He explained his secret when interviewed back in 1984. He said, “The whole formula, if there was one, I think was to say: ‘let’s assume that somebody really could walk on walls like Spider-Man, or turn green and become a monster like The Hulk. That’s fine, we’ll accept that. But, accepting that, what would that person be like in the real world if he really existed? Wouldn’t he still have to worry about making a living? Or people distrusting him? Or having dandruff? Or his girlfriend jilting him? What are the real problems people would have?’ I think that’s what made the books popular.”

There is what made these characters real in people’s minds. Super-humans with normal human struggles.

However, let us put fiction to one side for a moment. What about the real world? We all know we need help when faced by the problems of life. Whether it be the threat of a virus, political, economic or emotional threat, but we simultaneously want this hero to be someone with whom we can identify. These two instincts are woven into our nature, the knowledge that we need someone to save us and the deep desire for others to understand our struggles. 

There is such a person and He is not a fictional superhero on the page of a comic, but He is a real living person.  The Lord Jesus Christ. Here is one who was the Mighty Creator of all and who commands power over everyone and everything. Yet He became human and experienced first hand all that we go through. The author of Hebrews expresses it this way: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus, though truly God, did not stand back like the mythical gods of Olympus. He became a man and subjected Himself to all the tyrannies of a fallen world. He saves as One who can sympathize, and He invites us, individually, to enter a relationship with Him and through faith to be our Saviour and Guide.

Written by Stephen Treseder for Messages with Meaning & Your542Day 

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