“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Spiritual Application-Man!”
Hmmm, why am I thinking that wouldn’t make a very good blockbuster movie. Speaking of blockbuster movies, Yours Truly saw The Avengers a week or so ago; just using my hard-earned money to help them get to a $207 million dollar opening weekend. Not that I minded.
Sitting in the theater, eyes pasted to the big screen watching the evil hosts of the universe battle for earth. Those stories just get to me. Maybe because it pulls me out of my temporal-minded life to remember that reality is as fantastical.
Quick! Name the characteristic of a good superhero blockbuster.
A hero with superhuman strength, speed, or scientific knowledge battles against an enemy of overwhelming number of minions (and usually a deep hatred of Manhattan). This enemy is usually out to revenge himself upon mankind because he hates life and freedom and goodness and humanity. Hanging in the balance is the fate of the earth or universe and usually the Empire State building.
Which, if you think about it, sounds a lot like … Satan and his demons because they hate everything good that God gave us. Eternal life, freedom from sin, righteousness, and the fact that humans were created in the image of God.
Okay, so, what I’ve just shared is pretty basic theology. In fact, if you have grown up in the church, you’ve probably heard that multiple times. If you haven’t, you’re in the wrong church.
It’s easy to grow jaded and forget that the battle between Christ and Satan is far more epic than anything Marvel or DC could dream up.
So, I like watching those movies because I sit there drawn into a fantasy that is so unrealistic* that I’m forced to come out of my pragmatic little shell and think about how truly amazing the spiritual battle really is.
*Gamma rays turning a man green, large, and angry. Really? Oh, wait, I believe that a donkey once talked to a false prophet. Okay, moving on…
I was reading the book of Daniel ’bout the same time the movie came out, and there are a few passages that reveal more of this heavenly war.
Daniel is visited by real, live warriors Gabriel and Michael. They are angels, but not the little chubby ones that shoot hearts with miniature arrows. In Daniel 10, one of God’s messengers, probably Gabriel, says he was hampered from coming to Daniel because of the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia. And not a human prince, but most likely one of Satan’s demons. Gabriel continues, “Michael, one of the Chief Princes [this time of God], came to help me.” In verse 20 he states, “Now I will return to fight with the prince of Persia.” So, he’s back to war again!
Flipping over to the book of Jude, Jude writes, “Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke thee.'”
Whoa, that’s a battle over the body of Moses! Question, why don’t we hear these kinds of stories in Sunday school more often? Oh, that’s right, we’re too busy learning about the one with the talking donkey!!!!
Ephesians 6 talks about the Armor of God, and if you think about it, armor is really what sets one Superhero apart from another. Here’s why we need it. I quote from Eph 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…”
Most of the people in the theater watching the Avengers fight Loki, a “god” who brought an army to earth to subjugate humans, didn’t realize that although Loki is made up, Satan is real, and his army is large, and the battle rages.
And now the last and best application I will share today. Just like the people in New York City had a team of “superheros” to save the day, the day is coming when the true life Hero will come. He’s not a god who just controls thunder; He is the God who created the weather and even the winds and the seas obey Him. His name isn’t Ironman; He is the Son of Man. He doesn’t need a shield of vibranium; out of His mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword that will slay the multitudes in final battle against Him when He comes to redeem the world and avenge the blood of the martyrs.
Jesus: The Ultimate Avenger.