Jesus, Parables and Superman:
Let’s take a look at the example of Jesus, the Master Teacher, and see how He taught people about God. “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them.” (Matt. 13:34). When Jesus taught the crowds, He didn’t just give them a list of do’s and don’ts with rules like “be nice and help old ladies across the street!” Instead, He told them stories.
Jesus used stories that the people would be able to relate to. In the first century, Israel was an agricultural society, so Jesus would tell them stories about farming. For example: “Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. There was such a large crowd along the shore that he got into a boat and sat down and spoke from there. He began to teach the people by telling many stories such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed” (Mark 4:1-3, NLT). Through these stories, Jesus would help people to understand about the Kingdom of God.
In the same way, I want to use a contemporary story to teach you about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The story of the Man of Steel – Superman. I first fell in love with this comic book character back in the summer of 1978 when I saw the original Superman movie in the movie theatres. I was six years old, and when I saw Christopher Reeve don the blue tights and red cape, I believed a man could fly. And even though Superman wore his red underwear outside of his pants back then (thankfully, DC Comics has updated the costume!), he was my hero.
Back then, I would tie a red towel around my neck and pretend I could fly. Not only did I see the original Superman movie, but I read the Superman comic books, and watched the Super Friends cartoon on Saturday mornings. As I’m writing these words in June of 2013, Superman is celebrating his 75th birthday. Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 in June of 1938. This comic book that originally sold for ten cents now retails for around a million dollars – if found in mint condition! I saw the new Superman movie Man of Steel on its opening day in the theatres on June 14th. It was truly epic. It is my new favourite movie of all time.
If you’re not familiar with the story of Superman, allow me to introduce you to the character: “The most recognized superhero in pop culture, Superman has been elevated to mythic folkhero status. Rocketed to Earth from the dying planet Krypton, baby Kal-El was found by a farming couple who named the boy Clark Kent and raised him as their own. Discovering his enormous powers, they instilled in him strong moral values—and inspired him to become a hero.” (www.dccomics.com/characters/superman).
In the new Superman movie Man of Steel, Kal-El’s parents Jor-El and Lara have a dialogue before they put their son in a rocket ship to send him to Earth. Jor-El says, “Goodbye my son. Our hopes and dreams travel with you.” His mom Lara says, “He’ll be an outcast. They’ll kill him.” Jor-El says, “How? He’ll be a god to them.” His adopted earthly father, Jonathan Kent, says, “You are the answer, Clark. You were sent here for a reason.” Now we know that Superman is just a fiction character. But in the same way – in the real world – Jesus is the answer. He was sent here to the Earth for a reason – to be our Saviour. There are many parallels between the fiction character of Superman and the real life person of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Chris Jordan