Our world, our culture perhaps, is increasingly focused on ‘Heroes’. Whether it’s the major resurgence of action hero movies, whole entire series of comic characters brought to life on screen, larger than life political characters or even social activists. Whatever, or whomever the heroes may be — we are looking for something or someone larger than ourselves. There are probably countless reasons for this search, but I believe the most simplified answer is that we want to know someone else is more powerful, more in control, more ‘on-top-of-things’ and possibly can rescue us or ‘make things better’ from the seemingly difficult position we may find ourselves. It’s not always an easy thing to discern, to see in our lives, because it requires humility to verbalize that we aren’t as independent or self-sufficient as we’d like to portray.
As such, we end up pledging our allegiance, hanging our hopes on our heroes. This hero may be a political figure, religious authority, but maybe even a father, brother, grandmother, cousin or even a friend. The heart breaking reality of so many of our heroes is that they can inevitability disappoint us. Take the example of a young boy who somewhat ‘idolizes’ his father. He loves his father, follows him everywhere, mimics Dad and wants to be like Dad when he’s grown up. Sadly as life and time often do, we see a more complete picture. Our father is not perfect. Our friend disappoints us over and over. Our political leader doesn’t deliver the grandiose plans they promised. The significant other in our life isn’t the ‘larger than life’ savior we hoped they were. It’s dashing, devastating and can end up causing resentment, bitterness and a jaded outlook.
We desire to have a hero — one who will protect us, advocate for us, comfort us, save us and if necessary redeem us. We want to know something outside ourselves is big, powerful and present. Our earthly heroes can never completely satisfy this desire. Our comic book heroes (who are by the way fictional) also cannot meet this in reality. But nonetheless, this fascination with heroes points to a greater need — and if we accept it, a greater gift.
Jesus is that hero. Jesus is bigger. Jesus is stronger. Jesus will redeem. Jesus is worth imitating. Jesus is ‘on-top-of-things’. Jesus promises and delivers comfort. Jesus is present. Jesus is faithful. Jesus wins.
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
— Romans 8:37 NASB
The part about this that so many folks struggle with is that this kingdom, this reign and majesty don’t necessarily exist in the physical world within the terms we’d prefer. Jesus doesn’t exactly cater to our human expectations and desire to fit in neatly and orderly into our particular box. Jesus clearly was helping us to understand through His words while he was here on earth that His Kingdom was not of flesh and bone or brick and mortar — it was of a Kingdom of Heart and of Spirit. Which in a rather poetic realization, is a Kingdom that can NEVER be destroyed. Nothing done to us physically, politically, emotionally, etc. can defeat or tear down the walls that Jesus has built in the Kingdom of God. And that is ‘Amen’ kind of good news. It doesn’t always feel like Jesus conquered the world — but that’s because His Kingdom is SO much greater than this world.
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
— John 16:33 HCSB
Jesus has defeated the world and established His Kingdom. Jesus has already won. He is indeed the hero we long for, that we look for earthly examples of. We should look to Jesus, He is the hero our hearts long for desperately. Jesus is that hero.