Our world is passionate about superheroes. Since movies have been made Hollywood has released 79 superhero movies (just from Marvel and DC, according to IMDB) and that doesn't count parodies, satires, other comic books or animated films which would take the number much higher. We love heroes for their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the good of others. We watch them struggle with their inner self that at times wants to be selfish but a sense of responsibility demands they set aside their own dreams for the greater good. Heroes want to do what's right and there is always a force standing in their way that they must overcome. No matter how great the struggle, heroes always find a way to defeat the enemy, even if it costs them dearly.
Heroes are big business these days. Superhero movies are the only kinds of movies that are constantly flirting with Hollywood's magic number, 1 Billion dollars in ticket sales. Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Avengers: Infinity War and 8 more . . . 11 superhero movies have earned over 1 billion dollars. 4 of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time are superhero movies.
What is fascinating about the superhero universe is how many of these heroes are average people who are suddenly handed super powers whether it is an energy blast, a spider bite, technology or a radioactive compound. Once these heroes understand their powers they assume, as was famously stated in Spiderman, that "with great power comes great responsibility". They realize that where greatness rises, great evil rises as well and they must do all they can to stop it. After all, if they don't, who will? Not only do these average-turned-super humans take their responsibility seriously, they also sacrifice themselves personally to do their job. Most do not have families or significant others because those they love can always be used against them. They stand alone or in the case of the Avengers, as a team because they have no one else.
Superhero movies are not the only place we see heroes stepping up and sacrificing themselves for others. Even Harry Potter realizes the power he possesses and uses it to defeat his nemesis, ultimately by dying and then coming back to life.
Superhero movies and many other Hollywood stories are echoes of a greater story. We all wish for someone to stand for us, to rescue us, to be the hero that we cannot be. They resonate with us and we spend money to see them because it touches something deep in all of our hearts. Deep within us we all know that we need rescue. We need a hero. Someone to stand against the two things that cause us the most harm and fear - sin and death. No Marvel superhero has ever defeated death once and for all. And sin isn't even mentioned in the comics. But there is one who had defeated both.
Jesus the Messiah is no animated figure on the screen but he is very real and this Easter season we remember how he sacrificed himself for us - that he spent 30+ years here preparing for his greatest responsibility, to pay the penalty of sin for mankind and to purchase our freedom and forgiveness. This Easter, invite someone to look into the hero of all heroes, Jesus Christ. He is God made flesh and they can hear his story this Easter Sunday.
The next time you are watching a Marvel or DC movie, look for the echoes of Jesus. You will realize there are many in our world looking for a true hero but Marvel and DC are shadows. We know the One who has saved us all and defeated sin and death for all time!