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The Superman Syndrome

The Superman Syndrome
By: Pete Garcia

Since the dawn of time, man has spent much of his time looking up, dreaming of the day when he too could spread his wings and fly. Like the ill-fated Icarus, the pull of earth was just too strong to let men soar above where eagles dare. That is not to say we haven’t tried.

In the 11th century, a monk in England had fastened make-shift wings to his body and jumped off the tower of the Monastery he was serving at. He ended up gliding some 200 ft. before crashing and breaking both his legs. Others have tried at various times, and even Leonardo DaVinci, despite his masterful architectural drawings, never got off the ground. It wasn’t until the 20th century that two Ohioan men were able to pilot a rudimentary aircraft for 1,760 feet.

The desire to have super-human powers has always been a very attractive ideal for men of all ages. I suppose that this was in some form or fashion, unknown to us today, the reason that the Nephilim were able to interbreed with human women, and thus spawn what we today would call mythology. It is based in the reality that where we are limited physically, our imagination knows no bounds. It is this cause that propels man to find a work-around for our own physical limitations.

Comic book heroes put to the big screen provides the entertainment of seeing men with godlike powers, who routinely and spectacularly triumph over evil. I think deep down, most people want to see justice done in a way that is fitting to the crime…which is what almost never happens in real life. Instead, we deal with the mundane reality that the fantastical rarely happens, politicians almost always act out of self-preservation, and crime seemingly does pay. Judging by the shattered box office records for the newly rebooted Superman movie “Man of Steel” this weekend, I’d say that this country is in desperate need of a hero.

The original creators of Superman were two children of Jewish immigrants named Joel Shuster and Jerry Siegel. They were able to translate a superhuman (or Kryptonian) with the exact attributes that are characterized by what would today be considered, Christian, to a would-be messiah for all of mankind. He was self-sacrificing, honest, morally incorruptible, and always around when needed. Ironically, the fictional Superman bares a strong resemblance to Jesus Christ. Consider these:

– Kal El, from the House of El (El is Hebrew for God)
– Father sent him from another place to earth to be a ‘god’ amongst men
– Kal El’s (Clark Kent) earthly father was a humble farmer. Jesus’s earthly father was a carpenter. Compare Clark’s parents, Jonathan and Martha, to Jesus’s earthly parents, Joseph and Mary
– Clark’s father Jonathan dies when Clark is young, Joseph is not mentioned in the Gospels beyond Jesus’s trip to the synagogue at the age of 13.
– Kal El is revealed to the earth when he is 33 years old. Jesus died on the cross at Calvary at the age of 33.
– Superman routinely sacrifices himself for the salvation of the people of earth…the ultimate superhero. Christ died once, for the sins of all mankind.

There are many other allusions to the Christ-likeness of Superman, but I think you get the point. Most of these are already well known, but it’s ironic to me, that a world that hates the real God-man, has wholeheartedly embraced the false one. Superman is amicable, because he only shows up when he can help those in need. Jesus was hated because He pointed out man’s real problem, which is sin.

Man of Steel vs. the Lamb of God

Jesus walked the earth in the days before cameras or even the self-portrait was available, so other than the few text that speak of His appearance, we really don’t know what He looked like. The only people that had the ability to preserve an image of their likeness, was those of Greek and Roman royalty.

It always amazes me that Jesus is consistently portrayed as an effeminate white guy, with soft-blue eyes and curly brown hair. He seemingly always carried around a baby lamb, or walked around with one hand in the air with two fingers extended.Jesus in a Blaze of Glory

If people only read their bibles, they’d know that is so far from the truth, it is laughable. If people truly saw what He looked like now, they would have the exact same reaction that the Apostle John did…which is that they would fall over dead. Jesus’s sheer awesomeness is simply too overwhelming for us to take in, in our human form.

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. (Revelation 1:12-17 NKJV)

Here I Am

In a way, it is the same issue the Jews had in recognizing Christ the first time He came. They were expecting a conquering king, instead, they got the suffering servant. They couldn’t accept that He first had to come to die for our sins (Genesis 22:2; Isaiah 53; Psalm 22) before He would come as a Conquering King (Daniel 2:44-45, Psalm 2, Zechariah 14). They wanted a Superman to throw off the shackles of Gentile oppression, once and for all.

When Christ came, He came lowly and meekly. He had to come as the “suffering servant” who would become the ultimate sacrifice who would take away the sins of the world. His frequent appearances in the Old Testament are called Christophonys, and would foreshadow the incarnation of God in human flesh. But it is WHY He would come that is implied in numerous passages as various ‘types’:

– He was the Seed of Woman who would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15, Revelation 1:18)
– He was the skin of the slain animal that God provided Adam and Eve (Gen 3:22, Rev 13:8)
– He was a type of the Ark Noah was saved by (Pitched inside and out) (Gen 6:14, 1 Peter 3:20)
– He was Melchizedek, in whom Abram tithed too (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 6:20)
– Isaac was a type of Christ on Mt. Moriah, who carried his own wood up and willingly allowed himself to be a sacrifice (Genesis 23, John 19:17)
– Joseph was a type of Christ, betrayed by his brothers, and cast into a pit to die (Genesis 37, Matthew 26:45)
– He was the Rock in the desert that Moses struck for water to drink (Exodus 17:6, John 4:14)
– He was the serpent on the staff that Moses lifted up (Numbers 21:8, John 3:14)
– Jonah was a type of Christ that would be in the belly of the whale for 3 days and 3 nights (Jonah 1:17, Matthew 16:4)
– Daniel’s 70 Week’s Prophecy would tell them exactly when Christ would come (Daniel 9:25-27)

Assessment

The Old Testament held so much evidence of the pre-figuring of Christ coming, that no one then was without excuse for not knowing. The Resurrected Christ used the Old Testament exclusively on the road to Emmaus, to show those disciples ALL of the Scriptures that pointed to Him. So it wasn’t a matter that the information wasn’t there, it was that they chose not to believe it. Instead, they were waiting for someone who looked like Samson and conquered like David. Jesus warned them that they would not accept His testimony, but would in fact, accept another who came in his own name.

This man, this Antichrist, will one day ride in on the scene, and will for all intents and purposes, be the “superman” that the world has been waiting for. And like the Jews who missed the mark at Christ’s first coming, the whole world will embrace this one who comes with “all signs and lying wonders”.

This Antichrist will be heralded by the False Prophet, who looked like a lamb, but spake as a dragon (Rev 13:11). They will be unlike anything the world has become accustomed too, because these men will have real power. Superpowers, like those ‘mighty men of old’ and the superheroes we’ve come to idolize over the years. The world will finally get the heroes they think they need, but instead, will have front row seats to the greatest time of tribulation this world will ever see.

There is a divine irony to this all though. We who have placed our faith and trust in Christ, will one day be ‘caught up’ (aka…flying) to meet Christ in the air. We (the mild mannered meekly folk) will one day rule and reign as ‘kings and priests’ with the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords forever. We will have put on incorruption, immortality, and will be like Christ, because we will see Him as He is.

For us, the battle was won 2,000 years ago on a Cross at Calvary. For now, we simply need to live like the victor’s Christ said we should be living like. Christ overcame the world already, and when we placed our faith in Him, we by default, became ‘overcomers’.

This last piece may be a bit of holy speculation on my part, but I think an ominous horror shock-waved through the Sanhedrin crowd that day when they pressed in on Jesus to respond to their blasphemous inquisition. I don’t want to even imagine the flash of divine vengeance that flashed through His eyes at that moment…

…the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61-62)

And this is what they will see…

…I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)

Superman doesn’t have anything on Jesus.

Even So, Come Lord Jesus!

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