Summary: This fun sermon series uses comic-book heroes as modern-day parables, uncovering hidden spiritual messages in the stories of superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-man. Most of these sermons are expository, alliterated and have PowerPoint!
Holy Heroes: Superman
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 9/29/2013
Most of you have probably figured out by now that I’m a really big geek.
I wear that name like a badge of honor because I’ve earned it. I started collecting comic-books almost as soon as I could read. Wednesdays were my favorite day of the week because that was new comic-book day. Each week I would ride my bike to the comic-book store in the Piggly-Wiggle strip plaza to see what new comics had come out. And even before that I spent countless Saturday mornings laying belly-down on the carpet of our living watching the Super Friends and other Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Space Ghost and Birdman.
Today my comic-book collection numbers somewhere in the thousands and about six years ago I took my geekiness to whole new level. At the time, we were living just a few minutes away from Metropolis, IL—the official home of Superman—and each year, Metropolis holds their Annual Superman Celebration the second week of June. Well that year they announced that they were going to have a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest gathering of people dressed as Superman.
Now, I had never in my adult life worn spandex and the last time I wore a superhero costume it came with one of those cheap plastic masks.
• Next Slide: Old Halloween Photo
Remember the rubber band on the back of those masks? That was a quality item! That was good for about ten seconds before it snapped out of that little staple they put in there with. I actually remember a warning label on the side of the package it that said: “Caution: Do not attempt to fly.” I’d like to meet the kid who’s innocent enough to think he can fly, but smart enough to check the warning label before he jumps off the roof.
Anyway, I thought, it would be really cool for my son and I to have our names in the Guinness World Record Book! I had a little sewing experience growing up, so I bought some fabric, tore apart a pair of long-johns to get a pattern and I sewed myself a supersuit. It was pretty sad looking.
• Next Slide: First Superman Costume
The iron-on symbol started to bleed and run in the 90 degree heat and I was in no condition to be wearing spandex, but I did it anyway and our names were immortalized in the 2008 Guinness World Record Book. The kids had a great time and I was determined to prove I could make a better looking costume, so six years and dozens of costumes later, Ashley and I have actually turned our geekiness into a ministry.
Next Slide: Costumers for Christ Pics
We’ve visited sick and injured kids at Saint John’s Children’s Hospital, attended charity events, fundraisers and given away hundreds of copies of a comic-book adaptation of the Gospel all while dressed as caped crusaders. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard the theme for this year’s Halloween Parade in Carlinville is Superhero Celebration and Blooming Grove is going to have float!
So, I thought that now would be the perfect time for me to share a little of my geekiness with you. You see, I’m convinced that comic-book heroes can teach some valuable spiritual lessons. In fact, I like to think of superheroes as modern-day parables.
Jesus used parables—that is, fictional stories—to illustrate spiritual truths. In fact, the Bible says, “Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables” (Mark 4:33-34 NLT). I believe that the stories of comic-book heroes like Batman, Spider-man, Iron-Man and others can help us better understand some very Biblical concepts. So, over the next several weeks I’d like to share some of those stories starting with the first and greatest comic-book hero: Superman.
Superman has been saving the day since he was created by two Jewish kids from Cleveland in 1939. It’s hard to believe, but before Superman came on the scene there was no such thing as a superhero. Superman is the one who started it all. And over the years fans, commentators, movie reviewers, and more have noticed a striking similarity between Superman and Jesus. Superman, perhaps more than any other character ever created, is a literary Christ-figure—that is, a fictional character made in the image of Jesus. The story of Superman is really a reflection of the gospel story. It’s the story of a father in the heavens who sends his only son to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, to be raised in a small town by adoptive parents, and eventually save the world. But it’s not enough to simply identify these similarities without also asking what we can learn from them? How can Superman help us to better understand Jesus and draw closer to him? To help answer that question, I'd like to zero in on just three of the plentiful parallels between Superman and our Savior.