Summary: In honor of the Annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, this sermon uses the story of Superman as a modern-day parable that teaches us about Jesus Christ. Power Point is available, just e-mail me.
JESUS IS MY SUPERHERO
Scott Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, IL
Well, in honor of the Annual Superman Celebration held this week in Metropolis, Illinois, I thought I’d share some thoughts with you about my childhood hero. The three biggest influences in my life growing up were my mom, Jesus and Superman. So as I grew up, you can imagine my excitement when I began to discover some interesting parallels between the Son of God and the Last Son of Krypton.
Jesus was the master storyteller. When Jesus taught stadium-sized crowds on the shores of Galilee, he used what the Bible calls “parables.” The parables of Jesus are some of the most captivating stories ever told. Now, a parable is simply a fictional story used to convey a spiritual truth. The parable of the prodigal son, for instance, isn’t about a real boy who ran away from home; rather, it’s about us and God’s unrelenting love and willingness to forgive. Each of Jesus’ parables starred fictional characters in everyday settings who revealed some sort of spiritual truth or reality.
That’s what Superman is today—a modern-day parable, a fictional story that conveys spiritual truth. Throughout the decades of Superman’s career, creators have drawn upon the Biblical narratives of Jesus and enveloped them into the mythology of Superman—sometimes intentionally, sometimes, perhaps, providentially. Either way, Superman has become a pop culture icon that can point people toward Jesus—the original superhero!
Now, the number of parallels between Superman and Jesus are far too numerous to cover in one sermon, but I would like to share a few key comparisons. The first is that they each have a secret personality(or secret identity).
• SECRET PERSONALITY
You know the story. Once, long ago, a rocket ship launched from the doomed planet Krypton and dove out of the sky landing on the humble property of Jonathan and Martha Kent. With mingled fascination and fear, they climb out of their Ford pickup truck to discover the ships tiny infant occupant.
Of course, Superman’s Kryptonian father’s name was Jor-El. El, by the way, is the Hebrew word for God—which is most likely not a coincidence since Superman was created by two young Jewish boys from Ohio. And, of course, it was Superman’s Kryptonian father who would give him “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men,” but it was Jonathan and Martha Kent who would adopt him, raise him as their own son, and instill in him his humanity.
Scooping him up in her arms, Martha (who was originally named Mary in the comics) and Jonathan (whose middle name is Joseph) named their adopted son Clark Kent and raised him in a small town in the middle of nowhere where he would learn to work with his hands on his father’s farm. His father, Jonathan, would die sometime while Clark was a teenager and it wouldn’t be until he was around thirty years old that Clark would make his first public appearance as Superman.
This dual-identity (Clark Kent/Superman) has become an essential element in Superman mythology. I mean, who can forget the famous line from the George Reeves’ television series, right? “Superman...disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth justice and the American way.”