Summary: Palm Sunday sermon showing that Jesus is the real superman - the Super God-Man - who humbled himself for our sake and now reigns over all things.
JESUS WEARS THE REAL “S”
1. He Was Our Suffering Servant
2. He Is Our Superior Savior
Ever since the beginning of time, people have been fascinated by superhuman powers. Already in the Garden of Eden it was the lie of the devil that got Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. “You will be like God,” the devil told her (Genesis 3:5). In other words the devil said, “You will have superhuman powers.” At the time of the Exodus, the Pharaoh of Egypt had sorcerers and magicians who were able to perform for him “secret arts,” the Bible says. When Pontius Pilate sent Jesus to King Herod, we are told that Herod was happy because he wanted to see Jesus perform a miracle; he wanted to see a show of superhuman powers. In fact, it was the miracles that Jesus performed that often attracted the people to come to him.
And still today we are captivated by superhuman powers. Comic books, novels, TV shows, movies, video games, and other things give high honor to superhuman characters. Many of the cartoons the children watch are about stronger-than-life people who triumph over evil. Two of my girls’ favorite cartoons are Powerpuff Girls and Kimpossible. There’s no doubt, we are captivated and fascinated by superhuman powers – even in fictional stories.
And one superhuman character that has been around a long, long time is Superman. While many others who once stood in the limelight have now faded away, Superman has withstood the test of time. But instead of wasting our time with a pretend Superman, we’d be much better off making good use of our time with the real superman, Jesus. Instead of honoring a dream hero, we ought to be praising the true hero. And as we look at this portion of God’s Word, here we see once again that JESUS WEARS THE REAL “S.” And this “S” reminds us first of all that (1) He Was Our Suffering Servant, but now (2) He Is Our Superior Savior.
The story of Superman is not real; someone made it up. The story of Jesus is real; it is the eternal truth of God himself. But it’s ironic, isn’t it, the way comparisons can be made between Superman and Jesus?
As the story goes, Superman was born on the planet Krypton. But the planet was in danger of being seized and overcome by evil. And so, the baby Superman was placed into a capsule and sent down to earth. When Jesus stood on trial before Pontius Pilate, he told the Roman governor: “My kingdom is not of this world … But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). Jesus didn’t come to this earth from the planet Krypton, but from the kingdom of God – heaven.
But unlike the pretend story of Superman, the real story of God’s Word tells us that it was not heaven that was in danger of being overcome by evil, but it was this earth that had already been overcome by the Evil One, Satan himself. Unlike Superman, Jesus was sent to this earth not to escape evil, but to confront evil head on and destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil.
The apostle Paul says of Jesus here: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” (v.6). Jesus, without a doubt, is the real, true Superman from heaven. He is in very nature God. He is God. He is one with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He is the eternal Son of God, who in the course of time took on our human flesh and blood and came down to this earth to free us from sin, death, hell and the devil. And so, Jesus is not just a superman, but he is the Super God-man.
And yet, even though he is God, Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” While we might dream of being superhumans and having all these powers within us, Jesus emptied himself of his almighty powers as God. He “made himself nothing.” He did not strut around showing off his power as God. “Hey, everybody, look at me! Look, I can change water into wine. I can walk on water. I can feed 5,000 people with only a few fish and five loaves of bread. Hey, look, I can even raise the dead to life again.” No, Jesus didn’t act like that. Even though he performed these miracles, and by them showed himself to be the promised Savior, still the “S” that Jesus wore during his life on this earth stood for “Suffering Servant.”
“But made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (v.7-8). Now, let’s ask ourselves: why is the not-real Superman praised and honored and adored by so many people? Is it because, as Clark Kent, he worked in a newsroom with Lois Lane? Not at all! No, it’s because, as the story goes, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, he can run faster than a locomotive, he can fly at the speed of sound. That’s what attracts people. It’s his superhuman powers.