Summary: Life is full of "Why" question and the Gospel of Joh is full of answers.
Why Superman Ducked?
The title of this sermon is based on someone’s observation of the old Superman Series on TV. In the opening, some bad guy fires his gun at Superman, emptying every chamber, Superman laughs off the bullets, then the bad guy takes his gun and throws it and Superman ducks. Why did he duck? Bullets coming at 1000 MPH didn’t phase him, but gun thrown at, 1/4th MPH makes him DUCK?!
The answer is, he’s not really Superman, he’s an actor playing Superman and a gun in the face might hurt, so you better duck.
“Why” questions seem to be what everyone’s asking these days, not long after Sept. 11th (The terrorist destruction of the twin towers in NYC).
Why did this happen? Why did God allow this to happen to us? Why do seemingly innocent people have to suffer so, both in the terror of the tragedy and the aftermath? Of course this opens up the myriad of personal emotional crises such as loss of a child, young people getting terrible illnesses and dying, accidents, cancer and the like.
Why questions lead inevitably to “How” questions. How can I go on? How can I get back to normal when I don’t know what “normal” is anymore? How can I believe in a Victorious God when my family, friends, neighbors and nation seem so affflicted with pain?
The Gospel of John can help us!
It’s not like the other Gospels (Mt, Mk and Luke) for many reasons:
The other Gospels deal more with What Jesus did and How.
John deals more with Who Jesus is and Why he did the things he did.
The other Gospels describe Events and give details; John describes the Meaning of those events and details how people felt about those things.
Many people are surprised to find out that John’s Gospel doesn’t include a specific description of the Birth, Baptism, Temptation, nor the Lord’s Supper; but it does deal with the deeper meaning of those events.
In short it’s less about What happened as Why? John’s Gospel has an answer for all the “Why” questions of life. Please note, I didn’t say “solution,” many times the Lord just doesn’t seem to explain things the way we want, but He always has an Answer and you can see it in the very first verse:
John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word Was God,”
Many find in these verses proof that Jesus is God, and that certainly is present in these verses. You can’t miss the obvious parallel to Genesis/John: In the beginning was God/the Word!
And the flat out declaration: The Word was God. And the numerous descriptions of Jesus doing things no one but God could do, such as raising the dead and the absolutely conclusive declaration of Thomas in John 20:28 when he looked at the Risen Jesus and said, “My Lord and my God!”
(If this was wrong, surely Jesus would have corrected him, surely if this was blasphemy, Jesus would have said, “No Thomas, I’m not God, do not call me so, or ever again refer to me in that way!” But, Jesus accepted Thomas’ declaration and worship)
But to spend too much time on proofs does not get to the MEANING of what God is trying to say which is not so much that “the Word is God,” but “God is the Word.”
Let me now say two things here: First, a word about words and, second, a word about the Word kind of answers of the Word brings!
1. First, Words carry nearly all forms of communications.
“What’s the good word,” we often ask and hear. And, “Do you have a Word for us.”
With a word, I can make you laugh, or cry and you almost can’t help it; I can draw you closer with words of love and grace, and I can push you away with harsh critical words.
I can discourage you with things like, “What a stupid thing to do,” and “you’ll never amount to anything,” “loser” “quit now and avoid frustration.” Or I can encourage you. “Yes you can, I’ll help you. I will never quit on you. You can count on me to be in your corner.” “I WILL love you NO MATTER WHAT!”
If I can speak properly, I can stir up almost any emotion, things like determination, patriotism, love, anger, jealousy (did you hear about an Indian out in Nevada during the Atomic Testing periods of the 1950’s? He saw one of those huge mushroom clouds and said, “I wish I had said that.”)
I can give understanding and insight and solutions to problems, with words.
And we also know that words are not simply verbalizations. We communicate with inflections, and body language! For instance, I can say “I love you” to mean the opposite, “I? Love ?You?” And sometimes words are not words, just think of those automated voices we hear on telephones like, ‘Please start recording . . . . ‘