Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jesus Christ, Superman - Part 1

"Those who know your name will trust in you, 
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."
- Psalm 9:10 NIV

Sometimes, when we're searching for God, we imagine that he's hard to find, but all too often, he's right in front of us. More than that, when we find him, we often discover he's been there all along - we just didn't know where to look. But those who are seeking the Lord will find him.

Even before Jesus walked the earth, he began revealing the truth about himself in different ways - through the words of the prophets, through events in the history of Israel, and sometimes through the direction of the lives of Biblical characters. Several Biblical figures are what we call "types" for Christ - that is, their lives hinted at what was to come when Jesus would arrive.

Joseph in the book of Genesis is one of the best examples of what I mean. Consider these points:
  • Joseph and Jesus were miracle babies (Joseph's mother was barren; Jesus' was a virgin).
  • Both were persecuted by jealous men (Joseph by his brothers; Jesus by the chief priests).
  • Both suffered for wrongs they had not done (Joseph was falsely accused of rape and sent to prison; Jesus was falsely accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death).
  • While in Egypt, Joseph was assumed dead by his family (prison may also represent death); Jesus died on the cross. In both cases, people thought they'd seen the last of our heroes.
  • Joseph was eventually raised to power and made second to only Pharaoh in Egypt; Jesus was raised from the dead, ascended to Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father.
  • When Joseph was reunited with his brothers, he did not want revenge, but reconciliation; Jesus does not want to condemn, but to reconcile all men to God.
  • Joseph completely forgives his brothers when he sees they are repentant; Jesus offers true forgiveness to all those who truly repent of their sins and follow him.
  • After revealing his identity, Joseph instructs his brothers not to quarrel with one another on the way home; those who know Jesus show that we know him by loving one another while we're on this journey to our Heavenly home (John 13:34-35)
  • Joseph expects his brothers to tell their father he's alive and bring him with them back with them; Jesus expects us to tell others he's alive and bring as many with us as we can.
  • Pharaoh welcomes Joseph's brothers and father into Egypt and gives them the best things available simply because of their relation to Joseph; God welcomes us into Heaven with all its blessings, not because of anything we do, but because of our relationship with Christ.

Of course, Joseph is not the Savior - he did not give his life to save us from our sins like Jesus did - but Joseph's life provides a parallel that points us to Christ - similar to how the parables of Jesus point to truths about the kingdom of God.

One of my favorite modern-day types/parables that points to Christ is the story of that strange visitor from another planet who - disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for The Daily Planet - fights a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American way: Superman!

Superman logo
Superman Returns emblem © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Don't believe me that Superman points to Christ? Consider these statements, which could be said of either Superman or Jesus:
The only begotten son of his father, he did not come from Earth - he came from somewhere in the heavens - but he took human form. He was not restrained by the rules of nature. On Earth, he grew up in a rural home, and as an adult, he spent a period in solitude before returning to society to do the work his father had instructed him to do. His enemies tempted him with things like wealth and fame, but he did not succumb. He stood for principles like Truth and Justice, and he came to be “a light to show the way”, and to save humans from dangers that awaited them. During his time on Earth, he kept company with those who would write about the things he said and did. He was humble, not seeking his own glory, but he developed a devoted following. And while he hid his true, powerful identity for years, we all now know who he is.
And consider this line from Jor-El (Superman's father), from Superman: The Movie: 
“They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all - their capacity for good - I have sent them you... my only son.”
There's a reason Superman has become such a cultural icon. We gravitate toward characters like this because we see in them something we long for in our lives - something good, something powerful. But while Superman cannot be our Savior, obviously, he points us to the Savior. He reminds us of the One who really did come to save us from destruction - the One who really came to be the light to show us the way to a better life (John 1:4-5). 

If you truly seek the Lord, he will let you find him (Deuteronomy 4:29). And you may come to realize he's been right there in front of you all the time!

In Part 2, I'll talk about lessons from a specific episode in the Superman legend. But for now, I'd like to hear your thoughts. What other popular characters do you see who seem to point to Jesus? Or what are some unusual/unexpected places where you have encountered God in the world around you?


  1. All this from the same little boy that cried once when he had to write a story about a "hero" because he couldn't find an article on "hero" in the encyclopedia!! Good Stuff! Keep em coming!

  2. Wow Kyle! I always knew you were smart, but wow! LOL You have been blessed so much by our wonderful God. You have such a way of looking at the world and finding God all around us. The most surprising place I have had a mind blowing experience with understanding the greatness of God is the beach. Seeing all the sand and imagining each grain being accounted for, the vastness of all that water, the almost-deafening crashing of the waves...reminded me that all my problems are so small in the grand scheme of things, yet as one grain of sand, I am still significant...still loved so closely by a loving father! He is everywhere! And although some like to believe otherwise....he is even in Hollywood :) Love the blog! Keep this up, cuz, for you have a gift and I know the Lord is smiling on you!
    And Bill, I know how proud you are of that little boy all grown up!
    Minnie Kay Watson


Please comment on this post. Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Is there something I left out or should have covered? Was something confusing? I want to know what you think!