Jesus Christ – the ultimate Avenger (part 2)

Just imagine the wreckage that Jesus would have left behind.

Heroes.

We all have them. We aspire to be like them. We look up to them and in some cases even idolize them.

To some, these figures may be as near as their own households. Others may see their heroes within their communities—policemen, firefighters, doctors, etc. Still, there are those who look to the media to mark their perfect man, and, to an even further degree, find their heroes in the realm of action-adventure.

The Avengers, then, offer a compelling place to look for heroes for those attracted to this vein. Many fans attended the film’s opening donning costumes, accessories and imitating their favorite characters, mesmerized by this group of comic book icons.

Though we all have heroes, what is it exactly that attracts us to them? What, essentially, is in a hero?

Well, Merriam-Webster offers four solid definitions of what it is to be a hero:

  • A mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
  • An illustrious warrior
  • A man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
  • One that shows great courage

When looking at these descriptions, I am reminded of two Avengers in particular: Captain America and Thor. Merriam-Webster describes both of these guys to the tee, as they collectively embody all the traits that are listed.

Upon further review, Jesus Christ, by his lonesome, fulfills these characteristics—he does not need any help.

As a result, this discussion will conduct a comparative analysis between these two fictional champions and our Lord and Savior.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Ah…Captain America. Is there a superhero more noble and admirable as he? I mean, the guy is squeaky clean; he always seeks to do the right thing and is seldom in error when it comes to issues of morality and decision-making.

Who can top that?

You guessed it, Jesus can!

While Cap is extremely commendable (he even professed belief in one God in the film), he is far from perfect. In an exchange with Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man), Captain Steve Rogers allows his pride to get the best of him, to the point where he and Stark (supposed to be on the same team, mind you) almost break into fisticuffs.

Christ, on the other hand, is in the most literal sense of the word, perfect. Speaking of Jesus, 2 Corinthians 5:21 declares, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Captain America, though less than perfect, was very trustworthy. This trustworthiness without a doubt is an extension of his uncompromising honesty.

One thing that Steve did not have a tolerance for was dishonesty. When Nick Fury lied about making weapons designed to harness the power of the Tesseract, the Captain was outraged.

He was not willing to ignore the truth; his commitment to truth fostered a responsibility to bring people to terms with harsh realities. For instance, in a pivotal moment in his relationship with Stark, Captain America addresses his selfishness and narcissism. He tells Tony, in a nutshell, not to claim to be a “hero” until he exemplifies qualities that are befitting of the title.

Jesus’ commitment to truth is evident. Not only is he full of truth (John 1:14) but also he is the personification of truth: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus always told the truth, and was willing to confront even his friends when in error.

After Jesus makes plain that he must be killed at the hands of the Jewish leaders and resurrected after three days, Peter rebukes him and denies these truths.

Jesus responds in Matthew 16:23, “Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

These were surely harsh words, but they were true. Peter was in direct opposition to the will of God, and that is not something to take lightly. One thing that Jesus does not make a habit of doing is sugarcoating the truth for the benefit of someone’s feelings. Additionally, Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

Because Jesus is willing to inflict us with the truth, we can certainly trust him. Though sometimes his words sting, when he makes a promise we can be sure of its fulfillment. The great thing about the Lord is that his word is his bond.

Numbers 23:19 records, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”

Captain America had a propensity for swooping in and saving the day. When Loki was about to vaporize an elderly gentleman, Cap flew in from seemingly out of nowhere to block the blast with his shield. He also saved a group of hostages towards the movie’s end, which included a woman who was especially grateful.

This paints a particularly vivid picture of an account in John’s gospel.

While Jesus was teaching, a group of Pharisees brought a woman to him who had been caught in adultery. Their intentions were to trap Jesus. Either they could claim he refused to follow the Law that commanded the stoning of such person, or accuse Jesus of usurping Roman rule by commanding that the Jews execute capital punishment—an exclusive right of the state.

Cleverly, Jesus responds, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7b). At this, the woman’s accusers (who were using her as a mere pawn) all disappeared. She escaped condemnation because of the heroics of Christ.

Even if the Jews, technically, could not stone her, other ways of emotional torture would have been her reality. Christ, however, delivers her from all of her tormentors.

Much the same, Christ always swoops in and saves our day: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

THOR

Thor definitely qualifies as a “mythological or legendary figure.” From the planet of Asgard, this Viking wields the power of thunder (and lightning). He has taken the self-imposed vocation of defending earth. Most importantly, Thor is established in this film as a demi-god.

Being the only person in the film who can go toe-to-toe with the Incredible Hulk, Thor’s “divine descent” is very much a point of emphasis. Upon his initial on-screen appearance, where he takes Loki from the custody Iron Man, Black Widow and Captain America, there is mention made of his divinity.

Black Widow warns Captain America not to get involved in this family feud, commenting that Loki and Thor are “basically gods.” Captain Rogers’ rebuttal is, humorously, “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m sure he doesn’t dress like that.”

The Captain, once again, hit the nail right on the head. Deuteronomy 6:4 proclaims, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

Ephesians 4:4-6 further expounds on this truth:

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The preceding passage opens up our understanding of the nature of our one God, in that he exists in three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. Jesus Christ, called “Lord,” is identified as the second person in this Trinitarian community.

While Thor may be a “demi-god,” Christ’s incarnation presented us with one who was both fully God and fully man. John famously records:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

Though the Bible does substantiate the divinity of Jesus Christ, it goes out of its way to underscore his humanity. Hebrews 2:14 records, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.”

In the film, Thor plunges in from the sky with a fury of thunder and lightning to make his entrance into the earth. Much the same, Christ descended from above, coming to earth to fulfill his mission to save the world. Ephesians 4:8-10 records:

 This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

I’ve made mention of the fact that Thor holds the power of thunder, as he is literally called the “god of Thunder.” It is a major weapon in his arsenal, as he commands the elements to produce lighting with the power of his illustrious hammer.

Jesus’ power over the elements is made painstakingly clear in Matthew’s gospel. While he and the disciples were on a boat, a “furious storm” came upon them.

Somehow, Jesus managed to sleep through all of this (that is almost just as impressive as what ensues). The disciples, however, woke him up pleading for their lives. As a result, “He got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him’” (Matthew 8:26-27).

Though Thor had bulging biceps and commanded the heaviest hammer in the universe, he alone did not possess the power to defeat his enemy. On the contrary, Jesus uses the weak things of this world to shame the strong and achieved victory through the foolishness of the cross.

Colossians 2:14-15 informs, “[He cancelled] the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Both Jesus and Thor had a mission of salvation, which had to be completed before they could return to their heavenly dwellings.

The writers of The Avengers assured us of a happy ending, allowing Thor to retrieve the Tesseract and use its power to return to Asgard with Loki under arrest.

Jesus Christ, however, took possession of the pen, himself, to assure our happy ending. Therefore, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

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~ by christianballenger on May 11, 2012.

6 Responses to “Jesus Christ – the ultimate Avenger (part 2)”

  1. Your blog is amazing Christian. It is truly a blessing to witness the way God is moving in your life.

  2. My brother I’ve got some catching up to do…. this looks good, I mean real good… I like the hero aspect you are taking……Jesus what a hero!.. I’ll have to come back and digest this which I will later on…

    I llke also what you quoted in hebrews, few of us realise that through his death he conquered the devil… I have a friend who believes Jesus has yet to do this… (lol) I’m glad we serve a God who “has” conquered everything that needed to be conquered this is why we have salvation now and not up the road sometime later..

    The Lord bless you my friend
    Paul

  3. Bringing a message about America’s love for the hero… googled a few things and found your blog: great Article brother. Keep up the good work. Also, there’s a fantastic song by a christian artist Chris Rice entitled “I need a hero”. Download it and listen – fantastic description of the journey from sinner to saint painting Christ as the hero that He truly is.

    God bless you brother and keep typing.
    Until He returns.
    -J

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