“The Word became flesh…” John 1:14
My daughter got a hamster for her birthday. She loves that hamster. Every day she takes her hamster out of its cage—multiple times a day—to hold it, talk to it, play, and go on adventures with it. My daughter started a hamster club at school with her friends. Her school library had to order more hamster books because all of the students in my daughter’s class were checking out all of the books. Soon, the students began to take on their own unique hamster identities with superpowers. Yes, the hamsters have evolved. One boy told me he could teleport from hamster cage to hamster cage. My daughter now has the power to fly AND hold 1000 sunflower seeds in her cheeks. Amazing, right? Before bed, my daughter often tells me how much she wishes she could really become a hamster—a super-power hamster that is.
This got me thinking. I remember wanting to be Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and a host of other super-powered beings. The pack of assorted Underoos my mother bought me helped me switch identities daily! I imagined rescuing the weak and fighting against evil, but if I’m being completely honest, I also dreamed about being the coolest guy in my school, having everyone love me, and getting even with every person who had ever wronged or even looked down on me—whether real or imagined.
Haven’t we all fantasized about being something greater than what we are? Marvel Comics understands this desire well which helps explain the 33 superhero movies it has churned out over the past decade and a half—earning a whopping 29 BILLION dollars.
Oh, what I could do with some POWER!
All of this was on my mind at the start of the Advent season as I contemplated the incarnation of God’s Son. Oh, what Christ could have done for Himself with all that power. Set up an earthly kingdom with all the opulence, comforts, and riches in the world. Conquered his enemies, wiping them from existence. Forced every knee to bow in reverence and every tongue to pledge allegiance. Fulfilled every physical desire under the sun. He could have done all of the things I fantasize about and then some.
Thank God that Jesus wasn’t like me—or even my cute little daughter for that matter. Our desire for more power is really a desire for self-glory and self-worship. Christ came to glorify His Father even if it meant giving up his heavenly position and authority, clothing himself in weakness and humility, and dying a brutal death on the cross. He did all this to rescue us from the one enemy we could never defeat on our own—ourselves. Christ defeated sin and saves the repentant and believing sinner. I don't know about you, but that's a little unnerving and very humbling to think about. Christ was, is, and will always be our ONLY hope.
Christ also changes who we think of as a HERO. It’s not the ones with power, but the ones who love as Jesus loved. Do you know anyone like that? Think about who your TRUE heroes are. Who has been a hero to you in your ordinary and challenging life? A parent? A coach? A mentor? A friend? Did they change your life with money or fame? I doubt it. For most of us, our heroes have been simple people who loved us sacrificially. Like Christ.
The greatest display of courage and strength the world has ever seen is the heroic power of Jesus’ love that held him on the cross until it was finished.
And that same power is at work in us (Romans 8:11). Ponder that and go be a hero today.