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A Strange Way to Save the World

A Strange Way to Save the World

Who is your favorite comic book superhero? We sympathize with their desire to live a normal life, but superheroes sacrifice their desires to save the world. It is part of their attraction.

When we think of superheroes, we think of characters that are larger than life. They leap tall buildings in a single bound. They can be invisible. They can fly. Criminals are terrorized by their presence. They seem to be indestructible. When we think of superheroes, words like humble, gentle, loving, and forgiving don’t come to mind. We think of someone who is powerful and dynamic to save the world.

Well, our real world is certainly in need of saving. The world created by God was beautiful. It was a perfect paradise. God, in his infinite wisdom and incredible love for us, gave man the gift of free will. Man could choose to obey God and live in paradise, or he could choose to rebel against God and curse the world God had lovingly created for him. Man, through Adam and Eve, doubted God’s loving command and chose to rebel. The result is that the world we now live in is cursed. Sin dominates our world and with it comes disease, hatred, war, pain, suffering, death, and selfishness. The world is broken and in need of a savior.

With the world in such desperate shape, you would think that God would send a superhero to save it. Okay, maybe God wouldn’t send a superhero in the sense of tights, capes, and the ability to leap over a tall building in a single bound, but you would think that God would choose to save the world through a powerful, charismatic leader who could wield power wisely and crush God’s enemies. That is what Israel thought the Messiah would be like. However, God’s ways are not the same as our ways and God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Consider whom God chooses.

1 Cor 1:26-31 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Rather than send a powerful hero into the world, God sent a defenseless baby. A baby that would grow up and be executed for crimes He didn’t commit. Jesus, born of a poor virgin for the purpose of dying for a world that would reject Him; that was God’s plan for saving the world. To us, that’s a strange way to do it, but it’s the only way that would work.

Let’s consider why God chose to send Jesus as a baby rather than a superhero to save the world.

When we think of a superhero, we think of someone who is larger than life. They fill the room with their presence. When Batman shows up, everyone is awestruck. The cool suit with the cape, the Bat-mobile roaring down the street, windows breaking, bad guys getting tossed all over the place, and then there’s the Bat Signal. He tries to be covert, but you can’t miss Batman.

But God chose not to send a hero who was larger than life, because a flashy superhero couldn’t do the job. Therefore, God sent His Son, Jesus, as a baby to a humble family, so poor and unassuming, that they couldn’t even merit a room in a local inn for the baby to be born. Nobody knew He arrived except a few shepherds in the field that night.

Luke 2:4-7 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,    and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

No, God’s way of saving the world didn’t involve a superhero who was larger than life. God’s plan, strange as it may seem, involved a baby born in a barn and laid to rest in the feed trough of the farm animals. Jesus and God’s way for saving the world were humble in nature. Jesus entered the world through humble circumstances and He lived His life in humility.

Jesus declares to us in Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus was humble. He did nothing to draw the world’s attention to Himself, but He did everything to draw the world’s attention to His Father. In addition, He calls us to do the same.

Philippians 2:3-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 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!

Jesus is God! He is God, who chose to take on human flesh, become one of us, submit Himself to the will of the Father, and die a humiliating death of crucifixion so that we might be made right with our Creator and not suffer the penalty for sin.

The world needs saving, but rather than send a hero who is larger than life, God sent his Son, Jesus, as a baby; humbly born to die a humble death. That’s a strange way to save the world.

God’s method for saving the world was strange in another way. If you shoot at Superman, the bullets just bounce off. Then he takes the gun and wads it up like a little piece of paper. Superman can bend the rails of a railroad track to save the train or to detain the bad guys. Superman has the power to destroy an asteroid with his eyes or to see inside of a building.

You’d think that when God decided to save the world he’d send a hero, like Superman, who is overpowering, because sin is a powerful thing. Sin has destroyed so many lives. We, in and of ourselves, are powerless against sin. But, God chose to send us Jesus, who is humble and gentle.

Matthew 21:5 ’See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’

Jesus is the perfect example of gentleness. His response to a broken and sinful world is to restore gently that which is broken. Often, we misunderstand gentleness. We have a tendency to associate gentleness with weakness. Christ is gentle, but I assure you He is not weak. The power of God is very real in His life and ministry. The miracles He performed were powerful. His ability to endure the cross, when He could have rejected it, speaks of His power. His resurrection and triumph over death clearly reveal His power. Super heroes overpower their enemies, but Jesus saves the world through true gentleness. To us, that’s a strange way to save the world, but it is the only way, because you don’t overpower sin by taking away people’s guns and wadding them up, but by changing the heart where sin abides.

God’s method for saving the world was strange in yet another way. Spiderman can shoot webs out of his hands. He swings over the city at breakneck speed. He can scale a wall without the aid of ropes. He’s strong enough to bend steel. His spider sense tells him when something is about to happen. You’d think that when the world needs saving, God would send a superhero, like Spiderman, who could display mighty acts. But, God chose to send his Son who, though He could display mighty acts, instead displayed love.

Every miracle Jesus did was a mighty act, but each time it was done in order to display His love. Time and time again, Jesus was moved by love and compassion to heal the sick.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 20:34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Mark 1:41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” (NKJV)

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The ultimate display of His love for us is His death upon the cross. That death is what saves the world, defeating sin and bridging the gap between God and man. Jesus displayed the mightiest act of all, an act of absolute love, the act of dying in our place to pay for our sins. We marvel at God’s love and wonder how He could do that for us. It’s a strange way to save the world.

God’s method for saving the world was strange in one more way. Most superheroes offer punishment to evil doers. They hunt down the bad guys, they fight the bad guys, they capture the bad guys, and they punish them or at least they let the authorities punish them. One of the primary themes that run under the surface of our favorite superhero stories is the theme of crime and punishment. You’d think that when God wanted to save the world He’d send someone who would punish those who were doing wrong. Instead, John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn or bring punishment, He came to offer forgiveness. Nevertheless, there are those who will reject the salvation and forgiveness offered by Jesus. Furthermore, they will refuse to accept the invitation for a relationship with God, and if they are still in their rebellion when they die, they will spend eternity separated from God, punished in hell. But, Jesus didn’t come to bring punishment, He came to offer forgiveness to each and every one of us.

His death upon the cross took the place of our punishment. His death paid for our sins so that we could come to God and experience the love, mercy, and forgiveness He offers to us. The world needs saving, but rather than send a hero who would offer punishment, God sent His Son, who offers us forgiveness. To us, who want to see justice, evil punished, and wrongs made right, that’s a strange way to save the world, but where would we be if He did it our way?

If it were up to most of us to save the world, we’d send a superhero who was larger than life, who was overpowering, who displayed mighty acts, and who would offer punishment to those deserving it. Yes, that is what we would do. That is what makes sense to us. And that is what the Beast in Revelation will offer us. He will appear as a superhero to save us if we worship him.

Rev 13:11-18 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

Whom will you choose to worship, the superhero or the humble, gentle Christ? Beware of the deception that will cause the majority to worship the Beast. Stay focused on Jesus and His Word. Be filled with the Holy Spirit so you will have wisdom, insight, and discernment.

God sent His only Son, as a baby, to humbly and gently love us, to forgive us, and take our punishment upon Himself. Therefore, we need to realize that God works in ways that are different than we would work. If God can use a simple baby to save the world, strange as it may seem, then when He works in our lives in ways that don’t make sense, we can trust Him. He has a plan that is bigger than we can understand.

After all, that baby, Jesus Christ, did save the world. Today, salvation is a free gift of God for anyone who will make Jesus Lord and Savior of their lives. Someday, He will destroy this evil polluted world. But right now, He is preparing a place for all those who will be saved.

Furthermore, if we truly are striving to be like Christ and grow in our relationship with God, then we can learn a lot by looking at Jesus, the Savior of the world. By the power of His Spirit abiding in us, we can be humble in dealing with others, gentle in all of our relationships, loving even to those who don’t deserve it, and forgiving rather than vengeful. As strange as it may seem, God’s way to save the world now is to use us. We, who are humble and weak but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, are to preach and minister the message of Christ to a world that needs to be saved.

2 Cor 5:18-20 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Yes, to us, God chose a strange way to save the world, but it demonstrates God’s supernatural wisdom and almighty power. The way of salvation is through Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. Won’t you confess Him as your Lord and Savior, repent of your sin, and give Him your life through baptism so you can be born again of His Spirit and have eternal life in heaven? He invites you to come to Him today and be saved.