The world-famous superhero, the Black Panther, was played by Chadwick Boseman. Every day while filming was in progress, I imagine he would get up, eat breakfast, suit up, and step in front of a camera to thrill us as an action hero. Gal Gadot did the same thing as Wonder Woman. And decades before, Christopher Reeve did likewise before he stepped up to save the world as Superman. Why did they do it?
I think there are two reasons. We love a hero, and we long to be rescued. As small children we often see ourselves as the hero—perhaps rescuing a pet, a sibling, or even a toy. As we enter our teen years we may look to various influencers for direction and validation. But as we mature, the need grows greater for real answers to life’s troubles, and those answers don’t come from play acting. In times of great stress, we need something real.
Threaded throughout the Old Testament we find God’s promise of a great hero. And for generations, God worked through people like Moses, David, and Deborah. Many kings, prophets, military leaders, and almost all types of heroes are woven into the fabric of our salvation tapestry. But in one way or another they all failed to deliver. The relief they brought was only temporary. We were not rescued from the ultimate enemy: sin. So the longing went on.
Then, under the darkened skies and among the lonely hills near a small town called Bethlehem, the hero of the ages was born. With astonishment and awe, a chosen few gathered to worship Him. They could not have fathomed the great ministry and miracles to come, how He would rescue them, not by force, but by laying down His own life—and taking it up again (John 10:18). There is much we don’t know about this hero, and yet He changed the whole world.
Imaginary heroes fill a void for many. But those who know Jesus find the true hope we all long for. The Black Panther, Wonder Woman, and Superman are all eclipsed by the real hero. Jesus was, is, and always will be the Hero of Eternity. • Susan Sundwall
• What heroes have you looked up to, whether in your life, movies, history, current events, the Bible, etc.? How have they fallen short? Jesus, the greatest Hero, was willing to die for us. Let that sink in. It was because He loves us that the all-powerful One laid down His life. And then He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death once and for all. (Find out more about this epic rescue on our “Know Jesus” page.)
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah…out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2 (NIV)