Mankind loves heroes. It only takes a look through history to see that it’s true.
We have our heroes in Scripture. We crave the miracles of God, but somehow the ones we love the most are those that come from God’s hand through His servants. Even knowing that the power is God’s, those servants become our heroes because they are like us – ordinary people who simply allowed themselves to be used by God.
Other peoples and religions have their heroes, too, and often the attitude is the same for them as it is for us. I used to love reading Greek mythology as a child. Although it was utterly depressing to think that real people were caught up in the worship of these selfish, immoral concepts of gods, the stories themselves were fascinating. But, just like with our heroes of the Bible, it seemed that the favorite heroes of the Greeks were not the gods themselves, but those who were considered to be half mortal. The ones who had some of the power of the gods but some of the limitations of humans. It was as if those heroes could more closely identify with the people for whom their heroic acts were performed.
The ancient stories have evolved into our more modern heroes. We have our own mythology, seen in our comics, television shows, and movies. Once again, the favorites seem to be the ones who can most closely identify with our own human struggles. The Jedi who, except for their ability to be trained in the use of the Force, are still susceptible to the same struggles ordinary people (and aliens) face. The human heroes like Indiana Jones whose personal knowledge and wit, combined with a little extra brawn and some cockiness thrown in for good measure, make them better than ten ordinary men. Or the Doctor, the longest-running character in our television mythology. Though not human, he has no personal magical powers beyond his ability to regenerate himself when faced with death. He travels through time and space with just a living spaceship called the TARDIS, a sonic screwdriver that can perform all sorts of amazing tasks, an understanding of the universe gained from his travels and long life, a genius mind that can pull it all together, and one or more companions to aid and accompany him. His ability to cheat death makes him seem invincible, but the knowledge that he is still mortal reminds us that he understands our fears of defeat. And his emotions, especially his love and the pain of loss, show us that his struggles are similar to our own.
Then we have our real-life heroes. Our sports heroes who we so want to be perfect. Our political heroes who we are convinced will swoop in and make everything right if given the chance. Our benevolent heroes who give their all to save the hungry, thirsty, ill, and orphaned.
But, there’s still something wrong with all of these heroes. We hunger for them to identify with us as typical humans. We hunger for them to be limited and yet to overcome those limitations. And yet, we struggle because we know that at some point they will fail. Maybe it isn’t complete failure, but at some point failure will come. The victory will be somehow incomplete. An innocent person will die. A painful and haunting sacrifice will have to be made in the process of securing victory.
And our heroes leave us longing.
But the truth still remains that we were created to need a hero. In the deepest core of our beings, we need a hero who will never fail but who can also identify with us, understand us, and truly be close to us. An intimate hero.
We need Jesus.
Some of us have not encountered this perfect Hero yet. We’re still looking, searching, and craving. The truth is plain and simple. There is no solution to our longing beyond Jesus. He is the only perfect Hero. Those who have not claimed Jesus Christ as their Hero will find fulfillment for their longing in no other way.
But then there’s the rest of us. We know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We know He has won the victory. But, do we truly live as if He has won? Do we truly respond to Him as the perfect Hero that we were created to hunger for?
Sadly, I think not. We don’t live like we trust Him. We don’t rest in the knowledge that He is in control. We still fear. We even still look for other heroes, just to have some back-up. We might not admit it openly, but our actions so often betray our lack of trust. And so, we find ourselves nervous, anxious, and unfulfilled. We find ourselves joining the rest of the world, seeking the satisfaction of heroes on the silver screen, in sports, in politics, or in benevolence.
One by one our heroes fail us, all the while the one true Hero beckons. Will we heed His call? Will we truly trust? In Him alone do we have this perfect guarantee: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will never fail us. Never.