If anything the last year has shown us is that nothing is certain. The only certain thing is that… there is nothing certain. Few things can be counted on concretely. Few things live up to their claims. Remember that scene from A CHRISTMAS STORY where Ralphy gets the secret decoder ring. He had heard all the claims of what it would do. He had hoped it would open him up to new worlds of information, secrets, and purpose… And he found it only opened him up to a commercial for Ovalteen. He was disgusted.
Deep within the human soul is a longing for something certain. Something confident. Something that can live up to Its claims.
JESUS OFFERS THE CONFIDENT CLAIM THAT HE IS THE SUPERMAN AND THE MAGIC ROCK
We left off last week in our study of Matthew chapter 2 - We’ve been looking for Superman
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
The king theme for Matthew is King of the Jews. He wants his Jewish audience to know that Jesus is the hero they’ve waited for. He is the king they’ve prayed for. He is the predicted Savior and king. He notes that wise men from the East, probably from Babylon and instructed by Daniel’s ancestors when he was a major political figure in Babylon. They note that they are looking for the king. They are searching for superman. When they tell the king is upset? Why? Imagine telling the king, you are looking for the king. Imagine coming up to superman and asking if he has seen the real superman. Herod is out of control. He is troubled and all Jerusalem with him.
All through time there has been a hunger for a hero. A Super-man. Did you know the term Superman was made popular by Neitschze and his mentor who said that the main ethic in the world was to will power over others. They taught that every truth claim is a powerplay. Every act was actually a way to get yourself more power and more control. Two comic book writers from Ohio developed a superhero which they named after this concept by Neitschze. They wanted to show the opposite was true. They wanted to show that there was an all powerful one who would use his power –not to accumulate power and control for himself, but instead would use his power to fight for truth, justice, and the American way.
The Bible teaches that we all are looking for a hero like that. A Superman. And God promised in the early chapters of the Bible that mankind was in need of a Superman. A God man. A man who was 100% God. And 100% Man. He promised that one day he would send the Super-man to earth. And this super-man would allow himself to be killed by the Kryptonite of evil, but raise himself up, overpower death, and provide a way to raise us up on the final days. So here we are “halfway” into the Bible in a book called Isaiah. Isaiah lays out another Claim for the coming Superman. He says,
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
Don’t miss the Claim here. A Child will be Born. So this Superman will be born like a Child… BUT, he will also be a SON that is given. This Son-Child. This God-Man. This Superman will be both a human born child, and a God given Son of God. Now this idea might seem primitive and silly and superstitious to you. But look at the claim before you dismiss it. In order for God to come and fully sympathize with us, to empathize with us, he had to be able to “substitute for us” To take our place and deal with our human troubles. God had to know what it was like to “walk in our shoes.” But if he was merely a man, he’d have the same problems we do. He’d struggle with envy, impatience, anger, criticalness, etc like we do. He’d be like the Greek gods like Zeus and others. They were “god”, but they had human fallacies like lust, wrath, selfishness, self-consciousness. A man or god who was just as broken morally –as we are- couldn’t save us from something they struggled with. So this Superman had to be BOTH, fully moral heroic, loving, powerful and God. While close enough to dwell with us, substitute for us, etc.
CLAIM SUPPORT. So, now we move to the front half of the Bible and Jesus shows up. An Angel appears to Mary and says, A child will be born to you. This promise from Isaiah is made 100’s of years prior. And the Angel says, But you are a virgin, so what was conceived didn’t come fully from you. This child will be born, but this son has been given!!! What are the chances you could make such a specific and outlandish prediction and half it fulfilled 100’s of years earlier? Several mathematicians have calculated the possibilities. etc
Where will Superman be Born? Not in some major city like Metropolis, no no. Superman would be born raised in Smallville. Jesus was not born historically in Jerusalem, but in a small little town called Bethlehem. A little town predicted 100’s of years earlier.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘ But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
How can we know that Jesus is the One we’ve been waiting for? What is His claim support? Matthew tells us that his exact birth place was predicted. And it was a 1/1000000 shot that a man would/could be born there and meet the Biblical specifics. Matthew is saying, “Here is the superman we’ve been waiting for…”
SUPERMAN RESCUED US SO WE CAN RESCUE OTHERS
Perhaps you are thinking, “So What!!” What does this matter? Well first, if Jesus really lived up to the claims. The dozens and dozens of claims, you can be confident that his is not just some nice fairy tale. Jesus, like products we sell or produce has outstanding Claim Support. If it was just one claim, we wouldn’t be confident. But he has 100’s of specific researchable in history claims that we can validate and be confident. And if we are confident. We can know that our movies, our dreams, and our fairy tales speak of something our heart wants. There is a Superman who can come in and save the day. There is someone who will fight for us.
There was a movie that came out a few years ago called, “Waiting for Superman” It told the story of Michelle Rhee. I recently saw an interview with Michelle A. Rhee. She was chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 2007 to 2010. She moved into Washington DC, put her kids in the public school system and did one of the most controversial education overhauls in American history. Rhee inherited a troubled system; there had been six school chiefs in the previous 10 years, students historically had below-average scores on standardized tests, and according to Rhee, only 8% of eighth graders were at grade level in mathematics. Upon taking office, Rhee immediately began to make a series of radical changes that relied on top-down accountability and results from standardized tests. She said there was no time to waste because children were being robbed of their futures. In her first year on the job, Rhee unapologetically closed 23 schools, fired 36 principals and cut approximately 121 office jobs. You can imagine the firestorm she unleashed. But, as she was talking at this conference, she said that her mom was visiting on the weekend that it all hit the fan. Her name was being slammed in every newspaper, news story, etc. Her mom pulled her aside that night and said, “When you were a little girl, you never cared much what people said about you. We thought you’d be anti social, but that trait has served you well in this position.” Michelle Laughed and spoke of how her focus and determination as a child was a character trait (a unique BENT), that her parents honored and fanned into flame. Michelle said she was driven by the reality that kids were being failed by the system and needed to be saved or rescued… Ironically, in this interview, Michelle shared that she is still wrestling with Jesus and his claim to be able to rescue us. She said that her pastor and fiance have been helping her wrestling with Christ’s claims. SHE WANTED TO RESCUE OTHERS IN LIGHT OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT GOD WOULD RESCUE HER.
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