Sunday, March 4, 2012

Looking for a Hero


John Wayne rides into town and he is not fooled by the bad guys. He has the upper hand and with his guns, a straight shot. He out smarts the bad guys and with the quick draw of his gun, he wins the battle for the good guys.
Superman catches the falling girl from the building and stops the train before it crashes. There are no worries with Superman flying around. He shows up just in the nick of time to save the day.
I have been watching the television series Highway to Heaven. In the show, Jonathan who is an angel, gets sent by God to go from town to town helping people who are in a crisis. Jonathan is no Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life. Jonathan is tough and yes, he turns the other cheek, but then he gives out a heavenly punch to set things straight. He is there to help out the underdog and to give everyone a happy ending. The bad guys do not get away with anything. Jonathan makes sure they get their consequences, immediately. Why isn’t Jesus like Jonathan from Highway to Heaven? Why doesn’t Jesus come in to our world of stress and confusion and save the day?
Those dreams of a hero may be promoting doubt in the God of the bible because there is such a significant difference in behavior and outcome between Jesus and this world’s heroes. As all the heroes claim to be good and want the good people to have victory; Jesus, who is our Saviour, acts so much differently than the heroes of this world.
Do I so easily forget that Jesus came to seek them which are lost? To bind up the wounded and heal the broken hearted. Isn’t that every one of us? Jesus doesn’t take sides. He seeks everyone. That doesn’t seem fair. It’s unjust. Everyone is loved not matter what they do. Jesus came to seek that which is lost. You know… the bad guys.
John Wayne doesn’t come to help the bad guys.
Jesus is meek, mild, and humble. Jesus would not act like John Wayne but I still want him to come into my situation and make things right. I want Jesus to right the wrongs in my life, to vindicate me and to give me the happy ending of my problems. To make it all right.
Is that how the Jews misunderstood the Bible? They were looking for a king to come and take over and wipe out the enemy.  When this child came, born in a manger, I think that threw them off. This meek man who healed the lame and cured the sick and sought after the unlovable; He was not the king who they had learned about in the temple their whole life. They did not see that he was the King of kings and Lord of lords. Did they see someone weak? The Jews did not see his plan and they would not listen to his message. They missed it. The missed Him. He was right there and as they were looking for a hero they missed the real Messiah right in their midst.
If Superman, Jesus, and John Wayne were in a line up, would we really pick Jesus? I would not have. I would have picked John Wayne. I would have liked John Wayne to come riding up on his mighty horse Duke and beat up the bad guys and save my honor. He would have given me justice.
Jesus doesn’t deal in justice. He deals in mercy. “He looked beyond my faults to find my need,” so the song goes. So that means he must look beyond the faults of the ones hurting me and see their needs as well. Superman just wants the good people safe and the bad people punished; brought to justice. Not Jesus. He is merciful. The Bible is full of verses on mercy.
God’s children are under His grace. So what if I need saving from another Christian?  Where I am looking for justice, there is only mercy and grace. I so soon forget the wrongs I do to others. The ones I offend by my words or my actions. I don’t want justice then. I beg for mercy. I seek forgiveness. I wonder if that is what my offender is doing. Would it matter if it wasn’t?
Do I want to have the outcome be what God’s will is for my life; or would I secretly still like John Wayne to come riding in to make everything all right?
Jesus is no John Wayne and I have learned to be very thankful that he is not. Because when I was God’s enemy he did not seek justice from me. He sought a solution to reconcile us together. He had mercy on me and showed me grace. God knew there was a price to pay and I was unable to ever pay that price for sin. So, God sent his only begotten Son to die for my sins and yours. There on the cross, justice is served.
I learned I do not need a hero. I do not want justice. I need Jesus. Jesus is not a superhero. He is mercy. I have learned I need mercy.