But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12 KJV).
Tales of super heroes (Marvel and DC Comics character types) are the rage at movie box offices. For years the likes of Thor, Hulk, Superman, Batman, X-Men and soon – The Justice League – have drawn millions into theaters and made billions for their producers worldwide. These super human heroes appeal to contemporary minds and hearts just like the medieval knights in Europe and western cowboys in America have in the past. Every generation is drawn to persons of extraordinary capabilities and achievements that can only be described as SUPER! But, while the Man of Steel, the Dark Knight, Sir Galahad and even Matt Dillon are only fiction, super heroes have lived and walk among us even today.
If super heroes are defined by their exceptional abilities and extraordinary accomplishments against incredible odds, then of course none is more SUPER than Jesus Christ! He had power to control nature. He spoke just a few words and calmed a raging storm (Mark 4:39). He had power to create matter. From just a little bread and fish, He produced enough food to feed thousands of people – twice (Matthew 16:9-10). He had power to call the dead back to life (John 11:43-44). He had power over demons, which are very real (Mark 1:34). He even went toe to toe with the prince of demons, Satan, and won (Matthew 4:10-11). As to His accomplishments, John wrote: “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) Jesus really did return from the grave (Revelation 1:18). But perhaps the most amazing thing Jesus did was give to others the power to become sons of God (John 1:12).
This power changes lives, and the change begins the very moment you believe on his name (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The Greek term exousia (power) literally means super human power. Jesus is the ORIGINAL SUPER HERO who defeated evil villains, thwarted plans of world domination, overcame cosmic powers, and saved countless lives from disaster. And His power that accomplished such deeds of daring do in the first century continues in the twenty-first through the sons/children of God, i.e. as many as received him (thoughtfully accept what He says about Himself) and them that believe on his name (entrust their lives to His ability to care for them). These are the REAL SUPER HEROES in the world. The Word of God says about them:
- They radiate a supernatural light that cannot be overcome (Matthew 5:14-16; John 1:5).
- They possess a supernatural strength greater than all the power of the enemy (Philippians 4:13; 1 John 4:4).
- They have a supernaturally enlarged mind that understands things others do not (1 Corinthians 2:16).
- They have a supernatural Teacher who instructs them, trains them, commissions and energizes them, and remains with them for life (John 16:12-13).
- They have supernatural abilities to carry out their missions (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
- They have supernatural protection against enemy weapons and schemes (Isaiah 54:17).
- They have supernatural weapons of great power they use to defeat their enemies (2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:13-17).
- They have supernatural means to change outcomes (Ephesians 6:18).
- They have a supernatural Captain in charge of operations; He has never lost a fight (1 Corinthians 15:25-27).
One commonality of the comic super heroes is just how really COMMON they are. They have their weaknesses – they’re not perfect. The Hulk’s incredible strength is slave to his uncontrollable anger. Batman is cowered by memories from his dark past. And Ironman’s shining gallantry is tarnished by his sordid hedonism. These fictional characters are very like real people. Though possessed with great powers and abilities and guided by good moral values – they shrink under attacks from their greatest enemy – SIN.
The apostle Paul stands tall as one of history’s greatest super heroes, but he professed his own inability to triumph over banal desires dominated by the law of sin which he described as waging war against the law of my mind. Paul’s tremendous desire to do and be good was continually undone by his penchant for evil. His utter frustration boiled up in his outcry, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (Romans 7:21-24 New Living Translation) Recognizing his own need for rescue, this hero heralds the Super Hero who answered his call – “Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25 NLT). By His great POWER Jesus SAVED Paul from the deadly grip of sin. And He does the same for all who call upon Him (Acts 2:21).
The real super heroes in the world are those who have received superhuman power from Jesus Christ to set them free from sin’s dominion (Galatians 4:7); to fight for the truth (Jude 3); to defeat the Devil (James 4:7); to overcome evil in the world with good (Romans 12:21); to love even their enemies (Matthew 5:44); to live godly in an ungodly society (2 Peter 2:9); and to share with others what they received from Christ (Matthew 10:8). Though super, they still are not perfect. But they have been changed from children of darkness to children of light (Ephesians 5:8); changed from unrighteousness to righteousness (2 Corinthians 6:14); changed from similitude with an evil world to the likeness of their holy Creator (Colossians 3:9-11). And when they make mistakes, they own up to them and, like Paul, cry out to the One who can and will come speedily to their rescue. If this describes you, then welcome to the League of Super Heroes! Welcome to The Children of God! Let the adventure begin!