Posts Tagged ‘Captain Marvel’

Verse 1: “Now Saul was consenting to his death.”

2 comic book characters come to mind when you speak of hero turning villain (from the classic origins…I realize DC Comics has been revamping their universe of characters, so I speak from the classic origins here, not retconned ones).

Mighty Adam was the choice of the wizard Shazam during the dynasties of Egypt to wield the gifts of the wizard to fight injustice. However, he had a taste of what that power could do, and wielded it selfishly, killing the ruler and making himself king. Shazam banished him, though he would later return with his new name, Black Adam. He became a chief antagonist against Shazam’s modern champion, Captain Marvel.

Sinestro was made a Green Lantern of the planet Korugar and served the Guardians faithfully, using his emerald ring and lantern to defend and to protect his planet and space sector. Again, power went to his head, and he allowed himself to “enjoy” the powers he wielded for personal gain. Banished by the Guardians to an anti-mater universe of Qward (where good is evil and vice versa), Sinestro fashioned a yellow power ring (yellow being a weakness in the green lanterns’/rings’ makeup) to get revenge. He, too, became an antagonist…this time, for Hal Jordan, Green Lantern of Earth.

Both these men were heroes; both let power corrupt them; both became villains.

Here we have what will be the reverse: a zealous Jew named Saul, who saw the violence against Stephen…and endorsed it. He actually became emboldened by it, and turned himself into Public Enemy No. 1 for the Christian church. He became a hero in his own eyes (my wife’s pertinent observation here!)

But, God had other plans…

More to come!

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Verses 2-4: “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Consider these following personal memories:
• On a high school band trip to Universal Studios Florida theme park, my family attended the Twister Ride It Out© special effects show. The highlight of the show was a Hollywood-style simulation of a tornado on a mock sound stage of a country street. Talk about intense! Even though we were safely behind the guard rail to watch it, we could still feel the wind and the rain and all the noise, as close as we could be to being in an actual tornado. It scared my youngest son so bad, he actually was crying even though he knew it was make-believe.
• My favorite Saturday morning show in the 1970’s was the live-action Shazam TV show. Even though special effects were limited in the 70’s, I always love the way that Billy Batson transformed into Captain Marvel by saying “Shazam!” A lightning bolt would plunge out of the dark sky, strike Billy on the head, surrounding him with glistening energy, and he would “morph” into the adult form of Captain Marvel, as the energy would then collapse into the lightning bolt insignia on the front of his uniform, all while you saw a shifting, cloudy background (the background was more than likely some form of lava lamp, but still it was great!)
• Years later, on a business trip to Los Angeles, I had a short stopover in Las Vegas. I was amazed as we picked up a good many passengers, most of them tourists from outside the United States. The inside of the cabin was literally a cacophony of Spanish, German, French, Italian, and other languages I couldn’t even recognize. The stewardess told me later that Las Vegas was a big vacation spot for many foreign tourists.

Now, those memories came to mind, when I read the supernatural events of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. A mighty wind, but inside the house. Tongues of fire that settled on each head of those gathered there. The supernatural sound of different languages being spoken, all proclaiming the Lord! I can only imagine what it was like; we tend to do that when we hear of incredible events such as these. We try to picture with what we know, of something that happened of which we were not present. But the disciples were there…and what a start for the Christian church at Pentecost!

Something to think about.

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Verses 23-24: “but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me.”

Transformation. Whether the act is fictitious, such as Billy Batson turning into Captain Marvel by saying “Shazam!”, or factual, such as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly or a lump of coal turning into a diamond, transformation is always something that is amazing and wondrous.

Here Paul used his own conversion, the transformation that turned the Christian-killing Saul into the missionary preacher of the Gospel named Paul, as part of his witness. The early churches were marveling at this living example of the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Paul would go on to not only use his testimony to further the Gospel, but also to refute his accusers in saying “I am living proof of the Gospel I preach!”

Fellow Christian, are you being living proof of Christ’s transforming power in your life today?

Something to think about.

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verses 16-19: “There are six things that the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that desires wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. ”

Among all the comic book superheroes that I enjoyed reading and still re-read today is Captain Marvel (now I refer here to the version that ran in Fawcett Comics and is currently owned by DC Comics under the title of Shazam!). In the origin story, young Billy Batson is led down an abandoned subway tunnel by a mysterious stranger to meet the wizard Shazam, who will soon give him the powers of the World’s Mightiest Mortal. On the way down the tunnel, the pair pass seven ugly statues, titled “The Seven Deadly Enemies Of Man”: pride, envy, greed, hatred, selfishness, laziness, and injustice. An entry in Wikipedia on Captain Marvel stated that, in the comic book series, these were seven demons that Shazam had captured and imprisoned in stone. The writers of the series based these seven on the Seven Deadly Sins.

My Holman commentary on Proverbs (pg. 231) does indeed read “You might call this passage the “Seven Deadly Sins” of the Old Testament. Starting with a list of six and then seven may seem unusual, but it was a common literary device in Hebrew (see Prov. 30:15-16, 18-19, 21-31). It makes clear that this list is not exhaustive, but it does include specific things that God hates.”

The devil is always prowling about; he enjoys pressing any advantage he can get at in us. These big 7 sins aren’t the only ones; would that they were the only ones! Solomon here points them out, to stress it seems, our avoidance of them. As I have quoted here before, the best way to detect counterfeit money is to study the real thing; the best way to avoid those sins is to fill one’s mind and heart with the things that God loves: accepting His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior, and His Word.

Have a blessed day!

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