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Posts Tagged ‘Superman’

Verse 8: “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?”

Way back when DC Comics had published the storyline “The Death of Superman”, in which Superman seemingly perished defending Metropolis from the alien monster known as Doomsday, the eventual return of Superman to life was depicted in the storyline “Reign of the Supermen”. As an epilogue to that story, Superman and Lois Lane were shown by the supernatural detective, Dr. Occult, just how Superman “came back from the dead”. Long story short, it was a series of factors and events that only occurred in a once-in-a-lifetime configuration; Superman was as close to death as he could be (for a Kryptonian). This fact was lost on a gathering of people who began to worship Superman, as he had “come back from the dead” in their eyes. Kal-El was horrified to see that these people flocked to him like he was a god, and he had to vocally reprimand them that, telling them that he was mortal (although he has “power and abilities far beyond mortal men”, to quote the old Adventures of Superman TV show). He could no more raise people from the dead or cure the sick supernaturally than they could. Thankfully, his words snapped them back to reality.

Paul begins his defense before King Agrippa by harkening back to his defense before the Sanhedrin: that he believes in the resurrection of the dead. He evens parlays it into the rhetorical question he puts before Agrippa: “Why should it be though incredible by you that God raises the dead?” If God is truly all-powerful, omniscient, and omnipresent, then why wouldn’t He be able to raise the dead? Paul is laying the foundational basis for his later arguments regarding Jesus.

I am reminded of the times when we have to be reminded of God’s power. Take Matthew 8: 23-27 and Matthew 14: 22-33. Both times, when out on the water, Jesus performs miracles over the power of the storm and of the sea in the face of his disciples’ fears. He then reminds them, “why did you doubt, o ye of little faith”. The disciples’ replies that marvel at His power are perfectly summed up in Matthew 14:33: “Truly You are the Son of God”.

Why should we think it incredible that God can’t do the impossible? He’s God!

More to come.

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Verse 27: “But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.”

For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe the horse was lost,
for want of a horse the knight was lost,
for want of a knight the battle was lost.
So it was a kingdom was lost – all for want of a nail.
JLA: The Nail

In the DC comic book special, JLA: The Nail, an alternate tale of the beginning of the Justice League is told. Most everyone who has ever heard of Superman knows his origin: rocketed from the dying planet, Krypton, his spaceship nearly crashes into the travelling truck of Jonathan and Martha Kent. The Kents adopt the baby, and their parenting guidance paves the way for Superman’s moral code. In this story, (the background of which can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JLA:_The_Nail_series ), a nail causes Jonathan Kent to have a flat tire, delaying their fated rendezvous with Kal-El’s spaceship. Instead, an Amish couple find and raise Kal-El in the isolation of their community, thus altering the familiar storyline of Superman and the Justice League.

In the passage today, it would seem Paul has hit a nail. Even though he has conversations with Governor Felix several times, reasoning and witnessing to him, Felix is afraid and keeps sending Paul away. The passage evens states that he hopes Paul would bribe him to let him go. So after all the trial and testimony, trying to do the Jews a political favor on his way out the door…Felix leaves Paul in custody.

Some might see this as a nail altering the story and mission of Paul; here he is, stalled in house arrest at Caesarea. Not so; remember, God had promised Paul he would see Rome as His missionary. What may seem like a delay, simply was God’s plan for Paul to tell the Good News to even more officials. Enter the new Governor Festus and later King Agrippa. The Kingdom here is not lost for want of a nail…it is held in place by divine direction of Jesus Christ.

Something to think about.

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Verses 22-23: “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior – Jesus –”

DC Comics published a wide-ranging storyline before the turn of the 21st century called “DC One Million”. In summary, the descendants of the Justice League, who still fought crime in the 853rd century, had a celebration and traveled back in time to invite the current/original Justice League. Of course, with any story involving superheroes, you got some supervillains messing up the works!

In Action Comics #1,000,000, Superman’s 853rd century celebration showcasing his powers was sabotaged by a sentient sun computer named Solaris. Solaris spread disinformation that the original Superman was really a Bizarro clone. Fleeing pursuit, Superman was captured by a security force of the 17th Thanagarian Fusiliers working for Lexcorp Interplanetary. They were commanded by Mahol Toj. During their conversation, Superman mentioned to Toj his adventures working side-by-side with the legendary Hawkman of his era, Katar Hol. This gave Mahol Toj pause, as he explained to Superman that, even in the 853rd century, the name Katar Hol was revered, honored, and legendary. Superman took this cue to explain how he worked with Katar and admired Katar’s qualities of justice, integrity, and honor. Mahol Toj understood then that a Bizarro couldn’t comprehend these traits, and began to believe that this was the genuine Superman. He and his fellow Fusiliers then strove to aid Superman in his plight to prove he was the Superman-Prime.

When called upon to speak in the Jewish synagogue, Paul began to establish his message by giving a brief history lesson of the Jews as God’s chosen people. He mentioned the respected name of King David, “a man after God’s own heart”. Having “connected” with his audience, Paul used that base as a springboard to proclaim the Good News, that Jesus came to earth, born of the line of David, and was God in human form. He told them how He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and was resurrected and sits at God’s right hand, to come again in the final days. By the way, Paul’s mention of “the promise”? It’s 2 Samuel 7:12-16, where the prophet Nathan relayed God’s promise to raise up a descendant from David’s line…that descendant, in human form, was Jesus!

Jesus “connected” with us sinful humans, by becoming human Himself, but sinning not. Just another reason He is the Savior we can identify with.

Something to think about.

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Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to the other side of the Mayan calendar. 🙂
To continue with Ephesians:

Verse 5: “ having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”

In the February 1962 issue (#9) of Justice League of America, the group was sharing with Snapper Carr and Green Arrow the story of how they formed the JLA. Each member wound up fending off an alien attack on Earth by claimants to a throne of the world of Appellax. Teaming together, the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Flash, travelled to the site of where the last alien had landed. Superman and Batman were already teamed up, tackling the menace together. Each alien inhabited a body made of some mineral or form (stone, mercury, glass, etc.), and this one was in a diamond form. Leaping to the attack after Batman saved him from a Kryptonite ambush, Superman used super-friction to turn the diamond-skinned creature into a statue of coal.

At this point, Snapper Carr (the honorary member of the JLA and recorder of their adventures) exclaims, “ Whoa, Superman! I know you can change coal into diamond by rubbing it with your super-hands…but how could you change diamond to coal?” Superman replies, “Quite simply, Snapper…I simply rubbed the diamond being…the wrong way!”

Half-puzzled and half-bemused, Snapper’s response is in the hipster 60’s language of the day: “I don’t read you…but you have such hi-fi thoughts, I’ll just cool my engine until I’m on your wavelength!”

Sometimes the truth of something is so far beyond our understanding, we can’t fathom it, not even with all our human intelligence. This verse in Ephesians makes reference to one of those mysteries: how can God have given humans free will, yet predestined us to be “sons by Jesus Christ to Himself”? Aren’t the two mutually exclusive?

Check out some of these other verses (Romans 8:29-30, John 1:12, and Luke 12:32). You’ll find that God knows what we’ll do…after all, He’s God! He made us. But He does want us to come to salvation through Jesus Christ by our choice…that’s why He gave us free will. Does He know who will accept His Son? Yes. The choice is still ours to make; He didn’t make us robots. We can wrap our finite minds (or try to) around this mystery till the cows come home and still not comprehend it fully, but as God said in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, sayeth the LORD”.

Something to think about.

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Verse 6: “Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Not too long ago, DC Comics ran a storyline through all its major titles called DC ONE MILLION. In this plot, the future descendants of the Justice League from the 853rd century came into the present to invite the present-day Justice League to the future for a celebration. As always, there were villains, present and future, lurking in the midst to mess things up. In the future, Superman was accused of being a Bizarro clone through the devious machinations of the villains, and was on the run from the populace. He was caught by a squadron of Thanagarian elite Wingmen, under the command of Mahol Toj, who responded to the rioting. During their conversation, Superman mentioned the name of his present-day teammate Hawkman; that name was Katar Hol. The mention of the name of a legendary figure in the Wingmen’s history gave Mahol Toj pause, and he gave Superman a chance to prove he was the original, allowing both sides to help each other confront the real villain in the game (some of this research I remembered with some help from a DC wiki: http://glcorps.dcuwiki.net/w/Mahol_Toj_(DC_One_Million) )

The Judaizers were very fond of quoting the law of Moses…Paul “one-ups” them here, and mentions Abraham. Abraham was saved by faith in God, long before there was “the law”. Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 in this verse. So if Abraham didn’t need the law to be saved, why should the Galatians? It was faith in God…for Abraham, faith in God the Father; for the Galatian Christians and us today, it’s faith in Jesus Christ, God the Son, the One who took our sin punishment upon Himself, and paid a debt we couldn’t pay.

In this case…it is Who you know!

Something to think about.

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Ephesians 6:14 – “Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,”

“Acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin” is the definition of righteous. I read those words, and I can’t help but think “what an empowering feeling it is to act in accord with divine or moral law, to be free from guilt or sin”. It would give you a confidence, a sure and purposeful feeling.

I think of Superman (yes, believe it or not, I do have a life outside of comic books, but follow me here…). Whenever you saw Superman on a magazine cover or TV, it was usually in the pose of strong defender: standing tall, confident, in the protective, “super-heroic” stance (chest stuck out, hands on hips, immovable, invincible). You knew that nothing would stop him from protecting people, striving for truth and justice. Having been raised by the Kents, he was grounded in a good moral foundation.

As Christians, we too, are grounded in a good moral foundation…the ultimate foundation, actually…the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. No, He doesn’t wear a super-suit, but He is our ultimate Defender, our Advocate, our Shepherd. Only in Him, living in accordance with His divine law, can we be free from guilt and sin. That’s how it feels to put on that “breastplate of righteousness”.

We may not “leap tall buildings in a single bound”…but all Jesus asks us to do, is go in His Name, and make disciple makers. If we try to do that on our own, you might as well try to “run faster than a speeding bullet”! But when we let go, and let God, and put on that “breastplate of righteousness”…you’ll be amazed at how He can use you!

Have a blessed day!

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verses 7-9: “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me – to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

Of all the super-feats that Superman did in the comic books, TV, and movies, I always thought one in particular was different. It was the feat in which Superman would take a lump of coal in his hands, apply “super-pressure”, and turn the old rock into a precious diamond. It was explained to the comic fan that Superman was “applying in a few seconds the geological pressure of thousands of years”. So, how come he could do that, but when I try to apply pressure to a lump of coal, all I get are fragments of coal? 🙂

That’s about the closest I can come to drawing an analogy of God’s “power perfected in weakness”. Though mankind thinks that the biggest, the strongest, the richest, the smartest are the ones who can do most anything, there are situations where we cannot do squat! This is where you “let go, and let God”! Paul could have easily been conceited over his missionary achievements, but God kept him humble, and Paul acknowledged that.

I know God has blessed me mightily in many areas of my life, and I try every day to thank Him for that. When people thank me or compliment me on achievements, I try to make sure that I give the glory to God, for His grace is sufficient for me. Like the old hymn says, “I am weak, but Thou art strong”.

Have a blessed day!

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