Superheroes and villains captivate our attention from a young age. It really doesn’t matter whether you are boy or a girl, we fall in love with the princess being saved by the prince or Gotham being saved by Batman. Batman was my superhero of choice when I was younger. I grew up during the action series in which Adam West played Batman with all of the “BAM”, “POW” and “OUCH” graphics. It came on at Bat time on the Bat channel. No one ever died and the same villains continued to appear with a new scheme to harm the superhero and trouble the city.
Over time it seems these hero and villain stories have grown more sinister, dark and evil, yet the same characteristics continue to appear. The villains almost never die because there seems to be this line of morality, or good, that if the heroes cross it, they are in danger of becoming a villain themselves. When you examine them closely, there are very few things that separate the heroes and villains. They have many of the same qualities and characteristics and sometimes they have been both a hero and a villain. There is a constant temptation to resort to tactics less than admirable. Usually the villain knows he cannot kill the hero, but he never stops trying to deter, detract and undermine the good they are doing. So we continue to get superhero comics, books, cartoons and movies with the same heroes and villains with different tactics but the same storyline: the hero prevails.
In almost all religions there is some type of similar storyline. The power that leads us to do good and a force that wants to keep us from those things. In the Christian faith we identify these as Jesus Christ and satan. Both have other names they are known by such as Savior or Son of God for Jesus and the devil or the evil one for satan. Christ being the hero and satan being the villain. They have certain qualities that are similar such as place of origin, power, influence, followers and passion. However, there are also some distinct differences. Jesus would describe the plot of the story like this, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT). Though they both may have passion, their purposes are diametrically opposed. Satan desires to devour while Jesus desires to deliver.
One of the things that each of us needs to understand is how each of these purposes play out in our own lives. What influence does Jesus Christ have and what influence does satan have over the things we do and the choices we make? Evil shows up in our lives in the form of many different villains. Their purpose is to distract us from the things Christ desires for our lives even though they cannot destroy us. Distraction and delay are the tactics that are most successful in wavering our attention from the good we are to be accomplishing in this world. As Christians, the hope that we have is that we do not have to succumb to those forces.
Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ victoriously rising from the grave to overcome death and sin. Though the villains still press and tempt us, the hero is on our side. We are capable through Jesus Christ of overcoming every villain that we face. It is recorded in 1 John 4:4 (NLT) “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” We have already won. Christ in us is greater than any villain that comes against us. We must be diligent not to fall prey to the tactics of evil, but to rely on the power of Christ residing in us. The hero always wins. The same is true for everyone who is a child of God. We are victorious. We are the heroes that overcome!
I am beginning a brand new 10 week series Easter Sunday called “Heroes and Villains”. We will look at what it means to be an overcomer through Christ, the weapons and tools that are available to us, and the tactics and weapons the enemy uses to bring us down. I hope that you will join us. If you live in northeastern North Carolina, we have physical campuses that meet each Sunday in Edenton, Windsor and Columbia. No matter where you live, you can join us live online each week at www.live.visitopendoor.com and be a part of “Heroes and Villains”.