We all have Superhero’s … some of them are more obvious than others: rock stars, TV actors, top athletes, the pope, pastors, our fathers … and so did the disciples.
They had wondered the face of the earth for about three years with their master and mentor, Jesus. They had reached situations where there was clearly NO way out… but every time Jesus came through with the solution…always a bit late but never too late it seems.
Let’s look at some of them:
A hungry mass of people (5000 to be exact – counting only the men; add a fair 10000 to get the total) walking after Jesus, waiting for a touch, a word, an encouragement from Him, followed the disciples and Jesus from morning until late afternoon. Jesus is clearly done teaching and the disciples are tired and hungry too, but instead of sending them home it’s suggested the disciples give these 15000 followers something to eat. However a mere 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish will not do. (John 6:1-13) But in the last instant, AFTER the disciples had to settle these masses in groups of 50 (try doing that for a change), JESUS comes through… and SOMEHOW when he breaks the bread and fish… it becomes more. All the people get food until they are FULL and 12 BASKETS full of crumbs remain.
Jesus tells his disciples to row out onto the Sea of Galilee (that is known for fierce storms with immense high waves). (Luke 8:22-25) Whilst He takes a nap in the boat, the disciples enter a storm (one of these fierce ones – and mind me say… these men KNEW how to steer a boat, they were fishermen). Whilst they are fighting to keep the ship OVER water, Jesus continues sleeping. When Peter wakes Him, shouting at Him to make it clear they are about to drown, JESUS gets up, tells the storm to stop, and immediately even nature obeys His command. What a superhero.
When friends during one of His crusades through the country approach Him with the news, that his friend, Lazarus is severely ill and needs His healing powers, Jesus makes His way there (healing many along the way and being delayed). (John 11:1-45) So when He arrives Lazarus is dead already and Martha, one of his sisters approaches Jesus in despair and tells him he’s too late. Jesus is deeply touched by this moment – He even cries. However, again the disciples are to witness yet another miracle, when Jesus tells Lazarus to get up from the dead, and he does.
So here we had only three incidents… one of power over the amount of supplies, one where power of the forces of nature is displayed and one where even Hades seems to buckle under His command. There are even more, when looking at all the healing miracles, but I guess you get my point. Here is a genuine SUPERhero. He was a Superhero to the nation that got touched by His powers, to the people whose lives had been changed forever, to His disciples (for even though they spend time with Him constantly, He never seemed to fail in His superpowers).
Now comes the events around Jesus crucifixion and the disciples for the first time witness a Jesus different from their self made Superhero. Jesus seems to be in despair (they had never seen Him like that before), He talked things they more and more did not understand (about temples being destroyed and rebuilt (John 2:19), Him dying (Mark 10:32-34)) and here HE is, seemingly suddenly powerless when they come to arrest Him, try Him, sentence Him (John18) and crucify Him. HE DIES.
Of course they bolted. Wouldn’t you have? They were scared! They had never seen their Master like that! He didn’t seem to have any super powers any longer, which meant that they as His followers might be in dire straits too. They bolted.
And so would you, and so would I. And so we have.
Often our superhero’s are less obvious... they are our pastors, mentors, parents, friends… and when they mess up, we are quick to drop them. I have seen many leave churches, for their superhero’s were defeated (they were eventually only human) pastors, leaders, mentors. I have seen many, leave a ministry, when their superhero leader of it, fails to fulfil their dream goals.
Following a pastor, a mentor, a leader OTHER than JESUS was never intended. People leave churches, ministries etc due to lack of performance according to their standards. They leave because their focus… their superhero was a human being. Instead of praying for them and giving support.
In the body of Christ, we should never deify people. Unless JESUS is our superhero and the reason why we are in it – all is in vain. I therefore ask you to think and pray about your own life. Change perspective and make JESUS your focus and aim to please HIM instead of people.
May God bless you!