April 1, 2010

Of Saviors and Superheroes

In celebration of Easter and in honor of my favorite TV hero EVER here's a revised reprint of a post originally written on Good Friday 2008.

In just a few weeks, 24, will air its last episode. (Insert sobbing here.) From season one, episode one, Dan and I have remained captivated by every second of the show. For those of you unfamiliar with 24, it is simply the most exciting, adrenaline-filled, suspenseful, clever, riveting hour of TV—EVER!

Each season (one 24-hour day), evil forces (terrorists, double agents, Russians, corporate pirates, Columbian drug dealers, presidential assassins, etc.) try to annihilate the United States and our government. And each season, the Counter Terrorism Unit (a fictitious government agency) spends a frantic 24 hours trying to stop them. At the heart of it all is CTU uber-agent, Jack Bauer who single-handedly foils the plots and saves the day!

Season after season we watch in awe as Jack Bauer selflessly serves his country to rescue it. He takes incredible risks to save lives. He bucks protocol to do the right thing. He’s been shot at, imprisoned, tortured and left for dead. Many times he’s willingly offered to lay down his life for another. There seems to be no limit to what he will endure or do to thwart evil and see good prevail. Plus, he does it all without eating, sleeping or ever losing the charge on his cell phone!

There is no doubt that Jack Bauer is a modern-day superhero. A white knight in a shining, black, armored SUV filled with high-tech weapons and gadgets. He overturns evil with a combination of intelligence, selflessness, perseverance, determination, cunning, courage and an unyielding view of what is right.

If we could paint a picture of what a savior would look like, we might come up with someone who looks a lot like Jack Bauer.

Maybe this is the kind of messiah the Jewish people were awaiting when Jesus arrived on the scene. Many expected a warrior king who would overthrow the government, toss out the bad guys and set up a glorious Jewish kingdom on Earth.

But instead appeared a humble carpenter from unimpressive parents. A teacher who fought evil with swords of truth. A healer who offered restoration instead of condemnation. A friend who loved the unlovable. A king who became a servant. A lamb who willingly accepted the hate that tore his flesh. And a savior who bore the agonizing punishment that we all deserve.

And He did it for us. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corin. 5:21)

How amazing is it, that on the cross—tortured, humiliated, ridiculed, bleeding and deserted—Jesus, calls out to God on behalf of his killers, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Where we would reasonably expect (and even want) revenge, Jesus offers something no superhero ever will: mercy and forgiveness—to everyone, even the “bad guys.”

To our way of thinking, grace doesn’t make sense. But Jesus didn’t die just for the sins of the really bad guys; he died for the sins of each of us. NONE of us, on our own efforts, are good enough to bridge the gap of sin that separates us from God. We are the bad guys.

What doesn’t make sense about grace is that in place of what we do deserve—death, Jesus’ amazing sacrifice gives us what we don’t deserve—eternal life. All for the price of acceptance and repentance.

This Easter I pray that you lay your sins at the foot of the cross and accept Jesus’ gift of grace. He died not to condemn you, but to save you. He did this because He loves YOU.

“For God so loved [your name here] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16


Laura said...

I was talking about grace with my 11 year old just yesterday. He can give me the textbook definition, yet he can't seem to put it in practice toward his brother! LOL. Arent' we all that way, though? Expecting to receive it, but never giving it? Thanks for this reminder that none of us deserve this amazing gift of grace, kelli.

And a very sweet and Happy Easter to you.

Dave said...

I know that at times we all feel unworthy, incapable, and unqualified to share God's message with others and yet you do it on an ongoing basis so well. This blog is so powerful and obviously inspired by the spirit! You are a wonderful servant of God!

Patti Shene said...

Great post, Kelli. Your explanation of "24" and your admiration for the main character reminds me of my fascination with Jim Arness in "Gunsmoke". He was my hero for years and years and years. Still is, actually! LOL! I even got to meet him in person - twice! That was an answer to fervent prayer, for sure.

May you and yours have a blessed Easter.

Cheryl Barker said...

Hey Kelli, this is off-topic, but did you receive an email I sent you last week? I used the address I've used for you before (the one listed on your "about me" page). If you didn't receive it, let me know, and I'll resend...

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!