Do you know Peter Parker?
I only recently learned of him. Yeah, he’s been around for a while, and so, I’m not sure where in-the-world I’ve been. Let’s just say that comics have not been my cup-of-tea. This past year, my granddaughter, Lucy, introduced him to me. Lucy not only knows Peter Parker, she is downright obsessed with him. She enjoys him! Imagine being at the playground and the cutest little three-year-old you’ve ever seen comes up and introduces herself: “Hi guys! I’m Peter Parker!”
For all those scratching your heads (unless perhaps I am the lone ranger who did not know Peter Parker?), he is the inauspicious character behind the superhero, Spider-Man. Think Clark Kent and Superman.
According to Wikipedia, Spider-Man received his spider-related abilities from a radioactive spider bite. His powers include clinging to surfaces, superhuman strength and agility, and detecting danger with his "spider-sense." Spider-Man recognizes that with great strength comes great responsibility. He uses his superpowers for good. And for that reason, in the comic world, he earns the title of “superhero.”
Now you know Peter Parker.
But what do I mean when I say that Lucy enjoys Peter Parker?
Well, Lucy has a great sense of imagination. She often pretends to be Anna or Elsa from Frozen, and sometimes Pooh Bear or Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. But guess who she most wanted to be for trick-or-treat this past year? You guessed it! Spiderman. She’s knows him and enjoys him, such that she wanted to dress like him and become more like Spiderman.
Lucy is not the only one obsessed with Spider-Man. He remains one of the most iconic and popular super-heroes of all time.
Friends, comic stories are not really my thing. Yet comics point us to the very real battle between good and evil. In some small way, they can point out to us our own need for a superhero, someone to rescue and make things good and right.
And aren’t we living through days where we long for someone to swoop in and help us in our time of need? Someone to rescue us from the mess we and make things good and right? That’s where Jesus comes in.
So, do you know Jesus?
Despite our beliefs about Him, most of us, would say: “Oh, sure. I know who he is.” After all, didn’t we just celebrate the “baby in the manger?” A pretty inauspicious beginning for The Super Hero like the world has never seen before.
Yet, Jesus is no mythological hero, and the question is: “Do we know Him?” Know Him so as to enjoy Him? Meaning do we long to spend time with Him, wear His clothes, and become more like Him?
I realized this week how little I really know and enjoy Jesus.
What was my first clue? Fear. Anxiety. Worry.
Oh, my head—the knowledge that I gain through Bible study—tells me that Jesus is my Savior, the One Who rescues. He is the Messiah. The Christ. The King. The One Who is to reign over the dominion of heaven and earth forever and ever with goodness and justice.
But what do my fears and anxieties tell me? I have yet to fully know, fully embrace Jesus in all of His Superhero ways. Intimately knowing Jesus ought to correlate to resting in Him. His power. His authority. His sovereignty.
I am not there yet. In the day-after-day, I sometimes trust Him. Other times, I can fluctuate between being paralyzed by fear or seeking to conquer those fears in my own power. Taking on the role of rescuer and savior in my own little dominion usually leads to more anxiety and little success. I have a way of making myself and my problems and my little part of the world bigger than I ought. John the Baptist had it right:
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30
Knowing and enjoying Jesus means trusting Him. Trust involves an acknowledgement of my own weakness and a surrender to His Superpowers. This becomes easier the better I know Jesus. For this reason, I am super stoked about beginning 2022 with Simply Bible: The Gospel of Mark.
Friend, I invite you to be a part of knowing and enjoying Jesus too!
I’ve wanted to write this study book for a long time now. Mark portrays Jesus on a superhero mission like the world has never seen before. This is no comic book. This is the Bible. The entire book of the Bible—from the Law to the Prophets—points to Jesus’s arrival and Messianic mission.
Mark’s account of this mission is fast and furious. Like other action-packed adventures, it feels as if every other word is “immediately!” Immediately, Jesus is going here. And then immediately, he is going there. And then, immediately, he is doing such and such.
Jesus is on the move. And although His arrival is an inauspicious one, His mission is not.
Would you join me as we journey with Jesus this semester? Step by step, word by word, we’ll follow Jesus one chapter per week. I promise that by the end, we will know Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. A Superhero who came to be known and enjoyed. A Savior and King we can trust.
Together let’s learn to release our fears and anxieties to Him, allow Him to transform our hearts with His Superpowers and enjoy His peace and joy.