The most famous super-hero in the world is Superman, of course. He was sent to Earth as a baby, moments before his home planet of Krypton exploded. He lands on a farm in the American Midwest, raised by humble farmers to stand for Truth, Justice and the American way. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive.
But what’s always been the most interesting thing about Superman isn’t the super; it’s the man. After all, he’s basically invincible so if you want him to fight, you just have to invent another alien or give someone a kryptonite powered suit and then they can punch each other to death.
No, what actually makes Superman super isn’t his alien abilities but his morality. Superman always does the right thing. And that’s especially interesting when you can’t just punch a problem.
Superman is, after all, an orphan. A child of adoption. And an undocumented immigrant.
Aaaaaand… did you know Superman was created by two Jewish kids? That’s right – he’s most often treated as a Jesus-figure today, but he’s really more of a Moses (put in a basket, sent to another world/culture, raised by an adopted parent).
Of course, Jesus and Moses are part of the same story, and that’s why I wanted to start with Superman today. Because the very best Superman writers understand something profound about Superman: he’s not here to save us.
My favorite Superman writer is a guy named Mark Waid. And he said one time, “I don’t want Superman to be more like us. I want us to be more like him.”
For Mark (who literally writes Superman stories for a living), the best thing about Superman isn’t his strength, his invulnerability or his heat vision. It’s his goodness. The way he refuses hatred and bigotry of all kinds. The way he fights for justice on behalf of the little guy. And the way he shows us all what we could be.
Ironically, it takes a man from the heavens to show us what it really means to be human.
It’s no accident we see so much of the story of God’s people played out in the Man of Steel. Jesus too came not just to save us from our sins, but to show us how we were created to live.