We live in a superhero culture of mythological fascination. Stories of good triumphing over evil have been supplanted with narratives of conflicted sorcerers using raw power to accomplish some end that they have justified as good. No meta-narrative of right and wrong, cosmic good over cosmic evil, or redemption is advanced. Rather, the end justifies any means necessary. Brute power is the tool. Moral compromise is the means. Calculated destruction of moral principles and truth signpost the path of absolute power’s dominance.
Throughout the centuries, humans have sought for Messiah. Whenever a powerful deliverer stepped on the scene of pain, suffering, and impoverishment, hope stirred.
“Could this be the one?”
Will this person deliver us from the oppression of our conquerors, the domination of unjust rulers, and the crippling taxation of government? Will this person be our Messiah, our deliverer, our salvation?
The fantasy persists, embellished by actors, movies, and special effects. These messiahs promise salvation through force, hope through conquest, and justice through injustice. These entertainment forms and figures stir hope within us that good ends can be accomplished by bad people doing bad things.
Real life mirrors our entertainment script. We elect evil leaders and expect them to care for the populace. We install the powerful, the wealthy, the strong, and make them more so. We tolerate their bad acts, foolishly fantasizing that evil deeds can produce good results. Rape, murder, deceit, malice, and slander are celebrated as long as they get the job done. My side wins. My definition of virtue triumphs.
How different with Jesus!
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28 NKJV).
The sinless Christ went to the cross and died for the sins of the whole world. In death, He appeared defeated. The reality of His resurrection three days later changed the world. And He changes us today!
The resurrected Christ, the Messiah of the world, then calls us to lives of service and sacrifice.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11 NKJV).
National elections come and go. Strongmen rise and fall. Despots conquer and rule. Another rises to take their place. Each is esteemed by someone as their messiah. But there is no Messiah apart from Jesus Christ. He has come. He is our hope.
So, we pray for our leaders. We ask God to purify the hearts and minds of our leaders that they might serve Him in holiness and righteousness.
In the face of political and economic turmoil, look to Messiah, not the most recent superhero on the world stage of current events. There is no lasting salvation apart from Jesus Christ.