We are a culture that loves the hero story. From Potter to Skywalker to Frodo to Katniss, heroes captivate the young and old in their triumphant adventures.
Our English teachers would remind us that there are some essential elements to a hero story. You could argue for more or less, but here are some basic elements:
The Calling for the mission
The Rejection of the call
The Token or something powerful to help the hero
The Temptation to Quit
The Drive to Finish
The Victory and Reward
As you think through various stories you can doubtless identify these key elements.
It is popular (and easy) to see a correlation between Jesus and these heroes. After all, the mission of Jesus is the ultimate epic story.
But hold on. There is a stark difference. Among the items listed above there is one characteristic that is not present at any stage of the life of Christ. Did you catch it?
Amazingly, Jesus never rejected the call!
This is extremely significant as it separates Jesus from even the most exaggerated mythical heroes that our most creative minds can come up with.
When Christ makes a covenant with his Father to save and secure his people he never reneges. He never flinches. He is focused, at all times, upon the will of his Father. He came to do his will and accomplish his work.
This is why Jesus is so adamant in passages like Mark chapter 8. In his first reference to the cross in this gospel Mark captures Jesus’ emphasis:
(Mar 8.31) And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Did you notice that word ‘must’ there? It is a word of necessity, compulsion, priority, obligation. Jesus is fixed upon the cross. There is no possibility of him abandoning the call. He had an unwavering commitment.
Jesus Christ is the hero par excellence! There is no comparison to him. Even if we welcome in the heros of our imaginations there is no one better! He excels them all. This is worship provoking.
Furthermore, it is humbling. It is humbling because this Jesus, the great hero, was fixed on Calvary like a laser beam, for a sinner like you and me. He was not coming to save the beautiful bride who was a victim of an evil villian. Instead, he is coming to save an ugly bride who loves and delights in evil (Eph. 2.1-3).
His powerful conquering will make his bride beautiful and defeat everything that is evil (Eph. 5.27; 1 Joh 3.8).
Let yourself get wrapped up in this story again and again. It never gets old.