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Redemption (or a hero could save us)

You listen to us every week talking about this new existence Jesus offers; you’re not fully convinced. And as you walk out the doors to this church, you’re smacked in the face again by everything difficult in your life outside these walls. You’re not free and you know it. The addictions are difficult to overcome. The pain doesn’t go away. The doubts hold you back. The past always lives in tomorrow. Maybe you’ve spent your entire life in slavery. And you’re not sure that your life could really change.

You murder with your words. You sleep with her in your mind. You gossip in your heart. You have an affair with your eyes. You worship your commitments. You lust over something your neighbor has. You rage in your car. You swell over with pride. You let greed envelope you. You harbor bitterness in the name of “not trusting her again”. You fail.

You’ve heard about hope, but you can’t find any. God is supposed to be love, but you’ve hardly experienced it. The bible is supposed to be truth, but it’s never exploded inside your heart. And you’ve heard about how God can save your life, but you’re not sure what that means.

Maybe you know Jesus and you’re just unsure of why you can’t communicate God’s love to the people you deeply value. The Fray lyrics resonate with you, “I would have stayed up with you all night had I known how to save a life”. You wish your best friend would give this a try. You’re tired of your mom and dad acting like this is just a fad that will eventually wear off. You wish that guy you work with would stop wasting his life. You desperately want for your coaches and teammates to see the light inside you.

No matter who you are, we all dream about redemption.

There have been 5 major motion pictures made about Superman since 1978. And while his popularity has significantly decreased in the past 20 years, some people are apparently still interested since Smallville was on for 23(ish) seasons. For now, all Superman movies are on hold.

Superman’s loss is Batman’s gain. After the first Batman movie was made in 1943, there was just one more over the next 40 years. But since 1989, there have been 6. The two latest one’s, ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ have re-energized the Batman fan base, leaving everyone on the edge of their seat for a third movie after the Dark Knight made more money than any other movie in history (except Titanic of course).

And the most popular superhero in our culture is Spiderman. You can’t disagree with how people vote with their money. There were 0 movies about Spiderman before 2002, but the 3 made since then are all in the top 15 money making movies of all time.

Let’s not forget about X-men. Since 2000, there have been 4 X-men movies – each one bringing in a big stash of cash. Since 2003, there have been 2 hulk movies, and since 2005 there have been 2 fantastic four movies with a 3rd coming soon. Plus we’ve had 2 Iron Mans in as many years. And we’ve recently had the privilege of watching classic comic book stars, “Captain America”, “The Green Lantern”, “Flash Gordon”, and “Aqua man” appear on the big screen

We love the idea that someone different than us could live among us, fighting to destroy the evil that lurks in the darkness. We shell out billions of dollars every year to be taken into a world that is safer because someone is watching over it – fearing deep inside that our world looks nothing like that. We know there are no superheroes.

It’s like the tension we feel near the climax of the film when evil is winning out is entirely parallel with the feeling in the pit of our stomach as we lie awake in our bed, wondering why our lives seem hopeless and trivial. Something inside us deeply hopes that the hero will arrive to destroy the villain. Then suddenly at just the right time, he does. There is something about the good winning that relates in a sincere way to our humanity. We deeply desire redemption.

This is the story of scripture. Your life is broken in ten million pieces – your heart has been broken. You are walking around in the dark, throwing punches. Everything inside you is crying out in desperation for someone to deliver you from the oppression you experience every day. Then suddenly, at just the right time, Jesus intervenes in your life, takes off your burden of slavery, and sets you free. This is redemption.

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