By Jimmy Young
With the latest Avengers movie hitting the big screen, we have had a large dose of comic heroes in recent times. Yet out of everyone you can think of, who is the ultimate hero?
My answer to that question might surprise people. Jesus: the most controversial, stereotyped and divisive man to have ever lived. Some call Him a man – others a heretic – more call Him inspirational – some even call him a Saviour.
Here are a couple of things I am glad someone told me about Jesus.
1. My hero is not meek and mild
One of the most wide-spread images of Jesus is sitting with lambs. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.
I do not know that Jesus. This is the Jesus I know: He rumbled with death and came out taunting it. He stood up to the 'hypocritical elite' and called them a brood of vipers to their face. He turned over tables in the temple, as He expressed righteous anger. He came into messiness, depression and devastation and spoke life-giving truth. He did not care about social convention as He dined with the least, the lost and the losers of the world (people like me).
He gave up the riches of heaven to set his people free, and He literally laid down his life for his people. That Jesus is my hero. Meek and Mild? Not the Jesus I know. Filled with love, grace and mercy – Yes please, but never mild.
2. My hero knows our suffering
One of the things that I hate is when people talk about God as if He is distant. There is a belief that since the beginning of time – God has just sat back and watched.
That kind of God would be distant; He would not really care about you – He has removed Himself from us. Yet Jesus, the God-man came out of heaven specifically so that He could know our struggles and set us free. Can you believe that? That God came from outside the world – into the world – to meet every temptation and know what we deal with so He could set us free by suffering on cruel cross. How amazing is Jesus?
3. My hero is in the restoration business
I got married recently and in our wedding speeches we told our closest family and friends what we really thought of Jesus. Both my wife and I have gone through some really hard times in our life. So it was clear at our wedding as we spoke, that Sarah and I are broken people, who have discovered the difference that Jesus can make in a life surrendered to Him.
He makes beautiful things out of broken people.
The only reason that we love is because He first loved us – without that, we would always be broken.
Sin has broken us – it shows us as ugly and broken and in need of saving.
The trademark of Jesus is that He takes broken people and restores them to God.
Without it, I am just a broken man doing broken things living a broken life.
Only Jesus could have ever promised restoration – and He delivered.
4. Jesus extends the greatest invite to everyone
At the National Youth Ministry Convention, I saw a man who would impact me for a very long time.
Tony Campolo was guest speaker at NYMC and spoke on young people changing the world.
He said: "Christianity is made for heroism, not for pleasure".
That lit something in my brain. Jesus has the greatest invitation to the world.
Lots of people say; "Do what you want to do... make yourself happy"
Jesus says; "You want to be my disciple – drop everything – pick up your cross – follow me". That is a pretty crazy invite.
My lecturer at university once told me that the greatest question anyone has asked him – and could ever ask is this: Who do you say that Jesus is?
The rest of your life could change depending on your answer to that question.
Some will call Him Saviour, some will call Him a heretic and some will call Him just a man.
So who do you say that Jesus is? •