By Stuart Powell
The Marvel universe of comics, graphic novels, TV shows, and movies is built around a collection of fictitious heroes. This cast of characters use their unique abilities and technology to rid the world, and universe, of evil beings. Each Marvel superhero uses their unique powers to respond to evil as they see fit from their experience and within the scope of their perspective. If they face setbacks, they keep going. In the end, their strength proves fruitful when peace in the universe is on the line.
There is nothing marvelous, however, about the Marvel universe. After each victory, the root problem lingers. People and aliens who choose evil keep showing up. No one in the Marvel universe has an answer for that problem.
What the world needs is someone who can do what the heroes of the Marvel universe cannot—kill evil at its root.
As Jesus prepared to go to the cross, he confronted the Jewish leaders by telling them the parable of the unjust tenants, a story about tenant-farmers who violently rejected attempts by the owner of a vineyard to collect rent on the property they occupied, even going to the extreme of killing the owner’s son.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Matthew 21:42).
God, through Jesus, does what is truly marvelous—he kills evil at its root. People expect a powerful God to put his might on display for all to see. People expect the One who holds all authority to command the masses. God does the amazing by going beyond what any person expects of a divine ruler. Jesus didn’t dictate from afar; he drew near and served. He didn’t throw down lightning on the wicked; he walked with them. He didn’t slaughter his enemies; he surrendered his own life to their cruel schemes. When Jesus died on the cross, he did what was truly marvelous.
As Christian disciples, we acknowledge God’s deliverance by gathering to eat the bread and drink from the cup. Every believer is invited to eat and drink as a participation in the beaten body and the life blood that was poured out to set us free from the control of evil and death. We remember the truly marvelous work of God in his redeeming sacrifice.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.