Looking for a Hero
Have you noticed our obsession with heroes? It’s everywhere. It’s in our stories, our movies, and our celebrity culture. It’s why we pull for Lebron James or the Baltimore Ravens or Team USA. It’s why we follow John Piper or Barack Obama on Twitter. It’s why we watch The Dark Knight or The Avengers or Star Wars. It’s why we read The Hunger Games or Harry Potter.
[Tweet “What do some of the followers of @JohnPiper and @BarackObama on Twitter have in common?”]
We need a hero.
We’re looking for someone to follow—to identify with. We want someone who will deliver when it matters most. We want a larger-than-life character that will overcome insurmountable odds, defeat the foe, and bring us victory. It’s one of the deepest longings of our hearts—and so we look for it everywhere.
[Tweet “We want someone who will deliver when it matters most.”]
Ever wonder why?
The Oldest Story Ever Told
The story of the hero overcoming the villain and rescuing the fair maiden is the oldest story ever told. It’s in our fairytales. It’s part of our common experience. It’s etched on our hearts. It’s something we intuitively know. We have this inescapable desire to rescue, or to be rescued, and in some way to identify with a hero.
[Tweet “We have this inescapable desire to rescue, or to be rescued, and in some way to identify w/ a hero.”]
We’re looking for a hero because God has set this story in our hearts to woo us toward him. Our hearts whisper that we belong to a bigger story, something outside ourselves. We long for a world of beauty and intimacy and adventure, and we know that this isn’t it: this place is too messy and broken to be our home.
[Tweet “We’re looking for a hero because God has set this story in our hearts to woo us toward him.”]
God plants these desires in our hearts to drive us to a hero who will rescue us from the villain and take us home to live happily ever after.
Our problem is that we always seem to put our hope in the wrong hero. The desire for a hero is right. It just often has the wrong object.
[Tweet “Our problem is that we always seem to put our hope in the wrong hero.”]
The Promise of a Hero
The Scripture, at the very beginning, sets out to address our longings for a hero by pointing us to the true hero. God’s very first promise—what is referred to as the protoevangelium or “first Gospel”—is the promise of a hero.
In Genesis 3:15, in the midst of God’s announcement of the curses that will come from Adam’s disobedience in the fall, God inserts the promise of a hero. It’s unexpected and a bit shocking to find the Gospel in the midst of the curses—but our God is one who frequently gives mercy in the midst of judgment.
This promised hero is the centerpiece of the Gospel. He is God’s answer to the fall. He will deliver us from evil. He will rescue his people. This promised hero will vanquish the very villain who induced the fall, and, in so doing, he will reverse the curse, restore order, redeem what was lost, and set all things right. That’s the first Gospel—the promise of a hero to come.
[Tweet “The promised hero is the centerpiece of the Gospel. He is God’s answer to the fall.”]
Do you long for a hero?
May I recommend one for whom the spotlight is never too much, who will hold up under the closest scrutiny, and who is the hero of the greatest story ever told? Every other hero will let you down. But this hero, if you identify with him through faith, has already secured victory for you. He has defeated the villain. He has rescued you. And he will take us home to live happily ever after.
His name is Jesus. Spread the word!