More Than Human.
Why do children love a good superhero? Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and Spiderman have enthralled generations of modern children. Tales are told of super powers righting the wrongs done by evil villains and natural disasters. Even ancient civilizations had their tales of valiant characters—Greek gods and goddesses, heroes of myths, sagas, and legends.
I suggest that each one of us enters life with a natural credulity for the supernatural; our artless innocence is wired to believe a cosmic champion will make the wrongs of this world right. Is there more fact than fiction to this yearning for a greater-than-human victor to enter our lives?
As the first century writer Matthew pens his fourteenth chapter he touches that chord in us. He shows us evidence that this man Jesus is not merely a man; He is truly man but He is also much more than human.
On the day chronicled in Matthew chapter 14, when Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been beheaded at the whim of Herod Antipas, Jesus “withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” He needed to mourn and He needed respite from the crowds that often surrounded Him. His closest friends, the Twelve, were with Him and they saw the depth of His sorrow at losing His friend to death’s dark blow. This enemy—death—was the foe Jesus had come to vanquish and He understood the significance of its venom much more fully than did those around Him.
Alas, as Jesus and His disciples landed on the far shore, the ‘solitary place’ was teeming with people who had skirted the lakeshore on foot. Crowds draw a crowd, and the people wanted a healer. His own grief must wait; seeing them, He “had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Hours later, as the last broken mind and body was restored to vigorous health, Jesus’ disciples approached Him. “Send the crowds away,” they suggested. The sun was approaching the western horizon. They were getting hungry and the crowd of thousands was beginning to feel like a liability to the disciples.
“They do not need to go away,” answered Jesus. “You give them something to eat.”
‘Us?’ the disciples must have wondered in disbelief. The shore and hillside was literally thick with people—men, women, and children by the thousands. The disciples could not imagine what Jesus was talking about. ‘Who had the resources to feed this mass?’ they were thinking.
Then Jesus took a boy’s offering of five small loaves of bread and two fish. Thanking His heavenly Father, Jesus broke the loaves and gave the pieces to the Twelve to pass to the people. ‘How far will that go?’ the disciples must have wondered. Yet as they obeyed, reaching into their baskets to share with family after family, the supply met the demand. How long this took we’re not told, but it must have been long enough to work a miracle in the hearts of those Twelve men. Disbelief and confusion turned to surprise and joy, perhaps even repentance and awe—the mighty power of the God-man Jesus was feeding not only stomachs but also hearts and souls. When the last person was fed and satisfied the disciples’ baskets were finally empty.
The lesson Jesus’ disciples learned that day was yet another building- block in the foundation of a new perspective the Twelve were acquiring. Jesus was no ordinary man—the disciples were becoming more and more convinced of that. Simon Peter would later put that growing conviction into words claiming, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” in response to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15,16).
So we come back to the present, the here-and-now of your life and mine. Who do we say Jesus is—a good man, a teacher, a kind and compassionate people-person? Yes, that is all true; it is a beginning, but let’s not end there. We need the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. When the Father places the thought on our hearts that the Son is more than man—He is God in the flesh—we must own that truth, apply it to everything we think, say and do. It changes everything.
That is what we are created for. That is the yearning we’ve had since we were children. Jesus is the superhero we have longed for, the valiant righter of wrongs who has the resources to speak everything we need into our lives. Let’s entrust ourselves to Him today in every aspect of our day. He is trustworthy because He is more than a man—He is God.
(Photo Credit: By Wegmann – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12632456)