How The Man of Steel Helps Us to Behold Jesus – The Real Superman by David P. Craig
On the road to Emmaus after Jesus rose from the dead He appears to His disciples and speaks of how all the Scriptures pointed to Himself: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Last night I went to see the movie “Man of Steel” about Superman with my wife and one of my daughters. We enjoyed the movie and afterward discussed some of the parallels between Superman and Jesus. The movie doesn’t purport to be a theologically accurate portrait of Jesus, but nevertheless it is rare occasion when you leave a movie thinking and talking about Jesus – and for that very reason alone this movie is very significant and worth seeing. This movie has been doing very well around the world – I think it’s because all of humanity longs for what Superman points us to – the real Superman – The Lord Jesus Christ. There’s probably more parallels than the ones we discussed, but here’s what we came up with:
(1) The first pointer is an ironic one. Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 cf. with Matthew 1:20). In the movie everyone on Krypton is conceived through a sterile process that does not involve sexual reproduction. Kal-El (Superman) is the first child born in many centuries of a natural birth. This is the opposite of the way it is between all humans and Christ – nevertheless Superman’s birth like Jesus’ is totally unique among his people.
(2) Superman like Jesus has a “Heavenly” Father and an adopted earthly father and mother. Jesus had always been with His Heavenly Father and then came to earth and was raised by his earthly father and mother – Joseph and Mary. Superman had a Father on Krypton – Jor-El (played by Russell Crowe) and came to earth and was raised by his adopted dad, Jonathan Kent (played by Kevin Costner).
(3) Throughout his life Superman is mocked, taunted, and even beaten by others and refuses to retaliate in words or actions. This reminds us of Jesus: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he oppened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
(4) Superman has tremendous powers as a child and refrains from using them accept to save others. Jesus came in total humility and lived in his human nature and refrained from using His omnipotent powers which reminds us of Philippians 2:3-5, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of us look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”
(5) Superman like Jesus has a “Heavenly” name (Kal-El) and a name given to him by his earthly parents (Clark). Jesus is called Immanuel “God with us” in Isaiah, and then Joseph and Mary are told to call Him Jesus “for He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
(6) Kal-El has to battle the vicious archenemy of humanity and the Kryptonites throughout the movie and ends up victorious just as Jesus was constantly attacked by Satan and was victorious. This reminds us of John 10:10, “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
(7) Superman keeps his identity hidden until it is time to fulfill his mission. Jesus also waited to accomplish His mission in the fullness of time: “But when the fulness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born or woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
(8) Kal-El (Superman) was sent to earth by his Father to save the world. Jesus was sent by His Heavenly Father to save the world – “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
(9) Clark Kent gives himself up in a crucifix pose at the age of 33 and fulfills his mission for which he came to earth – the same age Jesus was when He was crucified on the cross.
(10) Superman was “cut-off” from his Father for the good of humanity. Just as Jesus was “forsaken” by His Heavenly Father for the salvation of humanity: “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:3-6).