September 5, 2013

Only One Hero

Politics is not my strong suit, but I have observed how the public responds to leadership. At first, after the campaign is over and election secured, all hopes are placed in the new hero. However, it does not take long before he stumbles on the pedestal, perhaps even falls headlong off it. Then the public is after his head, crying for a new leader.

In a recent seminary course lecture, the professor pointed out, “There is only one hero.” We’d studied Old Testament history that showed the truth of his statement. Every man, even those appointed by God, failed. David killed a man and took his wife. Although he repented and stayed on the throne, the kingdom started to fall apart. His son, Solomon, was called the wisest man who ever lived, but he failed to follow his own advice and his reign ended badly. His son and grandson and all who ruled after him also failed as leaders.

The one hero is Jesus, yet He was also put down, at least for a time. It was not because of any mistakes He made. In fact, His downfall was partly due to the fact that He was sinless. They hated Him for it, and despised His claim to be God in the flesh. His disciples believed, but their faith was shattered when Jesus was crucified.

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” (Matthew 26:31)

The disciples had a false idea of what His perfection meant. They figured He was going to overthrow the Roman government that they hated and set up a kingdom something like their polarized memory of King David’s day when everyone was safe, happy and well-to-do. They did not realize that sin was their worst danger, always at the root of lost joy and peace. They also did not understand that unless their sin was atoned for and forgiven, it didn’t matter how good life was because their afterlife would be hell anyway.

For those reasons, when their Shepherd was struck down, they scattered; their hopes were dashed and they went back to fishing. Jesus said it would happen and it did. They forgot that He also told them, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

Yet when Jesus was put to death, these sheep disciples scattered only once. After the resurrection, they realized that this God-Man was the hero they needed. Even though they had fallen and strayed like sheep, they “returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of their souls” (1 Peter 2:25) and never scattered again.  

We put our faith in people, principles, ideals, even in our own selves. We expect too much or the wrong things and those idols fall off their perch. We become confused or angry and seek a more worthy idol, failing to realize the issue is not with that idol who fell off the pedestal, but with our own selfish desires.

There is only one hero. He never failed, and never will fail. He did crash once, but that was God’s plan. From that magnificent downfall, Jesus rose from the dead and lives forever — always perfect, always looking out for His sheep.

You and I have worshiped other gods. How silly we are. There is only one hero. No one is perfect, only Jesus. 

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