Have you noticed that there are more super heroes than there used to be? When I was a kid we had Superman, Batman, Mighty Mouse and Underdog.
Oh yes the Marvel Comics had their super heroes but it wasn’t something I knew much about. I never aspired to be a super hero. If I read comics it was Archie, Blondie, Porky Pig, or Bugs Bunny.
Did you know there were those who considered themselves “super” men in Jesus day too? They called themselves Pharisees, Sadducees and Rulers of the Temple.
These were the folks who went around correcting every one for the tiniest of infractions of the Law. They followed Jesus, constantly trying to catch Him doing something wrong, so that they could condemn Him and disperse His followers. This is what Jesus said about their super pious and religious ways.
“You Pharisees and teachers are show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You give God a tenth of the spices from your garden, such as mint, dill, and cumin. Yet you neglect the more important matters of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the important things you should have done, though you should not have left the others undone either.” Matthew 23:23 CEV
They criticized Jesus for eating dinner with common people (sinners) and for healing the crippled and the blind. His kindness to a prostitute and a tax collector was despised and ridiculed. His followers were common place; men who owned fishing businesses. The only one of any real stature in society was Luke the physician.
Sad to say, there are still many who think they should be awarded some superior status and even have letters sewn to their chest and don a cape. There letters might be SSC, Super Spiritual Christian. However, they would meet with the same message from Christ that the rich man, Simon, was given when he invited Jesus to dinner.
Simon invited Him with ulterior motives. He and his associates were always trying to trip Jesus up. A woman of questionable reputation came into the house and she poured expensive perfume on Jesus. The dinner guests began to whisper demeaning words.
“Jesus said to the Pharisee, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Teacher, what is it?” Simon replied.
41 Jesus told him, “Two people were in debt to a moneylender. One of them owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty. 42 Since neither of them could pay him back, the moneylender said that they didn’t have to pay him anything. Which one of them will like him more?”
43 Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the one who had owed more and didn’t have to pay it back.”
“You are right,” Jesus said.
44 He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Have you noticed this woman? When I came into your home, you didn’t give me any water so I could wash my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You didn’t even pour olive oil on my head, but she has poured expensive perfume on my feet. 47 So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love.”
48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:40-48 CEV
We are called to be like Christ not like the Pharisees. Our hearts should be filled with compassion, understanding, love and grace. People don’t need to be condemned for what they’ve done wrong. We all know, full well, when and where we have failed. We have been forgiven much!
Ours is a mission of forgiveness. We are called to walk in love; to treat one another kindly; to encourage and build up; to strengthen and support. We must live “graceful” lives; lives full of grace showing others that we understand it is only by God’s Grace that we have been forgiven.
“God raised us up from death when He raised up Christ Jesus. He has given us a place with Christ in the heavens. 7 He did this to show us through all the time to come the great riches of His loving-favor. He has shown us His kindness (grace) through Christ Jesus.
8 For by His loving-favor (grace) you have been saved from the punishment of sin through faith. It is not by anything you have done. It is a gift of God. 9 It is not given to you because you worked for it. If you could work for it, you would be proud. 10 We are His work. He has made us to belong to Christ Jesus so we can work for Him. He planned that we should do this.” Ephesians 2:6-10 NLV
If we are to wear any banner on our chest instead of it declaring us to be super heroes I think it would be best that we make it “GG” for God’s Grace!
We will encounter folks each day who have met a religious super saint and have been condemned. Let’s bee a grace giver; let them be changed by God’s love.