It strikes me as I look at my massive DVD collection that I am abit of a nostalgia fan. I have DVDs of all types of programmes that I used to love when I was growing up.
I grew up as a telly addict, and loved all of the TV shows about good old fashioned heroes. My favourite night of the week used to be Friday night, where I would stay on BBC2 from 6 o’clock until bedtime. 6 O clock was ‘Thunderbirds’ my first big TV obsession. I loved watching those brave men or rather puppets risk life and limb in crazy rockets to save people from earth, wind and fire (not the band). After Thunderbirds was the man from UNCLE – Ok the plots made no sense what so ever, but it was great to see those spies saving the world from THRUSH (yes they really called the baddies THRUSH). Finally there would be a repeat of some 80s episode of Doctor who (still an obsession to this day). I love watching this alien time traveller bumble around the universe. Wherever he went there was always peril and danger imminent, but he always saved the planet/cosmos/entire history of the universe.
As adolescence turned into adulthood, I started to exchange my children’s TV programmes for a rugby shirt, initially to play, but eventually to just sit and watch other people play. Any rugby fan, or indeed any sports fan will probably empathise with me when I say that being a rugby supporter is all about heroes and villains. As a Welsh Kid growing up in the 90’s my heroes were Neil Jenkins, Ieuan Evans and Robert Howley, whilst my villains were Will Carling, Jeremy Clayton Guscott and Lawrence Dallaglio. The thing with sport compared to TV programmes is that the goodies don’t always win. My heroes regularly got thumped by the villains from across the Severn Bridge.
As we get older we get more cynical and don’t necessarily believe in Heroes anymore, or at least we don’t believe in Heroes who always do the right thing and always save everyone. We are unconvinced by politicians, we see the tabloid headlines about actors and actresses and we are forced to confront the reality that no-one out there is a perfect role model.
Christianity for me is about saying ‘it doesn’t have to be like this!’. It is about meeting someone who not only is the prefect role model, but also knows you personally. 2,000 years ago a man was born who turned the world upside down. Opinions vary about exactly who he was, but the fact remains that you would have to go a long way to find someone else who’s influence is further reaching than that of Jesus of Nazareth.
The book of Mark, a biography of Jesus recounts this encounter of his:
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
This short passage shows some of the opinions about Jesus that were out there when he was alive and if we are honest they are not that dissimilar to those opinions that we have about him today. Some people believe that he was a very wise and good man, but nothing more, other people believe that he was a godly man, someone with a direct line to God, but nothing more (Muslims believe this). Other people today don’t believe that he even existed; they believe him to be merely fictional.
I believe, like Peter that Jesus is the Christ.
As someone who was once a 7 year old boy, for me the word Christ and the word hero mean the same thing when talking about Jesus. Jesus is the hero. I say the hero because as far as I am concerned he is the ultimate hero.
He came to earth with a mission, a mission to save the whole of humanity, and he completed it by sacrificing himself. He died to save the whole world, and then he came back to life. If that doesn’t make him the ultimate hero then what about this next bit.
The adventure is continuing, he may have gone back to heaven, but he is still active and (this is the best bit) there is the offer for you and I, and anyone who wants to, to take part in this adventure.
We’re not the heroes, we’re not the Tracey Brothers, we’re not spies we’re not Time Lords, but we have a chance to be involved in another role that is just as exciting.
Those of you who also watch Doctor Who will know that he has is ‘assistants’, these are people that the Doctor shows around time and space, he takes them to places that they could never imagine, and he teaches them to make them better people, in some ways a little bit more like him. When danger and peril inevitably happen, his assistants help him to defeat the evil foe. The doctor is the star, he is the hero, the one that knows everything and knows how to make everything OK, but he allows the assistants, that he loves and cares for to be a part of the action.
That is what Jesus offers us all. The chance to be a part of something big. The chance to play a part in an adventure more exciting and more scary than anything on TV or a sports pitch. Don’t get me wrong he has done the hard bit, he has sacrificed himself, he is the hero, but there is an offer to be his traveling companion. He calls us to be followers of him, and trust me when I tell you that there is no greater adventure than being the sidekick to the ultimate hero