By: Andrew Johnson, Associate Pastor, Neartown Church
May 13 , 2019
Late last year, the world was blessed with one of the best movies in years... Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Our hero, Miles Morales, follows a familiar path; bit by a spider, gains new powers, struggles to figure out who he now is, then triumphantly understands with a climactic ending. Don’t worry, I really haven’t spoiled the movie for you.
Superhero origin stories all seem to follow this same path. Once they get their powers, there’s this gulf between who they were/still think they are vs. who they actually are now with power.
Paul writes to the Ephesian church in chapter 1 about who we are now with power. Out of who Jesus is and what he’s done, Paul draws the Ephesians squarely to our new reality - adopted, empowered, redeemed, forgiven, enriched, blessed children of the Most High invited to participate together in his purpose and plan to unite all things to Jesus Christ. Our identity isn’t simply limited to the cool things that come with Jesus (adoption, forgiveness, #blessed), but is exponentially greater through the purpose we’ve been given with our identity (empowered to take part in completing his plan of uniting all of the world to Himself as his people, the church).
How would we react watching this Spider-Man movie if Miles shelved his powers and never realized who he really was? How disappointing would it be for us to see him succumb to doubt, settling for less, fear and failure, allowing the Kingpin to ruin the world?
How do we react to ourselves when we stay on one side of the gulf, racked by guilt, doubt, fear, settling for less, disbelieving our call to be these new people that have been empowered to step into this incredible identity he’s given us as his church that fulfills God’s plan for all time?
Like Miles confronting the stakes in front of him if he doesn’t become Spider-Man, we should see the mounting need for Christ in the city of Houston and be driven to prayer to become the people, the church, Christ has made us to be! Ephesians 1 paints it for us - the new reality, our new identities, our new purpose. Will we elevate above our former selves and embrace our new reality? Will we raise others up with us to pursue our purpose IN HIM? It will only happen when we come in humility to Jesus through prayer for our hearts to shaped into who we are.
Lift our eyes up to you in worship, Father. Let our hearts be filled by your majesty. In awe of your majesty and a renewed realization of our identity, propel us to help others become worshippers of you. Jesus, burden us with the stakes of uniting all things to you. Let us be consumed by your glory and the joy of others coming to know you. To your great and glorious name we pray, Jesus, AMEN.