The Superhero Story

by Joanna Pierce on June 07, 2017

I’m amazed today at how much the world is hung up on the supernatural and the idea that superheroes live among us. Children I have observed in play are dressed in their favorite superhero costumes and play-fight bad guys, and let’s face it, each other.

It’s a big deal if another child has their same superhero costume. There can only be one of “them.” As a child I remember fighting over real issues like who got to be which Disney princess. But, the world has obviously changed since then.

In our fascination of superheroes, I’ve observed the names are of some significance as well. It seems the cooler the name, the greater the superpower. So, I’m hearing names like Sharkboy, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Green Hornet, Ant-man, and many others. To be honest, I have little insight as to what these superheroes do, but the children donning their costumes all seem to exhibit the same characteristics—they’re loud, obnoxious, and slightly angry.

But, I’ve got to give credence though to their naming conventions. I’ll be honest. It’d be interesting to have people address me as: The Stupendous Wave, Winking Wonder, Cobalt Fire, or Amazon Mercy. (And, yes, in case you were wondering, I may have checked out some of those superhero name generators online…)

We’ve succumb to assuming the superhero concept is man-made. But, it’s really not—it started with God. And, so did these things called “superpowers,” albeit they took a slightly different form:

And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him… (Mark 3:14–19, KJV, emphasis added).

In case you missed it, James and John were called “The Sons of Thunder”—the first “superhero” name ever. Okay, so you might not yet be convinced, so for now, let’s not argue semantics…read on.

Most theologians note the reasons why James and John were referred to as “The Sons of Thunder.” It’s reported in Scripture, and in other eye-witness accounts, that James and John had such fervency in their ministry, courage in fighting opposing enemies of Christ, and for having such tremendous power that went along with their words. One theologian, Johann Albrecht Bengel notes how thunder is both terrible and joyous, and so is the Gospel: striking terror into the world, but also bringing joy and gain to the godly.

We are all sons and daughters of the most high God. When we are obedient to His Word (Acts 2:38), He will endow us with power from on high (Luke 24:49). It’s God’s Spirit—the Holy Ghost—that gives us power and authority to tread on serpents, scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). We have power over principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places, and rulers of darkness just with the power in His name! It seems to like these can be classified as superpowers, but more so supernatural powers!

“Sons of Thunder” also means a voice shaking the earth. When we become a witness for the Lord, and go out evangelizing the message of Jesus, we become the oracle, or mouthpiece, of God. God’s Word is going to shake heaven and earth through his children (Hebrews 12:26–27). And, if you don’t think God’s Word won’t bring a change, guess again.

Whether we realize it or not, when we choose to do all of the above, we become a superhero for Christ. And, we all get cool names too. Mine? The Daughter of Thunder. I might not sign my checks with that name, but I’m called to witness, evangelize, fight the devil, and walk in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Are you interested in finding out what your superhero name in Christ is? Follow the teachings of the Disciples, as they followed Jesus Christ, and you’ll find out soon enough.