Klaus Issler writer of, Living into the life of Jesus: The Formation of Christian Character, begins his work by asking the question: Is Jesus your hero? I’ll be honest with you, when I first read this statement I said to myself, “A hero like superman? Faster than a speeding bullet? Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? I don’t think so.” Then I turned to my trusted Merrian Websters: Collegiate Dictionary and looked up the word hero. Webster gave several definitions. I’ll throw two or three out for you to ponder. “A mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.” A hero can be, “An illustrious warrior, one that shows great courage or a man admired for his achievements or noble qualities.” An editorial remark, Webster always defined hero in masculine terms giving the impression that a woman could not be a hero. There are plenty of women who would easily be identified as heroes. Let’s not forget that Hero was the legendary priestess of Aphrodite love by Leander. Leander was a youth who in Greek mythology loved Hero and swam the Hellespont nightly in order to visit Hero, and on one of his nightly swims drowned. Are you still pondering? I continued to think about the word hero in light of Issler’s book. Hero seems to be such a human term. Are we really to the point of dumbing down our theological discourse and referring to Jesus as a hero?
Issler makes a poignant statement, “Do we think of Jesus as our hero? Of course he’s our Lord God and Savior, but is he our hero as well? How is he a hero? Because Jesus was the first person to live a fully human life, while dependent on the Holy Spirit, the only one to practice all that he preached.” Jesus being a hero according to Mr Issler, is based on the fact that Jesus was both fully man and fully God. Lets be honest, a lot of people have trouble wrapping their minds around this fact. Jesus was God so he couldn’t sin, but he was a man so he could have? The church for 2,000 years has been dealing with this competing dualism. It is found in The Nicene Creed. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being from the father; through him all things were made.” The church has made it clear time and time again that Jesus was God incarnate in the flesh. Jesus did practice every last thing that he taught. He was tempted in every way that we are tempted, but yet he never sinned.
The more I thought about Issler’s use of the word hero I began to see as to why Jesus is his hero. Referring to Jesus as hero does get in my way a bit when trying to explain what Jesus means to me. Perhaps it gets into your way? However, at the basic level, I would have to say, Jesus is my hero. Isn’t there a movie out called, The Avenger’s based on several of Marvel Comic’s Heroes? I’d be willing to say that Jesus doesn’t even make a cameo appearance. Jesus is my hero. Is he yours?