John 12:31

There is something about good stories that draw us in. Sometimes about a journey or plot that seems to resonate with something transcendent and deep within us. Think about superhero movies for a moment. They all essentially follow the same predictable narrative arch. Here’s the way they go. The story typically revolves around a protagonist, often an ordinary individual who gains extraordinary powers or abilities. They grapple with personal struggles and then eventually embrace their newfound identity as a superhero. As they come to terms with their powers, they face a formidable villain who threatens the world or their community. Inevitably, the hero goes through a journey of self-discovery, grapples with their sense of responsibility, faces moral dilemmas, and ultimately overcomes the adversary, often with personal sacrifices. The story generally ends with the hero’s triumph, restoring peace and balance to the world, while also accepting the role of protector or guardian for the greater good.

Why is it that we’ll pay good money to see movies about that same story over and over? I think it’s because it touches something deep within God’s design. Both his design for us to experience his good and our need to be rescued from evil. Have you noticed the narrative arch outlined above is similar to the arch of Scripture? Jesus is our hero and he’s come to our rescue.

Listen to the way Jesus described it. He said, Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. (John 12:31)

This is Batman going after Joker or Superman taking down Lex Luthor. The ruler of this world is a moniker for “the Devil.” Jesus calls him “the ruler of the demons” (Matthew 12:24) and Paul calls him “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). And Jesus casts him out. The Devil is a defeated enemy. Sure, he still prowls around like a roaring lion, but we can “resist him” and “stand firm in the faith.” (1 Pt. 5:8-9) That’s great news!

Secondly, Jesus tells us “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” On the cross, Jesus drives out evil and draws in people. Jesus walked to the cross so that we could be drawn into his presence. Notice that Jesus doesn’t just draw “some” people, he draws “all” people. This is beautiful news for us, friends. Jesus’ sacrifice overcomes sin.

Part of the storyline of Scripture is the casting out of evil and the drawing in of people. That sounds a whole lot like the superhero movies we flock to. Maybe there’s a reason. Maybe it’s because they echo the story God is telling. Take some time today and bring something before God that you want him to “cast out.” It could be fear, pain, or depression. He’s already cast out the greatest enemy. Then, take some time and prayerfully imagine Jesus drawing you to himself. Try to sense his love and embrace.

Pastor Ryan Paulson

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