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Symbol of Hope


“Faster than a speeding bullet…more powerful than a locomotive…able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

I have been a Superman fanatic since I was a burr-headed boy. Every day after school, I would rush home—fly, if you will—to catch The Adventures of Superman with George Reeves in the title role.  Usually I would tie a towel around my neck before I turned on the TV, which doubled as a cape as I mimicked George Reeves slicing through the air. I remember one day I had invited the new kid on the block to my house to play. When it was time to switch on Superman, I did so with all the excitement of a little boy opening his gifts on Christmas morning. The new kid said, “Superman? I don’t like that show.”

I looked at him as if Uncle Sam had just uttered that he didn’t really dig Mom, apple pie and America. How could you not love Superman? This was a strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, an alien who could “change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel in his bare hands.” Superman could fly, bounce bullets off his chest, bench press a truck and penetrate brick walls with his X-ray vision. What was there not to like?

Now comes a new Superman movie, Man of Steel, which opened this past weekend with Henry Cavill, a British actor, taking on the role of Krypton’s most famous son. The suit has gotten a sinewy makeover with no red trunks on the outside, but other iconic elements are present, including the cape, boots and bold “S” shield on his chest. In one scene, when Lois Lane, portrayed by Amy Adams,  interviews Superman, she asks what the “S” stands for.

“It’s not an S,” the Man of Steel replies with a grin. “On my world, it means hope.”

“Well, here it’s an S,” Lois says cheekily.

The big red “S” turns 75 this year. It has evolved over the years since Superman made his debut in Action Comics, published in 1938. Today it is recognized all over the world, emblazoned on clothing, jewelry, glassware, phone cases and even Shaquille O’Neal’s bicep. In fact, according to Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, Superman’s crest is the second most recognized symbol on Planet Earth.

The first?

The Christian cross, another symbol of hope–in fact, the greatest sign of hope ever given to humanity. Consider what the Scriptures say about the Old Rugged Cross:

  • It is the power of God for those being saved (I Cor 1:18).
  • It puts to death the enmity between races (Eph 2:16).
  • It has taken away the burdensome rules and regulations of the old law (Col 2:14).
  • On the cross, Jesus took on the sins of the world so that we might die to our flesh and live in righteousness (I Pet 2:24).
  • Lastly, the unfathomable love of God was displayed on the cross of Christ (Jn 15:13, Rom 5:8).

In Man of Steel, Superman saves the world, the credits roll and the big “S” flashes on the screen to end the movie. But in Christ, there is no end…for His symbol, the Cross on which He died, gives real hope this day and every day. It is the one symbol that will endure forever.

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its…


“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (Jn 12:32 ESV).

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