Emptied & Humbled: Spider-man 2 – Identity

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Who are you? If you are like me, there is a certain tension to your answer.

I am a husband, a father, a son, and a brother. I am an employee and a volunteer. I am a writer and a poet. I am a dreamer and a procrastinator (not a good combination). I joke with my wife that I am a lover who can fight and a fighter who can love. I am a sinner and I am a saint. I am a Christian and an heir with Christ, but I am also a working stiff chasing the American Dream.

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A Holy Tension

The tension comes from choice and the resulting sacrifice, in choosing between what we want and what we will sacrifice.

Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and stealBut accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and stealFor where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

The tension comes from choosing between earthly treasure and heavenly treasure. Do you want earthly treasure or do you want heavenly treasure? Are you willing to sacrifice earthly treasure for heavenly treasure? Or will you sacrifice your heavenly treasure for earthly treasure?

And this begs the question, what is earthly treasure?

My wife is fond of our home and my kids like to eat. I enjoy movies (obviously!) and really like my TV. Yesterday I bought the newest release from a favorite band. Are these earthly treasures?

Notice that the storing up of treasure happens now, here on Earth, and not sometime off in the future. Regardless of if it is earthly treasure or heavenly treasure, the storing up of the treasure happens now. This is not some pie-in-the-sky escapism. This is not an excuse to bury our heads in the sand and ignore what we don’t like. This is not an excuse ignore – or distance ourselves from – the world. Instead, this is a reason to empty ourselves and humble ourselves and to choose others needs over our own ambition.

Will you choose to invest in earthly treasure and sacrifice heavenly treasure?

Or will you choose to invest in heavenly treasure and sacrifice earthly treasure?

If you are like me, then there is an ongoing tension between what I want and what God wants.

Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2)

This is the tension.

Son of Man and Son of God

It is during his greatest act of sacrifice that Spider-man is revealed to be Peter Parker. This utmost example of emptying and humbling is when we see his true identity; he is just a boy but he is also the hero.

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This is true for Jesus. Yes, he is the Son of Man, but he is also the Son of God.

We see Jesus’ identity fully realized in Lent.

Jesus is the Son of Man who can forgive our sins. A man – and a sympathetic savior – who has been tempted in all the same ways as we are tempted. (Hebrews 4:15)

Which is easierto say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, take your stretcher, and walkBut so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” – he said to the paralytic – I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.” And immediately the man stood up, took his stretcher, and went out in front of them all. They were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:9-12)

Jesus is also the Son of God – the Lamb of God – who came to take away the sin of the world.

On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

Now when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were extremely terrified and said, “Truly this one was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:54)

Choice > Sacrifice > Death > Identify

The choices that we make result in sacrifice. Often that sacrifice ends in death; the death of desire, the death of a dream, the death of our pride. This death reveals our true identity.

Let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Spider-man’s deeds revealed his true identity, so do ours.

Jesus’ deeds revealed his true identity, so do ours.

Our deeds reveal our true identity. Do our deeds – do your deeds – point people to God?

What do your deeds reveal about you? Do your deeds accumulate treasures here on earth? Do your deeds accumulate treasures in heaven? Do your deeds point others to God?

Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of GodKeep thinking about things above, not things on the earthfor you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in GodWhen Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with himSo put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passionevil desire, and greed which is idolatryBecause of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedienceYou also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among themBut now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouthDo not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created itHere there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:1-11)

Emptied and Humbled. A movie-based Lenten devotional

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

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Simon L Smith