Today, 9th June 2017, we celebrate the National Heroes Day in Uganda. A day set apart to celebrate men and women of valour who have done great exploits for the country, from bush war comrades (don’t miss the Animal Farm reference) to a school proprietor that has left behind a huge legacy (;-)). Over the last few years, tens of thousands of new heroes have been added to the list of national heroes. In fact, there are more heroes per Ugandan than doctors!
This fascination with heroes is not limited to Uganda only. Hollywood and marvel studios have made fortunes by creating stories around heroes, superheroes. These larger than life characters, always with special skills ranging from flying (superman), making spider nets (seriously?) to technological prowess (Tony Stark, Batman) often rise to defeat sinister characters, resist tyranny, fight bad guys and establish justice. In all their shapes and sizes, they all had one mission – to “save” us. It seems like there’s an ingrained human need for some kind of salvation.
2000 years ago, the earth received a savior so much unlike the heroes we often picture though he wrought the biggest magnitude of saving. Prophet Isaiah, >500 years before his birth wrote:
….. he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
In Him, we meet a hero whose vital qualities are not the technology of Tony Stark or the powers of the Dark Knight or the courage of John Connor but that He is “full of grace and truth” – John 1:14. This is because grace and truth are the exact weapons needed in this corrupted world. The Batman, Superman and Wonderwomans of this world offer nothing in comparision. So how do we respond? Like Peter of old, we can ask: “To whom else can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”