Monday, May, 12, 2014 | 3:23 AM | by Adam
What Spider Man and The Story of Zacchaeus Have In Common
I went with some friends the other day to watch, "The Amazing Spider Man 2", and as always, walked away wishing that there was a pet store somewhere near by that happened to sell radio active spiders. Maybe its just me, but as much as I hate spiders, and as much as I dislike being super high up; I always walk away wishing that I could be THAT guy. Maybe its for the thrill of being able to dodge bullets, swing from the Empire State Building, or hear people talk about me when they think I'm to far away. I would even like to think that It’s because I want to be the one to do the courageous thing and save the weak and the innocent. Although those are not bad reasons to aspire to greatness, most of the time I think the desire to be THAT guy stems from something else. But I'll get to that in a minute.
In this adaptation of the Spider Man comic, Spider Man's archenemy starts out as a normal guy that no one sees, or remembers. He's someone that gets bumped into and pushed around without even being looked at. And even if anyone ever does seem to remember Max's name, it’s generally just to take advantage of him in some way. As a matter of fact, on the busy streets of NYC, the first person that really "sees" Max is the Amazing Spider Man.
After a slight accident (okay, maybe not so slight) Max finds himself alone and scared, and it just so happens that he can now shoot electricity out of his hands and blow stuff up. He finds himself in Time Square and before you know it, his face is plastered on every screen in the city. Finally! People SEE him. Of course all that attention goes to his head and as soon as someone shows up to take his place on the big screen (i.e. a certain neighborhood web slinging hero) Max gets a little angry.
In Luke 19 we meet another kind of Max. Oh, his bank account was big and he had people that knew his name, but it wasn't because he was a good guy. He was however, the kind of guy that people wanted to forget; and that day as Zacchaeus sat in a tree because of being pushed back by the crowd, something spectacular happened. Oh, the crowds didn't see him; none of them called out his name, except one. Out of all the people there, Jesus SAW him, and called him by name. The ultimate hero; God come down. No mask, no secrets. No personal distance from those He claimed to love. Just open arms to say, "I love you. I remember you. I want you. I want to save you; to change you! I want to give you a new life, a new identity."
Zacchaeus' response was a little different than Max's. Zacchaeus was okay with not being seen, he just wanted to see Jesus.
What is it that motivates us to greatness? We would like to see ourselves as Spider Man, but deep down perhaps we realize that we are as far away from Spider Man as you can get. At the end of the day we look at the motivation of our hearts and realize that we are really all Max. We long to be remembered by the people around us. But we know we aren't Spider Man, know that no one see us, that at the end of it all we will most likely not be remembered. Or at least that's what we've convinced ourselves of. But there is SOMEONE that remembers us, that sees us as we are; and He loves us more than we could ever fathom.
So our question is this. Do we want to be seen and remembered by the world? Or are we going to learn to be content with being seen and remembered by the only One that really matters? You see, the first option leads to anger and resentment as soon as the light is taken off of us. But the second is freeing because we realize that there is no one (Spider Man or anyone else) that could ever deserve the attention as much as Jesus does. We end up not caring so much about being seen as much as we want others to see the one that saw us, and gave himself for us.
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.