If I were a superhero, my weapon of choice would be the bullwhip.
I know what you're thinking. You are probably thinking that a superhero wouldn't need a weapon, right? Because, since superheroes have super powers already, why the need for arms? You may be also be wondering whether a bullwhip is the wisest choice, what with all the ray guns and lasers and bomby things that a world-class Defender would have at his, or in this case, HER, disposal. We'll get to my reasons in a bit. Right now I have to deal with the rest of you who think it odd that I would even be thinking this way. Get over it. I'm me and I'm who God created and He allows my imagination to go places that make me think and smile and appreciate Him in even the smallest things.
So for now, we are going to think about superheroes. And bullwhips.
The first characteristic that comes to mind when I think of a superhero is fearlessness. My hero would never flinch at the thought of pain or peril or failure. There is not a bug big enough or a snake slithery enough to shake my hero. Brave. Courageous. Fearless. No room for fear when so much is at stake. Fear creates doubt and second-guessing. Yes, caution is always prudent, but cowardice has no place in the life of a superhero. We are not meant to live in a spirit of fear, according to 2 Timothy 1:7. I had a personal lesson in that this time last year.
My superhero would also have to be strong. Not just physically, but mentally and spiritually and emotionally. Not necessarily the strongest human alive, but with the right power within her, strong enough for the task. Just strong enough so as not to boast or be over-confident. That way my hero remains humble. She knows where and from Whom her power comes and seeks to only use it for good. Always and only for good.
A superhero uses good judgment and exhibits wisdom. She is slow to speak and is a good listener. She is patient, waiting until just the right moment to act. But when the time comes, she is a force to be reckoned with. Because she has been promised over and over again in Scripture, because she believes, she has the power of God in her pursuit of righteousness.
And she has this...bullwhip.
After all, the One Who cleared the temple fashioned a whip out of cords. Scripture doesn't say a whole lot about His temperament or rage; it doesn't need to. The God of Love and Compassion was seeing God's house used and abused and mocked. He had no choice but to act. To turn away would have meant that He condoned such behavior. It would have meant that the church and sacrifice and offering didn't matter.
But why did Jesus create a whip? I mean, He had His army of angels at His disposal.
Just think of what He could have done.
Why did He take the time to fashion a weapon? Many scholars refer to the pieces of cord on the ground (used when leading the animals to the temple for sacrifice) as our own sins that degrade the temple and keep us from fellowship with God if it were not for Jesus, while others look at them as a harbinger of the scourge that Christ Himself was to endure on our behalf. No scholar myself, I tend to be a little more simple and I see the example as one showing us that we all have to fashion our own whip and use it to clear our own temples from time to time, as God leads us to. My own superhero, backed into a corner, must do The Right Thing. We have to have our bullwhips ready.
And last Saturday, had she been in the Yankee Candle Store, she would have wielded her whip all over the man who was being mean to a little child. For you see, my superhero loves to defend the hurt. The rage that builds within her when she sees that kind of behavior is the only thing that really scares her. She cannot simply "do nothing," for that would be the same as condoning, allowing, and seeming like it didn't matter. She defends the oppressed. The weak and wounded. She would have also used it on the drug dealers down the road and on the vandals who tore up the church lawn and on behalf of people in nursing homes and orphanages who are mistreated. And on the false prophets and the deceivers who are only out for personal gain and who thrive on intimidation and bullying. The politicians and leaders who hold no regard for what is sacred. All the evil.
There is a Superhero in all of us. All of us who know the true and living God. For Christ alone is my ultimate Superhero. And, laying His bullwhip down, He picked up my cross and carried it for me. No fear. Only love. And the power of God.