The 1930s was a time of rampant anti-Semitism, not only in Europe but in America. Many Jewish artists couldn’t get jobs as illustrators with major publishers or publications, so they turned to creating comic books.
In Cleveland, Ohio, two Jewish young men—Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster—lived near each other each other and worked side by side on the school newspaper. Afterward they stayed in touch and kept on working together on various projects. These two young men seemed to feel that Jewish people and all the world needed a new Moses, a figure who could bring hope to a world that was engulfed in prejudice and slavery and encroaching holocaust. So they created a modern-day Moses for the comic books. They called him Superman. Like Moses, he was a man…
- Whose own people were facing annihilation;
- Whose parents placed him in a kind of ark and set him adrift in an effort to save his life in infancy;
- Who was discovered and adopted by someone from another culture who raised him as a son;
- Who had a double identity;
- Who had to keep his real heritage under cover;
- Who had a strong sense of justice;
- Who was bold on the one hand, but on the other hand was meek and mild-mannered;
- Who was a self-sacrificing person, yet with access to profound power;
- And who became a fabled deliverer who saved people with superhuman feats of wonder.
- And who represented the very name of God Himself. Moses confronted Pharaoh in the name of God, as it was given him at the burning bush. But Superman’s real name was Kal-el, and the suffix “El” is the Hebrew name for God. We see it in names like Daniel and Samuel and Emmanuel.
How fascinating that Moses is such a powerful figure in the Bible that he evidently became the inspiration for the greatest superhero of modern science fiction. This speaks to something in our society and of human condition. We need a Moses. We need a Superman. We need someone who can help us with the oppression of life, who can lift us out of a crumbling world, who can save us from death and despair. But the real hero we need isn’t the Man of Steel. It’s the Lamb of God. We need a real Savior and a real self-sacrificing, super-human hero — Jesus Christ, who alone can impart abundant life and eternal life to His people.
PS – This is taken from my sermon on the Passover, from Exodus 12. You can find it by clicking here.