The Book of Galatians is written by the Apostle Paul to the Galatian churches. In chapter one and chapter 2:1-10 Paul is telling everyone who he is, why he has authority to speak to them, how he was chosen by Christ and how the other apostles had accepted him.
Chapter 2 verses 11-21 Paul confronts Peter about what he was doing wrong. Peter was telling the Gentile Christians that they had to behave and follow the customs of the Jews Christians in order to be saved. Paul said that was not biblical and he told Peter that he was a hypocrite. When Peter was alone with uncircumcised christians, the Gentiles, he would eat with them but when other Jewish Christians were around he would not eat with them. Jewish law stated that Jews were not to eat with those who were not circumcised. Paul ask Peter “Since you are a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?”
This scripture made me think of Spider-Man a fictional superhero appearing in the early 1960’s American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a high school student behind Spider-Man’s secret identity. Peter was self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness as Peter Parker, while Spider-Man was the exact opposite.
Peter became Spider-Man as a result of a bite from a radioactive spider that triggered mutations in Peter Parker’s body, granting him superpowers. In the original Lee-Ditko stories, Spider-Man had the ability to cling to walls, superhuman strength, a sixth sense (“spider-sense”) that alerted him to danger, perfect balance and equilibrium, as well as superhuman speed and agility. The character was originally conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as intellectually gifted, but later writers have depicted his intellect at genius level. Academically brilliant, Parker has expertise in the fields of applied science, chemistry, physics, biology, engineering, mathematics and mechanics. With his talents, he sews his own costume to conceal his identity, and he constructed many devices that complemented his powers, most notably mechanical web-shooters to help navigate and trap his enemies along with a spider-signal as an flashlight and a warning beacon to criminals.
Once we are saved, we have supernatural powers, just like Peter, AKA Spider-Man but even bigger and better powers. Our “spider-sense” is the Holy Spirit. In Mark chapter 9 the Apostles tell Jesus about a man they saw healing someone. The disciples were upset and complained to Jesus because this man was not a disciple. Jesus tells them to stop complaining because you don’t have to be in the inner circle to perform miracles, you just have to perform the miracle in Jesus name.
Many Christians are living a Peter Parker life self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness when the Bible says we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). To put it in Spider-Man lingo, we have been bitten by the Holy Ghost Spider. With that bite came the power to do things in Christ name and to perform the greatest miracle, the miracle of leading others to salvation with a promise of eternity in heaven.
In the Spider-Man movie Peter does not want everyone to know who he was so he created a mask and added tools to expand his abilities, i.e. the web. Peter Parker wanted to live two lives just like Peter in todays scripture. Peter Parker protected his identity with his mask, and Peter in the scripture hid is identity by changing who he was based on who he was with.
God created you to be you. He tells us in the scripture how we should dress, act, talk, raise our children, treat our family, treat others, fellowship with other believers, obey our pastors and elders and so much more. He didn’t create us to look alike, act alike, talk alike or even love alike. For example He tells us to love our neighbors, but he doesn’t give us specifics of what love looks like in action. I may love my neighbor by cooking or grocery shopping for them. You may love your neighbor by house setting their pet while they are on vacation. But the instruction to love our neighbor is the same instruction for both of us.
I challenge you today to take off the mask you may be wearing as a Christian and use the power that is within you. Maybe you are not wearing a mask but you are not living a christian life all the time. As a Christian you are not self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness because with Christ you can do all things and you are a new creature. Old habits are hard to break but you can break them with Christ help. You can do all things with Christ who give you strength. So ask Him to help you be that new person He says you can be. Stop acting like you are not saved when you are with those who are not saved. As a matter of fact let your light shine.
Like Peter Parker, Christians must learn that “with great power there must also come great responsibility.” Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Commit to be YOU starting today!! I believe in you! You an do it!!