Have you noticed how, in recent years, people have shown greater interest in comic book heroes, and superheroes in general. In ages past, people were fascinated by mythological figures with superpowers and even worshiped them in certain cultures. More modern versions, like Superman and Batman have followers (especially the youngsters) who adore and revel in what powerful exploits these characters can accomplish.
As each one of us considers how we too hope for help from a better place, Jewish people, as a nation have longed for someone to champion their cause over the course of millennia as they have been persecuted and pushed from one land to another. Could it be that out of this longing for a political or military defender, two Jewish men in 1938, were inspired to invent the comic strip (published by DC Comics) Superman. Joe Siegel and Jerry Shuster created the iconic superhero, who some believe was based on a real life “iron man” from Europe.
Siegmund Breitbart was born in Lodz, Poland in 1883 to an Orthodox Jewish family which boasted a long history of professional blacksmiths. The young Siegmund showed incredible strength, even at the age of three, when he was able to free himself from an iron bar that had fallen on him in his father’s shop. By the time he was four, he was already casting iron.
His physical strengths continue to grow. As a young man, he performed in traveling circuses, bending iron bars into floral patterns, biting through chains with his teeth, and tearing apart horseshoes. He could support tremendous loads on his chest, including cars filled with ten people. He toured the US in 1923 and 1924, wearing a cape and was advertised as being able to stop speeding locomotives. Does that sound familiar?
But let us not altogether dismiss Breitbart’s deeply spiritual side. Seeing himself as a modern Samson, he founded an organization in the 1920’s to train Jewish men to be strong so they could free Palestine (namely Israel today) from British rule. He exhibited a deep respect for religious Jewish leaders, generously supporting them. He was also known to have a gentle and sweet demeanor.
Ironically and sadly, a microscopic enemy felled this giant in his 40’s when, a year after his US tour, he was wounded by a rusty nail which caused blood poisoning and an untimely death. While Breichart’s physical strength was something to be marveled at, how can we ever compare that to the strength of our true Hero, Yeshua the Messiah? He calmed the storm and raised the dead. He effortlessly cast out hordes of demons, yet He was gentle and meek with those who were broken, as He is today. Best of all, His strength of character enabled Him to resist all temptation, sin, and corruption. He willfully accepted the rusted nails and endured the heavy weight of all the sin of the world so we could be reconciled through His death, burial, and resurrection.
Unlike Breichart who possessed a certain superstrength, he was unable to share or give over that strength to anyone else. Yet, with just a faith in our hearts and a confession from our mouths, and through Yeshua’s touch, we can receive the power from on high that breaks down the heart of stone and creates a heart of flesh. Let us therefore stand strong in this power given to us, through the Spirit, through the Everlasting God Who will never die.
For .. we are not waging war according to the flesh…but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey the Messiah (1Cor.10:3-5).
And speaking of comic strips, that is something to really marvel about!