Gotham City is in se­ri­ous trou­ble

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY - Bo Wag­ner

My dreams are usu­ally vague, fuzy, and in­cred­i­bly dis­jointed. But the epic saga from last night as I write this was crys­tal clear, and left me some­what shaken, and fear­ing for Gotham...

Batman (The Chris­tian Bale Batman) was be­ing forced to re­tire. Mind you, he seemed to be in per­fectly good shape, still young and strong, and I have no idea why he had to go. He was, though, be­ing al­lowed in­put on his re­place­ment. Loyal Al­fred (The Michael Caine Al­fred, whom I will al­ways see as Scrooge in “The Mup­pet Christ­mas Carol”) had come up with the per­fect re­place­ment. Batman, though, was adamantly op­posed to the idea. He was not even will­ing to give his re­place­ment a chance.

The re­place­ment Al­fred had set­tled on was Greg from the Brady Bunch...

There he was, sit­ting nearby in a Lazy Boy re­cliner, wear­ing a check­ered shirt, smil­ing that iconic smile, curly hair wav­ing as he nod­ded his head. I can­not get over the con­tradis­tinc­tion of the

Dark Night, brood­ing an­grily, while Greg Brady grinned at him, ready to take his job. I can only imag­ine, had I been able to sleep longer, the hi­lar­ity that would have en­sued in Gotham:

“Here’s the story, of a guy name Joker, who was think­ing up some re­ally aw­ful crimes, all of them were even worse than the oth­ers, he should be do­ing time.

“Here’s the story, of the brand new Batman, who was plan­ning how to stop the Joker cold, he would need help from his broth­ers and his sis­ters, who now are get­ting old.”

I told my wife my dream. She sighed that deep sigh again that I hear so of­ten. I don’t think she knew what she was get­ting into when she said “I do.”

It would be very hard to re­place Batman. Hard, but not im­pos­si­ble. Af­ter all, Michael Keaton was re­placed by Val Kilmer who was re­placed by Ge­orge Clooney who was re­placed by Ben Af­fleck, etc. He can be re­placed. Just not by Greg Brady.

But as my mind turns to more se­ri­ous mat­ters, I re­al­ize both in grat­i­tude and awe that the one hero that can never be re­placed is Je­sus. For starters, he was and is ac­tu­ally real. As to the “was” part, the late Michael Grant, pro­fes­sor at Ed­in­burgh, an athe­ist, wrote a book ti­tled “An

His­to­rian’s Re­view of the Gospels.” In it, he ap­prov­ingly cited a quote by Otto Betz, which said,

“To sum up, mod­ern crit­i­cal meth­ods fail to sup­port the Christ-myth the­ory. It has again and again been an­ni­hi­lated by first rank schol­ars. In re­cent years, no se­ri­ous scholar has ven­tured the non-his­toric­ity of Je­sus, or at any rate very few, and they have not suc­ceeded in dis­pos­ing of the much stronger, in­deed very abun­dant, ev­i­dence to the con­trary.”

Not only did Je­sus and does Je­sus ex­ist, he has cre­den­tials that are un­matched, and can­not even be closely du­pli­cated. The gap be­tween his qual­i­fi­ca­tions and any other would be sav­ior is far greater than the gap be­tween Batman and Greg Brady. Je­sus was pre-ex­is­tent. John 1:3 says “All things were made by him; and with­out him was not any thing made that was made. Colos­sians 1:16-17 says, “For by him were all things cre­ated, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, vis­i­ble and in­vis­i­ble, whether they be thrones, or do­min­ions, or prin­ci­pal­i­ties, or pow­ers: all things were cre­ated by him, and for him: And he is be­fore all things, and by him all things con­sist.”

Je­sus was also vir­gin born (Isa­iah 7:14, Matthew 1:18) and lived a to­tally sin­less life (He­brews 4:15). Even his en­e­mies tes­ti­fied of his char­ac­ter. Pon­tius Pi­late said “I find no fault in him.”

Most im­por­tantly, many have laid down their lives for friends, or for good peo­ple, but Je­sus died for all, in­clud­ing the worst of the worst (Ro­mans 5:8). And then he rose from the dead un­der his own power, and was seen of more than five hun­dred wit­nesses (1 Corinthi­ans 15:6).

See­ing all this, 1 John 2:2 says that he is “the pro­pi­ti­a­tion (sat­is­fac­tory sac­ri­fice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” God the Father is only sat­is­fied by one thing: Je­sus dy­ing for us.

There is no re­place­ment at all for that.

Bo Wag­ner is pas­tor of the Cor­ner­stone Bap­tist Church in Moores­boro, N.C., a widely trav­eled evan­ge­list, and au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing a kid’s fic­tion book about the Bat­tle of Chicka­mauga, “Bro­ken Broth­er­hood.” He can be emailed at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

Caleb Howard from Jack­sonville Col­lege will per­form at Pine Grove Bap­tist Church on Sun­day, March 26, at the 11 a.m. ser­vice. Every­one come and en­joy the mu­sic.

Evan­ge­list and au­thor

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