Man of Steel
Main Point: Jesus came to Earth to lay down His life – and take it up again – for those He loves.
The Movie Clip:
In Man of Steel, Warner Bros. provides the background and storyline of America’s most iconic superhero, Superman. Of course, we see him save Earth from the villainous plans of General Zod and his henchman, as well, but the genesis and origin of Kal-El (aka, Superman) is a constant focus of the movie’s plot.
Kal-El, Clark Kent, and Superman are played by Henry Cavill, with Amy Adams filling the role of Lois Lane. Directed by Zack Snyder, the film also includes other big names such as Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent) and Russell Crowe (Jor-El).
Though the original films starring Christopher Reeves were rated PG, Man of Steel carries an official rating of PG-13 by the MPAA for “intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language.”
Introducing the Movie Clip:
Much like Batman Begins, Man of Steel tells the background story of Kal-El, or Superman as he’s more commonly known. If you’ve seen the movie, you already know that the film has lots of great action scenes in which Superman saves the world from the evil General Zod, but you probably recall the flashbacks of the superhero’s birth on Krypton and upbringing on Earth that fill in so many gaps for us about Superman. I want to show you one of those “gap-fillers” right now in the form of a conversation between Superman and his real father, Jor-El. In their very first conversation, Superman learns who his father is, who he is, and why he was sent to Earth. Take a look at what Superman learns about his purpose in life.
START CLIP AT 0 HOURS 44 MINUTES AND 17 SECONDS
(This clip is almost five minutes long, so only a plot summary and key dialogue will be provided below.)
The scene opens with Clark Kent finding an abandoned spacecraft in the frozen tundra. When he begins to explore it, he meets his father, Jor-El. Jor-El explains to his son that he is the one who sent him to Earth long ago, and that he can save Earth from making the same mistakes that the Kryptonians made so long ago.
Jor-El: The people of Earth are different from us, it’s true. But ultimately, I believe that’s a good thing. They won’t necessarily make the same mistakes we did, not if you guide them, Kal. Not if you give them hope. That’s what this symbol means. The symbol for the House of El means hope. Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief the potential of every person can be a force for good. That’s what you can bring them.
END CLIP AT 0 HOURS 48 MINUTES ABD 56 SECONDS
“No pressure, son, but I sent you to Earth to save it from total destruction.” That’s what Jor-El basically tells his son in this clip. I don’t know how you would respond to that information and assignment, but it would freak most people out. Fortunately, Superman isn’t most people. Neither is Jesus. I couldn’t help but think about Jesus as I watched that clip; after all, the story of Jesus also includes a Father sending His son to Earth to save it. In fact, what we know about Jesus is that He came to Earth to lay down His life – and take it up again – for those He loves. Let’s take a closer look at that story to see how it intersects our lives.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite superhero.
- ASK A FEW: Which superpower of Superman would you most want to have, and why?
- ASK A FEW: What did Jor-El say the symbol on his chest represented?
- ASK A FEW: According to his father, why did Kal-El (aka, Superman) come to Earth?
- ASK A FEW: In the movie, Earth needed to be saved from General Zod, an evil Kryptonian. In your mind, what are some of the things Earth really needs to be saved from?
- ASK A FEW: Do you know why Jesus came to Earth?
- ASK A FEW: Do you see any similarities between Jesus and Kal-El? Any differences?
Read the following passage:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
I really like the clip we watched tonight because it shows the sobering and terrifying assignment that Superman’s father gave him. We see the concern and worry on Superman’s face as he realizes that he is the only one who can bring hope to the people of Earth.
It’s just about the perfect way to think about and talk about Jesus’ role on Earth. Whereas Superman is a fictitious story about an alien saving us from another alien, the story of Jesus is about a Savior rescuing us from our sin. In case you’ve never heard the true story of Jesus, let me take a moment to tell it to you.
Jesus Christ came to Earth to save humans from their sin, their guilt, their shame, and their disobedience toward God that would have separated them from God for all of eternity. Jesus did so by willingly giving His life on the cross in exchange for our sins. The Bible teaches that Jesus gave His life for us while we were sinners, not while we were good or deserved it. But Jesus didn’t just die for us; He rose for us, as well. The Bible also clearly teaches that Jesus was raised back to life after He was killed. We’re told that this truth can give us hope over death and the grave.
The bottom line is simple: Jesus gave His life for our sin, and was raised back to life again. Because of that historical event, all of us can have hope. We can have new life. We can have salvation. In the passage we read earlier, Jesus called all of that the “abundant life.”
But we have to make Him the Leader of our lives. We have to put our hope and trust in Him and nothing or no one else. That’s the only condition, but it’s an important one.
Going back to the movie, Jor-El said that the “S” shape on their suits stood for hope. Today, the symbol of hope is the cross. Because Jesus chose to give His life on it 2,000 years ago, we can have hope of salvation and rescue, eternal life and abundant life.
The biggest question of your life is this: have you let Jesus save you from your sin? Have you put your trust and hope in Him alone?
If so, congratulations! You’ve taken care of life’s most important decision. If not, I strongly urge you to hang around after we pray and speak with me or one of our adult leaders. We’d be thrilled to introduce you to the One who came from far away to give us hope through His death and resurrection!
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.