The Avengers (Bowing to Jesus)
Main Point: God created humans to be free, but He also wants them to choose to bow their lives to Him. If we bow to anyone or anything else, we become slaves.
The Movie Clip:
The Avengers, one of 2012’s biggest films, assembles Marvel’s most beloved gang of superheroes against a threat from another world. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) band together to protect Earth from Loki, Thor’s adopted brother from Asgard, who has intentions of conquering the planet using the infinite power of the Tesseract. Unless The Avengers can put aside their pride and learn to work together, the mighty Loki will conquer Earth and subject it to his tyrannical rule.
Directed by Joss Whedon, the movie was clean, free of sexual innuendo, imitatible behavior, and gratuitous language. It was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-if violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.
Introducing the Clip:
In this clip we’re about to watch, we’ll see just how evil and cruel Loki is. He has gone with his team to Stuttgart, Germany in order to get a spectrometer, a necessary tool in order to complete his plan to conquer Earth. But listen closely to what he says to the terrified crowd after he has been successful in his theft. He talks about humans bowing to others, and it’s a pretty “spiritual” speech. Also pay close attention to what the old man in the crowd says in return. What he says is what I want all of us to be able to say!
BEGIN CLIP AT 0 HOURS 37 MINUTES AND 04 SECONDS
This scene is intentionally long so students can get a feel for how wicked and cruel Loki is. It shows him arriving in Stuttgart, Germany, trying to steal a spectrometer. After he’s successful, he threatens the crowd. Here is the key dialogue of the scene, and what the discussion below will center on:
Loki: Kneel before me. I said KNEEL!!!! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity…that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.
Old Man: Not to men like you.
Loki: There are no men like me.
Old Man: There are always men like you.
Loki: Look to your elder, people. Let him be an example.
Captain America: You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.
Loki: The soldier. A man out of time.
Captain America: I’m not the one who’s outta time.
END CLIP AT 0 HOURS 41 MINUTES AND 36 SECONDS
To be honest, part of me wants to just watch that fight scene unfold……but we gotta talk about the powerful message that was embedded in those conversations. Loki says that humans were made to be subjugated. He said we were made to be ruled. He said that he was the one to whom all others should kneel. All those lines were lies. But he did say one thing that was true. He said, “In the end, you will always kneel.” That’s true, but NOT in the sense that HE meant it. Let’s spend a few minutes looking into God’s Word for a higher understanding of Loki’s words.
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 Avenger…and NO, it cannot be a tie. You have to pick ONE!
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think that Loki wanted humans to bow to him?
- ASK A FEW: Loki said that kneeling was humans’ natural state. Do you agree with him or not? What evidence do you have? (Leaders – Sadly, Loki is pretty accurate in his assessment. Humans kneel before celebrities, money, power, fame, technology, their desires, and so on.)
- ASK A FEW: Loki would argue that humans aren’t really free. In fact, in other places in the movie, he says that outright. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: The old man said there were always those in the world who want others to kneel before them. Can you name some of them? (Leaders – Emperors, Caesars, Hitler, Pharaohs, and even the Devil.)
- ASK A FEW: What about God? Does He want us to be free? How do you know?
Read the following passage:
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Read the following passage:
Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I love that clip we watched from The Avengers. It so accurately shows a true picture of us as humans. Loki was right: we bow to this and that in our lives. There is so much and so many others we’re willing to bow to, he just thought he’d add one more to the list: himself.
None of us would consciously bow to someone like Loki, though. First of all, he’s from outer space. Second, he looks like a freak with those horns. But most importantly, we know he doesn’t have good intentions for us.
So, my question is, why do we bow to so many other things in life, when we know it’s not going to be good for us?
Another question is, why do we bow to so many other things in life, when God created us to bow to His Son Jesus, and to Jesus alone?
A moment ago, you were all asked if it mattered when we bow our lives to Jesus. Should you bow now? Should you wait till later in life? Should you wait until after you die? Does it matter?
The answer is yes! It matters greatly! You see, if we bow our lives now, it’s because we choose to bow to Jesus. We recognize that He is perfect and that He loves us and that He has given His life for us so that we can be free of sin. Furthermore, when we bow our lives to Jesus, He begins to walk with us in this life. He begins to help us live a life of ultimate freedom, unlike any other freedom the world has ever known.
But if you wait until after you die, you will bow to Him in fear and shame. You will see Jesus face to face and you will recognize the awful penalty of your unforgiven sin. Like so many others, you will bow because you realize that you are wrong and that you have lived your life as a slave to sin and stuff, instead of the Savior.
(Leaders – Take a moment and explain the cross of Christ, and the plan of salvation that God ordained through His Son Jesus. Invite students to bow their lives to Jesus right then and there.)
I realize that this is a big step for some of you to take. In fact, it’s the biggest step any of you will EVER take in life! So make sure you understand what you’re doing. God created you to be free, but the only way for you to be free is for you to bow your life to Jesus Christ, God’s Son. If you need to talk about that further, hang around after we close in prayer. Talking with you about this would be the highlight of our week!
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.