Words of Worth

Is “Hero” in the Bible?

December 9, 2011

Recently while teaching my education major students how to write a lesson plan, I randomly chose the topic of HEROES. In order to motivate them, I opened my demonstration lesson with the question, “What is a hero?” As we brainstormed answers we mostly agreed a hero is someone who is brave in terrifying situations and is willing to sacrifice their own life or well being for a greater cause or for the needs of another. I then asked, “Can you name some of your heroes?” Many said their parents or an educator while an occasional student mentioned a sports figure, a president, and even a comic superhero. Overall, there was a lack of consensus about whom our heroes should be and we were literally and figuratively all over the board with our hero examples.

Could it be, I asked, that the word “hero” is in the Bible? My students thought the concept of hero was in Scripture but not necessarily the word, until we turned to Isaiah 9:6 and read what Isaiah wrote nearly 700 years before the birth of Christ:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Since this verse is often printed on greeting cards, frequently read as part of caroling by candlelight events, and a highlight of Handel’s “Messiah”, it may be safe to say this is one of the best known verses in the Bible. Yet, the promised child as Jehovah Gibbor, the mighty God, is often missed. Gibbor, in Hebrew, has three distinct meanings- hero, warrior, and champion.

For sure Jesus was a Hero, Who, although in agony and perhaps terror, sacrificed His life for us. Jesus is also Warrior God Who fought many battles, but one of great significance stands out in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prepared to die on a cross for our sins. In that garden, Jesus begged His Father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” If Jesus had said, “I can’t do it,” or “God, these humans are not worth it!” the battle would have been lost, Satan would have won, and we would have been without a Hero Warrior who sacrificed His life to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Jesus was also a champion. Most champions we talk about today have to do with sports or some other kinds of competitions. But the champion that Isaiah saw as the coming Messiah and Mighty God is a champion far more meaningful than any human competitor. Jesus was the champion of a cause –a cause that would redeem mankind. Jesus took our place on Calvary’s cross, the place we deserved because of our sin against God. He died for us and then rose in victory over death so that we could have forgiveness of sin, a meaningful life, and an everlasting future if we choose to accept His miraculous plan.

Yes, students, “hero” is in the Bible in word and concept and in the person of Jesus Christ. In Him we have a Hero God after whom we can model our lives, a Warrior God Who deemed us worthy enough to fight the most difficult spiritual battles of all time, and a Champion God Who died in our place on Calvary’s cross. (sv)

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