Culture

Avengers, assemble: We are part of God’s endgame

Caitlin Foo // May 9, 2019, 5:57 pm

Avengers-caitlin

WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND!
IF YOU SOMEHOW STILL HAVEN’T WATCHED AVENGERS: ENDGAME, YOU REALLY SHOULD BEFORE YOU READ THIS!

Avengers: Endgame has taken the world by storm. Maybe it’s because the movie premiered right after Easter, but while others hunted down MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) easter eggs, I couldn’t help but uncover several biblical easter eggs of my own while watching the finale to the decade-long Avengers saga.

4 REVELATIONS OF AVENGERS: ENDGAME

1. Our Creator is a God of life

Before the final battle, 2014-Thanos, who had shown up to hunt the present-day, post-snap Avengers, announced his intentions to destroy the entire universe with the infinity stones that the Avengers had just recovered using time travel. In his eyes, the remaining 50% of the population had failed to thrive after the snap, despite following his original blueprint for intergalactic genocide.

Thanos: I thought by eliminating half of life, the other half would thrive. But you’ve shown me that’s impossible. And as long as there are those that remember what was, there will always be those that are unable to accept what can be. They will resist.

Tony Stark: We’re all kinds of stubborn.

Thanos: I’m thankful, because now I know what I must do. I will shred this universe down to its last atom. And then, with the stones you’ve collected for me, create a new one. Teeming with life, but knows not what it has lost, but only what it has been given. A grateful universe. 

It’s scary to think of a character who holds the power to execute such a feat with nothing but evil intention. Did you know the name “Thanos” was derived from the Greek word for “death”? This scene reminded me to be thankful that we’re part of a created order where our Creator made us out of love and for life together. A Creator who is steadfast, faithful, and purposeful in all His plans.

For this is what the Lord says – he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18)

Thanos was a creator who wanted to “Ctrl+Z” mankind because of their weakness, whereas our God is the creator who wants to “Ctrl+S” man in spite of our weakness. We all have sinned and fallen short of His glory, but His plan was never to undo or redo humanity, but to send His own son Jesus to redeem it instead.

What a relief to know that our God is not only omnipotent, but omni-benevolent as well. He is the true Guardian of the Galaxy.

If Jesus was a superhero

2. We must know our mission

Steve Rogers: Today, we have a chance to take it all back. You know your teams, you know your missions. Get the stones, get them back. One round trip each. No mistakes. No do-overs. Most of us are going somewhere we know, that doesn’t mean we should know what to expect. Be careful. Look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives. And we’re going to win. Whatever it takes. Good luck.

Before the Avengers journeyed back in time, Captain America took some time to give the team a pep talk. Each hero had to deal with something in their past: Mummy issues, Daddy issues, old flames, etc. Once each Avenger had made their quantum leap, it was going to be tempting to forgo the expedition and stay in their past.

“Know your missions”: I believe that Cap’s words must have anchored the team during their personal trips down memory lane. Ultimately, knowing the core of their mission drove the teams to put aside their individual desires for the greater good.

It can be tempting to turn to our left or right on this journey through life; it can even be comfortable to stay in our past.

Therein lay this revelation, that perhaps we as Christians need to hold our missions close to heart and at the forefront of our minds. When we are acutely aware of our divine assignment, we can lay down our own agendas for a grander one.

It can be tempting to turn to our left or right on this journey through life; it can even be comfortable to stay in our past. However, the Christian journey is exactly this: To fix our eyes on a reward we cannot yet see.

Sometimes, the end seems intangible, and our judgement is clouded because of it. These are the moments where we need to return to the purpose of the missions we’ve been assigned on this earth – both primary (Matthew 28:19-20) and personal.

It takes courage to pursue a prize we cannot see. Thankfully, the Captain of our hearts has a book full of pep talks.

3. God paid the cost of cosmic sacrifice

If you’ve read on to this point out of curiosity, now would be the time to turn back if you don’t want any more spoilers.

In a battle, it’s impossible to leave unscathed. In the case of Endgame, Iron Man sacrifices himself so that everyone else could have a second shot at life. He is the Christ-like sacrifice in this plot.

Besides the laying down of his own life, I think his sacrifice began much earlier. Both halves of Pepperony had actually survived the snap. Tony had the option to leave the rest of the world to its fate and lead the blissful life he and Pepper had built for themselves.

Pepper Potts: We got really lucky.
Tony Stark: Yeah, I know.
Pepper Potts: A lot of people didn’t.
Tony Stark: No, I can’t help everybody.
Pepper Potts: It sort of seems like you can.
Tony Stark: Not if I stop. I can put a pin in it right now, and stop.
Pepper Potts: Tony, trying to get you to stop has been one of the few failures of my entire life.
Tony Stark: Something tells me I should put it in a locked box and drop it at the bottom of a lake, and go to bed.
Pepper Potts: But would you be able to rest?

This conversation highlighted Tony’s dilemma to risk all he had for a mission that had a high chance of failure. He even had a daughter now! While watching this, what came to mind was how much both God and Jesus risked when Christ came to earth as a man.

Jesus gave up the ultimate luxury – His position in heaven. He traded his throne for a crown of thorns. Not only that, Jesus’ eternal communion with the Father was broken as He bore our sins on the Cross and experienced, for the first time in all of eternity, separation from God.

Passion Week: Tell me, why did Jesus have to die?

God risked His only begotten Son for a fickle human race (Hebrews 2:10-15). Mankind is under no obligation to accept this scandalous act of grace. The most powerful being that created the universe risked His most precious possession for dust and ashes (Genesis 18:27). I cannot imagine a greater sacrifice.

4. We are in the fight of our lives

The peak of any Marvel movie are their elaborately choreographed battle scenes. The final battle in Endgame was especially goosebump-inducing. Thanos had struck down both Iron Man and Thor, and was advancing to finish Captain America off.

At this point, all hope seemed lost until Cap hears feedback coming from his suit. My hair stood on end as the rest of the MCU entered the battleground through Dr Strange and company’s sling rings, back from the snap, to fight against Thanos and his alien cronies. Avengers, assemble! (I imagine that Christ’s second coming will be more epic than this dramatic re-entry.)

As the battle unravelled, it was highly nostalgic to see acquaintances, team mates, “frenemies” and lovers alike fighting side by side. This scene was where every story arc of every Marvel character finally converged.

The cameras granted each hero their close-up, giving each person in the audience a chance to cheer on for their favourites. My heart pounded and soared as each Avenger took the stage, passing the Infinity Gauntlet from member to member.

In this perilous age we live in, we too are the Avengers

Perhaps this signalled a deeper battle cry that I believe lies deep in each one of us. The on-screen battle hinted at the spiritual war that we ourselves are engaged in (Ephesians 6:12). I was watching the movie with my cell group, and all I could think of was what it might feel like to fight alongside them against the forces of darkness – iron sharpens iron, am I right?

The chances of winning are not one out of 14 million for everyone who puts their trust in Christ.

Can you imagine finally seeing how the lives of every Christian, past and present, intersect when Christ comes again? What a beautiful picture of the Church! Brothers and sisters in arms, fighting for something bigger than themselves. How sweet the victory would taste, knowing how each individual’s life plays out in God’s carefully calculated war tactic.

What’s even better is knowing that the outcome of the Christian battle doesn’t end in defeat. No spoilers here guys, Jesus comes again and prevails over the powers of hell. The chances of winning are not one out of 14 million for everyone who puts their trust in Christ. It’s 100%!

There is no better way to sum up my reflections on Avengers: Endgame apart from this meme:

1 Thessalonians 4, which this meme references, speaks to every Christian Avenger more than we might realise. It urges us to sanctify ourselves through mutual encouragement before Christ comes again. And in the waiting, there really is no better option than to rally our troops and prepare ourselves for the fight of our lives.

THINK + TALK

  1. What other analogies of our faith can you glean from Avengers: Endgame?
  2. How do you feel, knowing that you are part of the Lord’s end-time army?
  3. What is your personal mission in this life, in alignment to God’s will?
  4. What choices can you make with your life to position you to live in His mission?