For many us of we can’t remember when we first heard those words, but knew they were the defining message of Spider-man. If your reading this post your certain to know that Peter Parker puts on some funky tights (that he sows at home btw) and zips across the night sky of Manhattan as Spider-man because an accident gave him great power (that of a spider obviously) and due tragic circumstances he realized that it was duty to his fellow man to use those abilities to help others. Those tragic circumstances involved the loss of his Uncle Ben to a robber he could have stopped earlier but didn’t because he was being a selfish jerk (hey, we’ve all been there.) His uncle Ben had always told him the famous quote, ” With Great power comes great responsibility,” Peter Parker finally took the lesson to heart as he saw that his actions with his power were selfish and lead to his uncles death.
This story has obviously had an impact on society:
What are the real origins of this quote? Was uncle Ben quoting the bible as I seemed to outrageously claim on facebook? Okay he wasn’t quoting the bible directly but we can trace this idea back God’s word. The original issue in the Marvel Comics had the good old Uncle Ben say: “With Great Power Must Also Come Great Responsibility.” If you do more Googling you will find that you can trace a french version of the quote to Voltaire. But let’s look even further back. In Luke 12:48 Jesus says, ” From everyone who has been given much, much will be required” Sound familiar?
If you aren’t a Christian and just a nerd this may be cool as a neat fact that will shed light on the most influential father figure in Peter Parker (Spider-man’s) life. You can’t say for certain were Uncle Ben may have learned the lesson but you can agree it was an important one.
As a Christian nerd, or parent of a small child you can also see a perfect conversation starter. You can let someone (probably a short little child one) who likes Spider-man thanks to his countless comics, movies, toons, or toys, in on a biblical truth.
I always look at things from a Bible teacher’s perspective. I can’t help point put out a few key additional applications from biblical text not found in quote from Ben Parker. Spider-man’s powers have their origin in a radioactive spider bite, but the biblical quote says, “To whom much is given,” which suggests a giver. Someone gave you your talents and skills, and while they may not seem as marvelous as Spiderman (okay that is a rather lame pun,) we should express thanks for them. As Christians we know this is God the father created us as unique individuals and had final say on what circumstances we would encounter. He molded us with these events in our lives to strengthen and equip these gifts, and thus deserves thanks. It should also be noted that the saying of Jesus also says “required.” More than being responsible to act as we should, we are required to uphold a set of expectations. When we fail to meet our responsibilities we are just irresponsible, but if we fail to do what is required, we have broken a rule or law, we are in a single word, guilty. Sadly all are guilty, but wonderfully all can be forgiven.
Spider-man often struggles to keep on his spandex suit, stay in the web slinging business, and do has he should, much the same all of his do (minus of course the tights and web slinging.) Keeping this connection in mind may be good illustration for self encouragement, or for sharing or teaching.