With Tony Stark’s death, the Avengers lost a vital member of the team. The self-proclaimed genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist left a gaping hole in the lives of the many who had grown to depend on him and his life-saving technology. Flawed as he was, the sacrifice he made to give up his life to save the rest of the world sealed his place in the Heroes’ Hall of Fame. But that final, infamous snap marked the end of an era, leaving many to ask, how will the show go on?
WITH HIS DEATH COMES A GIFT
Spider-Man: Far from Home provided a glimmer of hope that perhaps he wasn’t really gone. When Peter Parker received a seemingly ordinary-looking pair of sunglasses named E.D.I.T.H., or “Even Dead, I’m The Hero”, Stark ensured that his legacy lived on in “The Next Tony Stark”, and that all he had achieved in his lifetime would not end with him in the grave. Whoever owned the glasses would have full access to Stark Industries’ databases, satellites and even weapons. Talk about foresight — now, the show can (literally) go on!
It may not seem like it, but this story is an echo of something that has happened before. When Jesus was on earth, many recognised him as the Messiah — the one who would save them. Imagine how devastated they felt when they saw the tortured body of Jesus hanging on the cross! All hope seemed lost, but miraculously, Jesus’ death wasn’t the end of the story. Unlike Tony Stark’s spur-of-the-moment sacrifice, Jesus went to the cross fully knowing that He would suffer horribly and die. But He wasn’t without a plan (John 14:18). His resurrection three days later was hope renewed, and when He ascended to heaven, He too left a gift.
Jesus gifted His disciples (that means us!) with the Helper or Advocate, who is the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). This is why one of the names we ascribe to God is Immanuel, which means God with us! Tony Stark may have died and left behind a powerful tool for Peter Parker, but when Jesus died, He left us with more than a tool — He gifted us with the Holy Spirit who convicts us, edifies us, encourages us, and so much more!
THE GIVER IS THE GIFT
While Peter was grappling with his identity and worthiness to be the next Tony Stark, Stark’s gift could only sit idly by, ready to be used (or misused). It provided no guidance, and even made things take a dangerous turn. While all Peter wanted to do was erase an implicating image off a classmate’s phone, E.D.I.T.H. identified his classmate as a target and ordered an airstrike on him!
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is not passive in any way, leaving us to helplessly fumble and figure out our mission on our own. And He is certainly not harmful. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit guides us in what is right and wrong, and that all He speaks comes directly from God (John 16:8–15). Paul teaches in Romans 8 that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness,” and that He “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (8:26–27). Isn’t it amazing to know that the Holy Spirit guides us, intercedes for us, and speaks directly what He hears from God?
Tony Stark’s hope in equipping “The Next Tony Stark” with E.D.I.T.H. was that he would have no lack in defending the world from the forces of evil. This rings true to our mission here on earth. Jesus’ final resounding call to His disciples when He met them as a resurrected man included these four words: Go and make disciples (Matt 28:19).
As disciples of Christ, we are to devote ourselves to this call so there will be no lack in sharing with the world the good news of Jesus Christ. Don’t forget that we are not to live for ourselves, and the gift of the Spirit is not just for ourselves. God has given us an amazing gift — the gift of Himself — to help us answer the call to make disciples. We have nothing short of the best! He will enable us to serve and reach the world.