Shazam: The Touch of Captain Sparkle Fingers
I’m a Zachary Levi fanboy. I’ve love him from his hosting house
churches back in the day, Tangled, Chuck, Operation Smile,
Nerd HQ, Nerd Machine, and so much more. I’m a fan of who
he is and what he does. I met him at Dragon Con in Atlanta
very shortly before he was announced as Shazam, and I was so
happy that he hadn’t gotten the role. After seeing the film, I
couldn’t have been happier with the it.
Well, maybe if Tawny was in it, but still.
There’s a lot I loved about the movie, but there were three
lessons I really clung to I’m going to share with you.
#1: No One Is Worthy
As the film begins, Sivana is brought before the wizard to be
tested to receive the power of the champion. Of course, it
doesn’t go well. The sins tempt him, he succumbs, and the
next thing you know, he is getting zapped by a wizard and told
he will never be worthy. I know Sivana was a bit of an annoying
kid, but that’s still a pretty harsh statement to hit a kid with. It
obviously affected him, because years later when he finally
made his way back to the Rock of Eternity, he picked up right
where they left off. He asked the Wizard this:
“You know what it’s like for a child to be told ‘You’ll
never be good enough?’ No. You don’t. What you said to
me all those years ago made me realize who I really was.
And you know something? I am not pure of heart.”
As he set the Sins free and gained his champion powers, Sivana
continued his verbal barrage on the wizard by stating, “You
seek a pure soul old man, but no one is worthy.” Because of
the horrendous aftermath of Black Adam, the wizard was no
longer trusting and refused to share his power with anyone
that wasn’t worthy and pure of heart. This caused the wizard
to be alone and isolated for generations, and even after
Sivana, they were still looking for a pure hearted champion,
but to no avail. Finding people who are worthy and pure of
heart is a challenge, not just for a wizard, but for anyone,
"As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even
one; there is no one who understands; there is no one
who seeks God. All have turned away, they have
together become worthless; there is no one who does
good, not even one.” - Romans 3:10-12.
“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no
one who does what is right and never sins.” -
“The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to
see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is
no one who does good, not even one.” - Psalm 14:2-3.
Scripture tells us that literally none of us are righteous. The
wizard used righteousness and purity as his measure of
whether or not people could carry his power, but by biblical
standards, no one could. When Billy finally made it before the
wizard, he, unlike so many others, was quick to admit he
wasn’t it. He knew full and well that he wasn’t pure hearted or
worthy, but the wizard was out of options.
That’s similar to how we relate to God. We aren’t pure hearted
or worthy, but He still gives us His gifts (life, peace, spirt, joy,
strength, etc). He gives them to us not out of desperation or
out of a lack of options, but because He is good and wants us
to have life.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and all are justified freely by his grace through the
redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” - Romans 3:23-
The wizard passed on his power because he had no other
options. God’s gifts are given because of grace. Like Billy, none
of these gifts have anything to do with our worthiness. I would
encourage you to make the most of the gifts you are given.
Just like Billy had a responsibility to live up to being the
champion of the Rock of Eternity, we have the responsibility to
live up to the grace given to us.
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to
lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been
called by God.” - Ephesians 4:1.
“so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and
please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good
work, growing in the knowledge of God” - Colossians
#2: The Sins
As you saw, the 7 deadly sins of mankind reside in the rock of
eternity and are guarded by the champion. First of all, I'd like
to give DC credit for having the audacity to refer to them as
sins. Sin has a very biblical connotation to it that I can
understand a major film studio avoiding. In the 2010 animated
featurette, “Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam,”
they referred to them as the 7 deadly “enemies of man” for
exactly that reason. In the 2019 Shazam box office outing, they
not only addressed them as sins, but called them by name and
even gave them attention and discussion.
As young Sivana approached the eye, the wizard warned him
about the dangers of the sins and that they weren’t what he
needed. As previously mentioned, he fell to that temptation
not only as a child, but he pursued their power for his entire
adult life. That really hits home to me, because I know
personally there are some sins in my own life and sins in the
lives of other that seem to have similar sway. Some days, it’s
like we have been stuck in pursuit of the specific sin all our
lives. Sivana devoted all of his time, research, finances, and
resources to once again being within reach of the sins and all
that they would bring him. In a discussion about Moses in
Hebrews 11:25, it describes that sin is pleasurable for a season,
or a fleeting time. That means sin is pleasurable, but that
pleasure only lasts for a moment.
As Sivana finally possessed the sins and enacted his vengeance
on his family, they immediately took control and started
barking orders. They told him that he had to go out and take
care of the threat of the champion. Anything that could get in
the way of their power was not allowed. I’ve seen firsthand
what it’s like for sin to have that much control in life. Sin will
cause division, take you places you wouldn’t normally go,
distract you, and make you its slave. In Sivana’s case, it had
him chasing down a 14-year-old boy all over Philidelphia. In
our case, it usually will take us to darker places.
While Sivana literally had 7 crusty gargoyle-looking
manifestations of sin riding his free will into the manipulative
dirt, you may not feel like you are under that much control.
ButLook at what Jesus said.
“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is
a slave to sin.” - John 8:34.
Those aren’t fun words to hear. If you look deeper into the
translation, it reads more accurately those who “practice” sin,
but realistically there’s not a lot of difference because I think
we all do both basically.
When Sivana returns Shazam to the Rock of Eternity, Shazam
tried to convince Sivana to let go of the sins. He could see what
the wizard saw.
“Look, no offense mister, but I don’t think these things
have your best interest at heart. They’re using you, you
have to see that, that they are using you.”
He was right. As the battle raged on from the Rock to the
carnival, Billy’s point was made clear. Envy finally abandoned
Sivana, and he was left helpless dangling on the brink of death.
When we let sin control us even a little, we can end up in the
same predicament. Sin doesn’t just quietly reside in us; it
“But each person is tempted when they are dragged
away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after
desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when
it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” - James 1:14-15.
Sin fully grown gives birth to death. If Shazam hadn’t rescued
Sivana and pried the eye from him, Sivana would have
ultimately met his demise at the hands of the sins after they
had used him to accomplish their goals. Don’t think for a
minute there’s any difference in our situation. When we are in
the position of sin wreaking havoc in our lives, we most likely
won’t have a superhero to forcefully remove it from us. We are
going to have to make that call ourselves. That is what Paul
called the Roman church to do.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so
that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of
yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but
rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been
brought from death to life; and offer every part of
yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For
sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not
under the law, but under grace.” - Romans 6:12-14.
Fight back when the sins of your world are trying to take hold
of you, and for the love of God, don’t stick a demon ball in
From the beginning of the movie through the end, we saw the
overall arc of Billy looking for his home. He was so bent on
finding his home in his mother, and he couldn’t accept
anywhere else as being his home. He had run from dozens of
foster homes over his years all because he felt none of those
places were his actual home.
I know that feeling. It’s hard to pause and be content where
you are because you think there is somewhere else you are
supposed to be. It’s also hard to be loved by the people around
you because you think that somewhere else, there are people
who are going to love you better or desire to have you in their
life more. It’s not that it’s selfish, just rather we have this
desire to be in a place where we belong.
Victor Vasquez and his family truly showed what it looked like
to have a home that was welcoming and loving. Billy couldn’t
see it at first, but it was always there. Some of us are out here
chasing our own proverbial “Billy’s Mom.” When Billy finally
found his mom in the movie, she broke his heart and rejected
him. I had to have my oldest daughter switch seats and come
sit beside me because she was ugly crying on the end of the
row by herself. She couldn’t understand why a parent would
simply walk away from their child.
We are looking for these people or situations that will make us
feel at “Home.” In reality, they are simply ghosts we are
chasing that are just destined to reject us. Some of you are
pouring into relationships that will never be home. Some of
you are pouring into organizations, careers, or projects that
will still kick you out at the end of the day.
Victor Vasquez reminded Rosa what she had once told him,
“It’s not a home till you call it a home. It’s something you have
to choose.” Billy was given the opportunity to make the
Vasquez house a home, but it had to be his choice. As long as
he was determined to find his home elsewhere, he would
never be satisfied. To me, that looks a lot like how we are with
church. I’m not talking about buildings, but the people. Many
of us involve ourselves with churches, but we are determined
to find something else. We chase our Billy’s Moms all over the
world through so many activities and avenues because we
aren’t willing to call the people we church with a home.
Maybe it’s because you’ve had struggles with your faith.
Maybe it’s because someone in that family hurt you. Maybe
it’s because you don’t like leadership or preferences of the
organization. Whatever it is, you run. You bounce from house
to house, group to group, or church to church because you
aren’t willing to call it home yet. Just like Victor and Rosa were
willing to make this place a home for Billy, Freddy, Darla,
Pedro, Eugene, and Mary, there is a home for you in the
church. You have to be willing to choose it and not sneak out
and run at the first sign of a ghost from your past or something
that appears more appealing. We see what it looks like in the
early church when God’s people actually decided to call the
rebellious group of resurrection believers a home.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and
to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and
signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were
together and had everything in common. They sold
property and possessions to give to anyone who had
need. Every day they continued to meet together in the
temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate
together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and
enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added
to their number daily those who were being saved.” -
When God’s people decided to call each other home, they
were together, unified, and their needs were met. They truly
became a home and family. One reason it may be hard for
people today to feel “home” with church is because church
now doesn’t look like the scripture you just read. I am fully
aware of that. I’m currently in the process of trying to
restructure things in my own church with that exact thought. I
am reading Francis Chan’s book Letters to the Church, and it’s
helping me see a lot of things we need to fix to make the
church what God called it to be.
The Vasquez home didn’t just become a thriving foster home
on its own. It took time. It took effort. It took fixing mistakes,
learning, and listening. I hope you find a church home that can
be that for you. No matter what group of people you lump
yourself with, there will always be flaws and mistakes, but I
pray you can find a family to call home.
Even more so, I hope you can come to the place where you
find a home in God. In the climax of the movie, Billy shares his
powers with his foster family and they become part of
something bigger. They are not only family in where they live,
but now in the immense power they share. What is given to
them by this super natural force changes how they live and
exist for the rest of their lives. Still, they had to choose to take
that on They had to place their hands on the staff and yell
“Billy!” ... which in turn did nothing but make me laugh. Once
they actually yelled out the right name and received their new
position in the Shazamily, they were changed from the inside
out. Their home was in their identity and power they shared
together. God wants to do that in you. He wants your home to
be in Him, and even crazier sounding, He wants to make a
home with you.
“Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my
teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to
them and make our home with them.” - John 14:23.
God wants to be home with you. He wants to be so close to
you that you never have to be isolated or alone. He wants you
to know that He is there. He wants to be that present Father in
your life. Based on what I can remember, my father only lived
in my home for 4 years of my life. It was not a great
experience. On the flipside, outside of camps and comicons,
my kids have never known me to be away. They don’t know
what it’s like to not know their father’s presence.
God wants that for you. He wants you to be at home not only
with His people, but with Him. As Victor said though, it’s not a
home until you call it a home. It’s something you choose. Just
as Billy chose to make the Vasquez and Shazamiliy his home, I
hope and pray you can choose to make God and His people
your home as well.