Topic: Being Humbled - Itís About Time
Series: Batman The Animated Series
Episode: Itís Never Too Late
Lesson PDF link: 26bc.pdf
The finale of this three-part sub-lesson is the opposite of the last one because this boss seemingly repents. The crime boss in this episode of Batman: The Animated Series called "Itís Never Too Late" is a very proud man who thinks he is just fine. However, what God has for him cuts him to his very heart. If he were real he might have became a Christian, in this lesson we are assuming he probably did (for the sake of talking about the redemptive work of the lesson and our Lord Jesus Christ). The reason for the "probably" here is to emphasize the power of prayer for the advancement to salvation in anyone.
Note: We are using the entire cartoon in the form of clips (except beginning theme and end credits) because it's just that good; the show really hits home the point of humbling oneself when in the wrong.
Scriptures Used Include: Proverbs 16: 2-5,18-19; Isaiah 59: 1-21; Proverbs 19: 11, 25: 15; II Timothy 4: 1-8
Recap Of Last Time: What did we learn last time in this series on humility and being humbled? Last time, we looked at a crime boss (Carmen Sandiego), who thought and probably still thinks that she is OK spiritually because she rationalizes herself to be better in morality than her counterpart Maelstrom and is not. This time we are going to look at another crime boss who seems to have the same attitude. Letís see what happens to this boss.
Clip # 1 of Cartoon Show "Itís Never Too Late":
What do you think about Arnold Stromwellís boyhood, his flashback(s) and circumstances of the present (namely the disappearance of Joseph)? What do you think of the Arnold Stromwell vs. Rupert Thorne situation? Why do you think that the Father or priest had the reaction he did, that he wishes he could give up on Arnold? The first part of our Bible study comes from Proverbs 16: 2-5, 18-19.
The Bible States:
Pr 16:2 All a manís ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
Pr 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Pr 16:4 The LORD works out everything for his own endsó even the wicked for a day of disaster.
Pr 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
Pr 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pr 16:19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
Which character(s) do you see that these scriptures describe at this point? What do you think of Arnold Stromwellís brother Michael acting the way he did? What would you do if you were Michael? It looks to me like Michael did a lot of praying about whether or not letting Arnold go was the right thing. Doesnít it?
At the end of this section of the cartoon, we see that Thorneís bomb blows up the restaurant. It looks like the end for Stromwell, but as you will see, it is not. God has a plan of salvation.
Clip # 2 of Cartoon Show "Itís Never Too Late":
What do you think about the 10 cent tour of the city that Batman was giving Stromwell and the revelation of his missing son Joseph? Wouldnít this be a humbling experience?
Clip # 3 of Cartoon Show "Itís Never Too Late":
Why do you think that Arnold is still showing major pride?
Clip # 4 of Cartoon Show "Itís Never Too Late":
We see with Stromwell, he is still having flashbacks, Thorne is trying to kill him, and on top of this, his brother is there trying to get him to do the right thing. If you were Stromwell, how would you react?
The Bible States:
Isa 59:1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Isa 59:3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.
Isa 59:4 No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
Isa 59:5 They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spiderís web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
Isa 59:6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands.
Isa 59:7 Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.
Isa 59:8 The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace.
Isa 59:9 So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
Isa 59:10 Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead.
Isa 59:11 We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.
Isa 59:12 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities:
Isa 59:13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
Isa 59:14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.
Isa 59:15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice.
Isa 59:16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.
Isa 59:17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isa 59:18 According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.
Isa 59:19 From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.
Isa 59:20 "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the LORD.
Isa 59:21 "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever," says the LORD.
Stromwell, at first, tries to run. He soon realizes that he cannot run from God, Thorne, or his brother. Eventually, one of them is going to get him. At this time he chooses his brother. This is a smart choice, because his brother is a priest (probably Catholic). His brother for this lesson portrays a Godly person who knows Jesus as his personal Savior and will serve to help Stromwell in this way.
Verse # 1 in this scripture set is for everyone. God will save anyone if the people will humble themselves to Jesus Christ. Verses 2-19 are a good description of Stromwellís past (and of course, Batman knocked out all of Thorneís goons and Thorne). All Stromwell has done so far is create misery. Verses 20-21 reflect the redemptive work that is started to happen in Stromwell. If Stromwell isnít a Christian yet, he probably soon will be. The Scriptures speak pretty well about the patience of Michael in this cartoon and the type of man that Michael is portraying.
The Bible States:
Pr 19:11 A manís wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Pr 25:15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
2Ti 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
2Ti 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourageó with great patience and careful instruction.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2Ti 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2Ti 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2Ti 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.
2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2Ti 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that dayóand not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Michael looks to have read these scriptures and put them into practice.
What have we learned and how will we put it into practice?
It is clear that we never should give up on the lost souls that donít know Jesus Christ. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the everlasting power of making a difference and soul winning if we let Jesus control us. We cannot do it without the Lord; rather itís the Lord who chooses us to be used in the way Michael was in the cartoon. Itís about The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (One God now and forever), not us people.