Big Idea

Are we really obligated to help those in need?

Scene Setup

Tony Stark (Iron Man) comes to visit Peter Parker (Spider-Man) to recruit him to the Avengers, but before he does, he needs to find out what motivates Peter to do what he does.


Responsibility, Action, Obedience, Neighbor, Good Samaritan


Stark wants to know why Peter is out fighting crime, so he asks, "What's your M.O.? What gets you out of that twin bed in the morning?" Peter explains his powers and the ethical restraint he feels: "Because I've been me my whole life, and I've had these powers for six months. I read books, I build computers, and, yeah, I would love to play football, but I couldn't then, so I shouldn't now." Stark agrees, both he and Peter are "different." Then Peter shares the ethical dilemma: "Exactly. But I can't tell anybody that, so I'm not. When you can do the things that I can, but you don't," (Stark leans in -- this is the explanation he has been waiting for.) "and then the bad things happen, they happen because of you." Stark tries to draw Peter in by appealing to Peter's desire to "make the world a better place." Peter agrees, saying that it is about using his powers for good, but he doesn't say this with a lot of conviction. He is new to his powers, and isn't really sure what he should be doing. Stark then gives him the opportunity to do the right thing, to go to Germany. He asks Peter if he has a passport. Peter protests that he can't go. He has homework. "I'm being serious, I can’t just drop out of school." Stark replies, "Might be a little dangerous. Better tell Aunt Hottie I'm taking you…" Peter uses his webbing to stick Stark's hand to the doorknob. Peter apparently agrees, but Stark agrees to keep the mission a secret from Aunt May.


Peter is very surprised to find billionaire playboy Tony Stark in his living room. At first he tries to cover things up, claiming he really isn't Spider-man, but Tony knows the truth. He's just trying to find out what makes the young man tick. What this conversation demonstrates is that while Peter has some idea that his new powers must be used responsibly and for the aid of his fellow man, he hasn't really thought it all out yet, and he hasn't been fully tested. It's one thing to assert that you have responsibilities, it is another thing to accept them and act. We can say all of the right things, we can even "believe" the right things, but if our words and beliefs don't translate into concrete action, they aren't worth much. The Apostle James nails it when he instructs us that "faith without works is dead, being by itself." The story of the Good Samaritan shows us the value of good ideas that don't result in good actions. Two "religious" people pass by a man who has been beaten by robbers and left for dead. Only the Samaritan, the man who takes action and uses his resources to aid the fallen man is commended. Jesus tells the story of two sons who are asked to work in their father's vineyard. One has the right words, but no actions. The other originally says he won't work, but then thinks better of it and goes to the vineyard to do his job. Jesus asks which of these two sons actually did the will of their father: the one who said the right thing, or the one who did the right thing? When we are given resources (our human version of superpowers), God wants us to use them responsibly to love our neighbors and to expand God's Kingdom. As the Apostle Peter puts it in 1 Peter 1:13, we are to "prepare our minds for action." God wants us to be doers of His Word, not just people who hear it and do nothing. So if we know the truth, and believe the truth, then we have an obligation to live out and do the truth. In doing so, we will let our light shine in our culture, people will see what we do, and give glory to God.


Where To Find


James 1:22-25

1 Peter 1:13

Matthew 21:28-32

Luke 10:25-37

James 2:14-18

Video Times

Start: 1:20:38

End: 1:22:29


Power, Responsibility, Act, Action, Obey, Obedience, Neighbor, Love, Good Samaritan, Trial, Testing, Obligation

Illustration Sermon General Warning

None for this scene.

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