We would fall flat on our faces if we saw Jesus in His glory.
The Apostle John wanted to do just that. While He was in exile on the island of Patmos, He was given a vision of the resurrected and ascended Jesus.
He records it this way in Revelation 1:
“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last.'”
There’s a tendency, I think it’s fair to say, in American Christianity to make Jesus a harmless God who wants to help us achieve our dreams.
But see, we don’t get to remake Jesus. He is who He is. And who He is is a breathtakingly big God, beautiful enough to cause your heart pound and your face fall to the ground.
Now, it is true that this big, real Jesus loves us. The fact that we have a lopsided view of Him and talk almost exclusively about His love and compassion doesn’t mean that we should correct the mistake by denying them.
Actually, the Jesus who caused John to fall on His face and caused demons to plead for mercy loves us more than that Teddy Bear misrepresentation ever could, because He is more powerful and righteous and glorious and sovereign than the cosmic hug machine He is packaged as.
The form of a slave, the broken human flesh that the real Jesus took on was a far greater sacrifice than the fictional, small Jesus who is just a quaint buddy could’ve ever made.
The actual, Biblical Jesus is a King who became a peasant, and who is returning to rule with the rebel peasants He’s rescued.
So He loves us impossibly, and His greatness and hugeness and power magnify, highlight that love.
But He isn’t only merciful. He is also awe-inspiring. Large. Gloriously sovereign and with the authority to rule. He is the One chapter 1 of Revelation says all the tribes of the Earth will wail on account of.
The Bible is a book filled with and commanding worship. And you don’t worship a buddy. You don’t fall down and praise a pal.
Check out the last few chapters of the Gospels and the first few of Revelation, and see how many times Jesus tells His disciples and followers not to be afraid of Him.
We worship a Jesus so powerful and pure and amazing and that He has to remind us not to be afraid of Him.
Never fall into the American Christianity trap (not universal across the landscape but definitely widespread) of worshiping a Jesus who is harmless and only out to give you nice material things or help you get your American dreams.
Avoid, like a dangerous snare set out for the unsuspecting and undiscerning, the idea of a Jesus who is only a servant and never a King.
He has flaming eyes and a voice like a hurricane and has conquered sin and death as though they were twin insects under His heel. And He has the right to lovingly and righteously reign.
If you worship a small Jesus who’s primary concern is your happiness, two bad things are going on:
1) You’re worshiping a Jesus who doesn’t exist.
2) You’re robbing glory from the Jesus who does.