I see now that I've gotten some things wrong in the past, and Jesus is shining light and truth on those areas.
I have, up until very recently, had a very small view of Jesus. When I heard the name Jesus, I would think of a picture that hangs in my Granny and Papa's hallway right above a small table that for the majority of my life housed a black rotary phone, a great stack of phone books and paper and pen for jotting down quick notes. The picture is a profile of Jesus (much like the one above), a humble-looking, bearded man with flawless skin looking up beyond the borders of its frame as if he was peering into the heavens. He doesn't look like anyone significant according to that picture.
The picture coincides with the man that I learned about as a child in Sunday School and VBS. I envisioned a very mild-mannered (honestly, somewhat weak) man in sandals wearing a robe just kind of shuffling around healing people--a man whose love was conditional on my performance. Sure, I heard about how he was my "Heavenly Father" (What?! That's weird. What does that even mean?) I just thought it was something "church people" say, and, in my mind, church people were weird.
Oh, what a small, small view I had. Christianity is about submitting to Jesus (realizing that on my own, I fall short every day and I desperately need a savior) and following Him one day at a time (the best I know how). As I do this everyday, He is teaching me who He really is.
In Revelation 19:11-16, John paints a very different picture of Jesus--much different than anything I had ever heard about or seen in church as a child. John says,
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
WHAT!? This dude is B.A.D! Jesus shows up from the bowels of Heaven on a white horse with FIRE in his eyes, leading heaven's army, waging war, ruling with an iron scepter all while sporting a robe dipped in blood and a tat that reads "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." I N.E.V.E.R saw that version of Jesus before! FYI...If I see anybody with a "King of Kings and Lord or Lords" tat on their leg wearing a robe dipped in bright red blood I'm going to be freaked out of my mind!
You know the prayer, "God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food...?" What does it really mean?? What does it mean, "God is great?" Before, I would have said great=good and called it a day. But if Jesus is ALL man and ALL God ALL at the same time, he can certainly encompass each and every definition of the word great. Jesus really is:
Large in size and number.
Remarkable and outstanding.
Significant and important.
And He is GREAT enough to do immeasurably more IN me and THROUGH me than I can even hope for or imagine! That's the Jesus I'm following. Intentionally. Every day. The Jesus that is GREATER than my circumstances. The Jesus that will overwhelm me, not to punish me, but to teach me to trust Him completely. The Jesus that is a perfect heavenly Father that loves me in spite of my performance. The Jesus that died on a cross, not for my respect, but for my WORSHIP. The Jesus that promises that if he leads me to it, he'll lead me through it!
I am my own worst enemy. I have hurt me more than anyone has ever hurt me. ME, MYSELF and I. All by myself. That's why I need a savior. That's why I am desperate to learn more about Him and learn just how BIG He is. That's what I'm praying. "Show me how BIG and AWESOME you really are!" And He is GREAT enough to do just that!
At NewSpring today, we sang...
Our great God
A mighty warrior
Our great God
Who goes before us
Our great God
Is on our side
It's so easy to just breeze through that simple refrain and not think about what it really means. But this morning, I fully felt the weight of it.
He is a MIGHTY WARRIOR who goes before ME, and He is on MY side. HE IS GREAT!
How Great Thou Art is my favorite hymn, and it suddenly has a whole new meaning!!
Dang! That's. Good. Stuff!