Men who brag about wanting to meet Jesus have something seriously wrong with them. You all don’t have to share this opinion. Our judgements of others are influenced by life’s little anecdotes as well as individual temperaments, so I don’t offer this as a universal truth. You can take it or leave it. But I reiterate: there’s something wrong with a man who so boasts. Don’t trust him.
There’s too much of the pharisee in modern Christians. Their holiness consists in outward shows of piety, while on the inside, they’re petty, cruel, and tyrannical. Ohhhh…by their own admission (they’ll have you know), they’re on excellent terms with Christ. Their every word is Scripture and if you disagree with them, you’re “disagreeing with the Bible!” Is it naivete? Stupidity? Or down right sorriness? Yes and yes. It’s that petty, streak of meanness that runs through the hearts of both the cultist and the revolutionary alike – the two are the same creature, after all.
I’m absolutely terrified of meeting Jesus. He’ll see right to the black heart of me; all my weaknesses instantly revealed. The shame of it will be unbearable. And yes, yes, my pharisee, cult friends are right. He’s forgiven us. That’s what Easter is all about. But friends, there’s a reason the men in the Bible fell to their faces and weren’t able to speak in the presence of the Lord.
I thought about all this yesterday morning as I drove to my special place of prayer to watch the sunrise. On Sundays or on holy days, I like to devote my prayers specifically to thanksgiving, worship, praises (and the like). Too often my regular prayers turn into strategy sessions where I hash out what I’ve already decided while God watches from the sidelines. Sometimes those prayers drift into daydreams or drag up new worries. But on holy days, I allow none of that.
Only, yesterday, not for the first or last time, I was speechless before the throne. What do you say to a perfect and holy God? What can you really do other than fall (even if only metaphorically) to the ground and beg for mercy? But then we hear that wonderful voice that touches us lightly and says:
“…be not afraid. Stand!”
Beware the man who takes that voice lightly.