I was flying into Lusaka, Zambia in late September, 2013 on a mission trip. On the flight over from the United States, I petitioned God to answer three specific prayer requests: that many children would be saved in His Name; that He would allow me to see a lion; and that He would allow me to pet a cheetah. I shared these requests with a native Zambian, beside me on the plane. He laughed, his eyes shining.
He prayed aloud, holding my hand on the plane, sitting on the tarmac while goat-herders moved the potential pot holes on the hoof to better pasture. He held my hand, raised his other hand, and in a thick African accent, prayed, "Father God of the Universe, Creator God, Lion of Judah, Lamb of God, we pray in Your Name all these things. Please allow Terrie and the team success in sharing your Gospel; prepare the harvest for their delight; Lord God, allow Terrie to see a lion up close and personal, and Lord -- " he giggled here, "--- Allow her to not just pet a cheetah, but to hear it purr! In Jesus Name, the Son of the Living God..." the people in four seats surrounding us chorused together, "A-men!"
He answered all three requests.
We went on a safari for a fun day, and got out of the safari truck to walk and see the mighty lions lounging around a tree. One mighty-maned lion surrounded by his lionesses. Then, one stood up in the heat of the day -- he seemed bored -- and walked over to the chain link fenced that separated my church group from what could eat us. With the fence between us, he looking at us with giant brown eyes, he didn't seem so tough. He seemed very gentle, not unlike my domestic cats far away, lounging on a sun-washed window sill at home.
Then, the lion yaaawwwnndddd --- and the thoughts about his gentleness gave way to a distinct knowledge that he brings down zebras with those teeth. How could something so mighty, so graceful, and so tender to his pride, his children, turn suddenly into a powerful king that would kill to protect his own. Standing there, watching a lioness come over as well, I remembered the Zambian man's prayer and whispered, "The Lion of Judah..."
We tend to think of Christ as being this great teacher, walking through towns, villages, and deserts, teaching along the way and healing people. We tend to separate this Jesus from the God of the Old Testament, who was more of a fire-and-brimestone type. We forget God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit who lives in us through salvation in Christ, were all one. Explaining the Trinity makes grammar check go all wonky. Three in one. They were; they are; they will be.
Looking at the lions -- and then the cheetah I got to pet right afterwards (it purred! it also stank) -- reminded me that while Christ is the Lamb of God who humbly laid His life down for us on the cross, He is also the Lion of Judah, who will come again. The age of grace will pause when He returns for His Bride, the Church, and judgements will rein down on the world.
On the cross, "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit," [John 19:30]. Compare this to Revelation 21:6 -- "He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life."
Finished, done -- the same word, right? According to the KJV Greek Lexicon, the word "finished" is the Greek word "televw" which means "to perform, execute, complete, fulfill." Christ came to this world as a Babe to do what He did on the cross -- to carry our sins and die a sacrificial death. To perform, execute, complete, and fulfill the need for a Savior because sin was in the world.
"It is done," in Revelation, is the Greek word Γέγοναν, which means "to come into being, to happen, to become."
Do you see the awe of God in this? He had known since Adam and Eve ate the fruit that humanity would need a Savior, so God sent the only Sacrifice good enough to end sacrifices once and for all: His only Son, Jesus, who upon the Cross said, in essence, "This part is done." Enter the age of grace where daily sacrifices and living by the Law, which no one could do, was gone. Jesus came to finish (fullfil) the Law and enter the age of grace.
In the future, when He sits on His Throne and all of humanity, great and small, who was ever born or killed, kneel before Him, He will declare "It is done!" SIn will be abolished, and Jesus will bring a new heaven and a new earth into being, to get Creation back to where He had it before sin entered the picture.
What does this have with reverence?
Everything. “Do not come any closer,” God said. in Exodus 3:5 to Moses. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” When we speak His Name of Jesus, we need to do so with a reverence -- He is our KING. He is our LORD.
We need to give the Lord God more reverence than we do human leaders. Pastors have left churches and half the church has followed him to his new calling, because they were following him instead of staying with the call of God to remain. We need to give the Lord God more reverence during worship.
Listen: Worship should be the act of living for Christ in all things, in and out of the church, with a celebration culminating at church with like-minded people, there to praise God. Worship should not be about performance, making the music Broadway-caliber or rock-music loud. Worship has to do with reverence. Are we taking off our proverbial shoes when we enter the building, knowing we are entering a Holy Place? Though the Holy Spirit endwells each of us the moment we accept Christ as Savior,
Should we not revere Christ? Church has become way too flippant. This is not about the question of drums or not drums, hymnbooks or screens -- there are pros and cons to each. We can use hymnbooks with no more reverence than reading a magazine in a doctor's office. We can raise our hands high and worship the King in a gym and do so reverently. We can also act like we're rock musicians and crank the sound and become a hindrance to people trying desperately to worship and meet with Jesus. Church worship is not about performance or about the players on the stage. Life worship should not be about how many likes we get on social media or how cute we look.
Real worship -- reverence -- is about being humble before the Lord Jesus and knowing that He must be greater and not us. Worship is not about how cool we look on stage. Our worship needs to point to Christ at all times, in gentleness and in peace.
satan loves to make hindrances in church -- to take your mind off the message. Do you ever remember the weirdest things that you've been trying to remember for days, right during the sermon, so you write them on the bulletin? satan.
Reverence is about being in awe of what God has done, is doing, and will do in your life. Reverence is about daily life-worship in constant prayer with Him. If we don't physically take our shoes off, maybe we should do that in our minds as we prepare in silence, awe, and reverence as we meet with the King of Kings.
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