During the past few decades, it has become very common within the ‘Christian world’ to bring Jesus down to our level and make Him accessible, like a buddy. I’m sure this was a reaction to the stuffy churches of old that viewed God more as a cosmic grandfather who was unreachable. People began crying out for more…for a relationship with the God who had changed their lives. The Bible speaks of Jesus as a Friend and a Brother, so I can see how this view would have gotten its roots. The thing is, though, as with anything, when we stand too far in one direction or the other, we typically miss the mark. God is transcendent–He is not like us, yet He is also immanent–we can know Him in a personal way. God is with us, yet He is not just like us.
This is where the “buddy system” with God falls short. Because if we play out this casual reflection of Jesus our Creator, King and Messiah, eventually we will take His commands and word casually too. However, one look at Isaiah 6 makes my perspective change.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I (Isaiah) saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
The Lord is King. He is majestic and exalted above us, above all things. All things have been put under Jesus’ feet and it has been given to Him to be head over all things. He is before all things and in Him all things consist. He is not like us.
Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
This picture of worship is a far cry from our attitudes when we view Jesus too lightly. What was Isaiah’s response to this heavenly worship?
Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah knew immediately, as He was in the presence of the Holy One, that he was a sinner. He was not perfect. He was not holy. Yet, for Isaiah, and for us!, Jesus does not leave us in this devastating state:
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”
This is the work of Jesus, the Holy One! As Jesus reveals to us our sins, He doesn’t leave us there, but He transforms us through His powerful work on the Cross. This is what we celebrate on Easter, on every single Sunday! (Well, as Believers, we celebrate this every single day!)
If we view Jesus too lightly, though, then we end up stripping him (in our minds) of His holiness. And, if we aren’t focusing on His holiness, then eventually sin isn’t a big deal. And, if sin isn’t a big deal, then who needs saving? And from what?
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!
You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!
Revelation 4: 8, 11; 5: 12