Today there seems to be a rather casual acceptance of Jesus Christ without the reverence and respect that is due Him. This pervades the Christian church and affects all of society, where Jesus is regarded as no more than just a good moral teacher. In general, people in the western world don’t mind the Christmas image of Jesus, the baby in the manger, but ignore the Easter image of Him, the risen Lord who conquered death. Mostly, what we see at Easter are pictures of flowers, eggs, chicks, and bunnies. These images refer to fertility and life coming forth in the earth and indicate that people still are drawn to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the earth and fertility, who Easter is named after. The person who came from heaven, received His power and authority from heaven, and has the keys of death and hell, is ignored.
In my childhood, I remember some flippant and disrespectful references to Jesus Christ. A pair of sandals was referred to as “J. C. water walkers” and there was a little song called “Jesus Saves”, about Jesus putting His money in a certain Canadian bank. When I got older and entered the working world I heard many men use Jesus’ name as an expression of cursing when something would go wrong on the job. Sometimes they would use filthy words, in violation of Colossians 3:8, and sometimes they would use the name of Jesus, in violation of the third commandment (Deuteronomy 5:11). This casual disregard for the Lord in our society is a dangerous attitude. Some people are heading for real trouble.
In the first chapter of the book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw the Lord as He is, exalted in glory. “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:13-18. The apostle John was afraid, even though he was the beloved disciple who was very close to Jesus in His earthly ministry.
The prophet Daniel had a similar experience 600 years before John. “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” Daniel 10:5-8. This wonderful person, who Daniel called Lord, lifted Daniel to his feet, but Daniel stood trembling in fear.
If these men, Daniel, who was one of the three most righteous men in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 14:14), and John, who was one of the three disciples closest to Jesus in the New Testament (Luke 9:28), could not stand before the Lord without divine help, and were filled with fear, where does that leave us? What should be our attitude toward the risen Lord?
The earliest Christians had fear and trembling when they received Christ (Philippians 2:12). Much later in history, Christians would tremble at the presence of the Holy Spirit. One example is the Quakers, who quaked when the Holy Spirit came upon them. We have drifted too far from that reverence and respect for the Most High God. One television preacher that I like watching lamented that many people come to Jesus Christ to get eternal life, and after saying the prayer of acceptance, they go and do as they please. What a shock some of them will have when the Lord denies them entrance to the kingdom, and says to them, “depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” Luke 13:27. Salvation without repentance is not taught in the Bible; it is an invention of man. At the very beginning of his ministry, after He had been tempted by the devil, Jesus started preaching that men must repent (Matthew 4:17). This is where the Christian life has to begin, and the fear of the Lord is necessary. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge:” Proverbs 1:7. Once a person has begun the Christian journey to know the Lord more fully, he or she must continue to grow in that knowledge. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement.” Hebrews 6:1-2. Through all of his or her Christian life, each of us must have a love, respect, and reverence for the Lord, and obey his commandments. This is the character of Christian discipleship.