One of the things I like about the Sons of Thunder is their audacity. Sure, it seems comical in contrast to Jesus, but it helps to put the relationship between man and God into some perspective.
Most of us have been taught that when we finally meet Jesus, we're going to fall to our knees in worship. This comes, of course, from Paul's hymn in Philippians 2, which says that every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father. And I don't want to take anything away from this idea; I think we could all use a little more time humbled in the presence of God and Jesus.
But it's not really an example we see...well...anywhere. The men and women Jesus met in His ministry - His disciples, the blind, the deaf, the sick, the lame, the Pharisees, the Samaritans, the Romans - these people never just instinctively fell to their knees in His presence. They stood up. They talked with Him. They walked with Him. They ate with Him. They sat around tables and hillsides and seashores with Him. When He healed them, they didn't fall down; they stood a little taller. They rejoiced.
Maybe you're thinking, well, yeah. But Jesus was just Jesus then; He wasn't Christ. Okay, but even after He is resurrected, we don't see people falling to their knees. We see them squealing with delight. We see them celebrating when He comes into the Upper Room. He appeared to hundreds of persons as the resurrected Christ, and most of them were on their feet, not on their knees.
Which brings me back to the Sons of Thunder and stories like the one I shared yesterday. What I love about these stories is that they remind me that in the presence of Jesus, I'm going to be completely comfortable being who I am. I'm going to relax and not worry about the stupid things that I sometimes say. I'm going to speak freely, love freely, be freely, and sometimes, that means Jesus is going to give me that look, but when He does, we'll always end up just laughing.
I know how silly I can be at times.
But the Sons of Thunder remind me how light-hearted Jesus can be.
I've always thought that when I meet Jesus face-to-face, I'm going to fall down in worship. And maybe I am. I think there's going to be a large part of me that wants to. But what about when I'm walking around a restored creation and see Him a second time? A third time? A hundredth time? Am I going to spend eternity falling to my knees? And if that's the case, how am I ever supposed to have a real relationship with this God who has always said that His entire design for humanity was relationship? That His intended design for me is relationship?
I think about this scene with James and John, and I can't help but imagine that this is the very kind of thing that Jewish "bros" would say to one another in a moment of free fellowship. You know, the way guys sit around today during a football game or whatever, drinking beer and razzing on each other. I imagine that these historic Jewish bros probably used to sit around, talking about their lives, and playfully suggesting, "Hey, man, you want me to call down fire from heaven for you?" Then laughing because, of course....
It's the same thing I read into this passage. Plan A just failed, and they're all standing around trying to figure out what Plan B is when James and John shoot each other that little wry grin, then turn to Jesus and say, "Hey, Bro...."
It's a beautiful moment.
And I don't know if that's really what happened, if that's really how the moment played out. Maybe it was more solemn than I am making it out to be. But from what I read about James and John in some of the other sections of the gospels, this is totally fitting in their character. It's exactly the kind of thing they would do; what's hard for us to sometimes grasp is that they actually do it in the presence of Jesus.
I want to be like that. I want to be so comfortable in the presence of Jesus that I feel like I can just be myself. I want to be so at peace in His presence that I relax and act just the same way that anyone else would find me. (And conversely, I want to be so relaxed in the presence of other people that I act the same as I would if Jesus Himself were present.)
Not because I don't think the worship and the reverence are important. They are. Not because I think I'm too good to fall on my knees. I'm not. But because God desperately desires relationship above all else, and if we're going to have any sort of relationship at all, I have to dare to be just who I am.
A Son of Thunder or a Daughter of....