David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
– Revelation 7:9-14 [ESV]
There is great danger in celebrity Christianity endorsements. If they are genuine in their faith, and point people toward Jesus as their hope and Savior, well and good. But we tend too easily to turn a celebrity’s testimony into something about the celebrity. Isn’t he great to claim faith in God, we think. Like somehow fame and stardom render us a more precious catch for God, and a greater impact in witnessing. And if they fall, their fame can leverage a great outcry of derision for the faith.
The devil knows this. That’s why he tempted Jesus as he did, “If you are the Son of God” (and who could be more famous than that?!?) “Throw yourself down from the pinnacle of the temple.” Make a show of your grand identity. Let everyone see just how great you really are. Be famous! You’ll surely gather a crowd.
Only Jesus didn’t want merely to gather a crowd. He was not at all interested in fame. He had no use for grandstanding gimmicks. He is the Son of God. He had no need to prove it. So when anyone acknowledges him as such, it is actually merely appropriate. Famous people don’t do God any favors by endorsing Jesus. And ordinary or even forgettable people have no less impact than the famous. In fact there is a heavenly party whenever one sinner repents (cf. Luke 15, and the PC&D Youtube video below).
Nevertheless when we see this picture of heaven with living creatures, elders, angels and multitudes of people falling down in worship of the Lamb, it makes an impression. Every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth. And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (cf. Philippians 2:10-11). And not only do they fall down in worship, they fall on their faces in worship. This is no half-hearted acknowledgement. This is from the core of their being honor being bestowed on our Lord.
Next time you gather with others in worship, think of this scene. And join with the heavenly host, the great and small, the famous and infamous in majestic humility, praising God. For he alone is worthy. And whether or not you are famous, your worship of him is a delight to me, your brothers and sisters in Christ, the whole host of heaven, and to God himself.