Supai Village, the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation, is located eight miles from the Colorado River and inside the Grand Canyon. Yes, these people actually live in the Grand Canyon. Like the rest of us, the Supai probably become accustomed to their majestic backyard view, and maybe even take it for granted, though it’s one of the seven wonders of the world. Does our proximity and familiarity to a wonderful person, place, or thing affect the majesty of that subject?
Many who grew up close to Jesus, the most majestic being to ever walk on this earth, failed to see him for who he was. After he taught in a synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth, many questioned, “’Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.” (Mark 6:2-3) Many of us who grew up in church and are familiar with the Bible are perhaps like those native Nazarenes who allowed familiarity to dampen their view of majesty. It’s certainly human nature to take the familiar for granted and to lose our awe, whether it’s Jesus or a natural wonder. However, when it comes to Jesus, the living God, we can’t afford to miss his majesty.
Jesus says familiarity and proximity to him actually increases our responsibility in the Christian life. In Luke 12:48 he warns us, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” Going even further, in Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus speaks of having mercy on historically wicked cities like Sodom, but pronounces woes against the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum – all because they saw much of his work and did not repent. Those of us who were blessed enough to grow up in a Christian family and church have a greater expectation to respond to Jesus compared to unbelievers who’ve never been exposed to the gospel.
Familiarity should increase our awe of majesty, not decrease it – but it takes effort. To increase awe of the Grand Canyon, we have to strap on our packs and begin hiking, viewing and appreciating the natural phenomenon from fresh perspectives. Likewise, regardless of how many times we’ve heard John 3:16 or Amazing Grace, we have to seek out fresh perspectives of Jesus through earnest prayer, thorough Scripture reading, passionate worship, and even fellowship with our believing brothers and sisters. If we seek the presence of Christ where, when, and how we’ve not sought him before, he’ll appear as we’ve never seen him – and that will lead us to more awe, more of his majesty.
The Lord’s majesty isn’t changed whether we’re seeking it or not, but it certainly changes us when we see it – and He’s eager to give us glimpses. In Exodus 33, when Moses asked to see the Lord’s glory, He obliged. When Job asked the Almighty to answer him in Job 31:35, He obliged. When Thomas asked to see Jesus’ scars in John 20, he obliged. All three men were changed forever and that’s why we can’t miss out on His majesty, even if it’s been in our backyard forever.