To lionize someone means that you treat them other than what they really are. Humanly speaking, it means that you see them in an unnatural light and maybe perhaps think they’re more than human, more than down-to-earth and approachable.
“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, He departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John 6:15)
Reading through the testaments, one gets this idea that the children of Israel wanted nothing more than a physical representation of that which God the Father promised to them in eons past: namely, that of a king, on a throne, dispensing judgment and edicts, etc. But, true to form, God did things different than expected. He sent His Son to be born in obscurity and grow up among the hoi polloi (yes) and, after that incident in the temple with reference to that long-forgotten prophecy in Isaiah (see Luke 4:21, Isaiah 42 respectively), Jesus is on the scene. He’s the Messiah and all of humanity is left to deal with it the only way they know how. Thank God He sent the Holy Spirit to truly discern the nature of Christ and what it means to approach Him on His terms (see the passage at the bottom of the page).
“The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He.” (John 4:25)
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the knowledge of just who Jesus is with reference to history and humanity seemed to come to a select few—those whose hearts were ready to hear it. The woman at the well referenced above was eminently set in her ways and yet with a simple realigning of her priorities (and a little bit of sin-conviction), she was lit from within and ended up going out and evangelizing a city that most likely would not have heard the Gospel till God-knows-when (they were Samaritans and they didn’t mix with the Jews; racial tensions, you understand). But think about it: The children of Israel were promised many times—if they had read the scriptures (see Psalm 132:11, Isaiah 7:14, et al.)—that God would send a Savior, a Messiah. And here you have the man himself walking “through Samaria” (John 4:4b) and looking into the eyes of one individual (of many), telling her that He is that One. How then is this example different than the one from the sixth chapter of John above? The rabble, gripped with a mob mentality that looks to hoist Jesus high on their shoulders in order to take him somewhere and make him something other than what the Father had in mind when He sent him, is the wrong response. I can imagine the ignition, the pilot light that started in the eyes of the woman from Samaria when Christ leaned in and whispered those words. Evidently she didn’t see him as anything special before that.
There are several prophecies in Isaiah that describe a multi-faceted individual. Someone altogether human and yet concerned with one thing. The forty-second chapter, second verse says “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.” This means that doesn’t have to do what normally a person seeking an audience would be inclined to do. Yes, he had an entourage of twelve disciples but that was only because he was a teacher and it was tradition to find students and teach them. All throughout his time walking the streets of Israel, he was affecting the change talked about back in the prophecies of Isaiah. Another one from that book (53:1b-2) says “To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” In other words, there’s nothing about the outward appearance to Christ that suggests a knight in shining armor or an individual who has an unfounded messiah complex. He’s simply here to do what he was sent to do. It took a widescale realigning of the human experience by those who knew Him to understand, to apprehend the enormity of his person as he went about his day, doing things that were totally ordinary. He asks Philip (one of the twelve) “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” (John 14:9) It takes time to have the light of God diffuse into us to where we see Christ for who he is while we’re here and as we are.
Help is on the way
Here’s the thing about Christ: He’s amazing. He’s the Man. There is a gravitas to His person that keeps one from being flippant and glib in His presence. But this isn’t to say that He inspires a mindless hero-worship bereft of our faculties. To see Him in what light one is accustomed brings a peace and a beauty that nothing else in this world is able to substitute. And He loves you. Don’t be fooled: He is the “Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David” (Revelation 5:5) and due all the worship one is able to wring out of their person. But He’s also a friend. He’ll help you see Him for who He really is.
“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:25-27)