Sunday, March 09, 2008

Worship in Spirit and in Truth

Pastor Chris’ reiterated his call to us to be serious in our worship through his sermon today, “True Worshippers” based on John 4:23-24.

John 4:23-24 (NAU)
23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

I remember someone telling me that we usually misinterpret worshipping in spirit and in truth. I cannot remember what it was and if I now perform a simple exegesis by looking at the verses themselves to derive its meaning, I saw it as follows:

Worship Him in Spirit
I have usually taken it to mean to worship him in a spiritual manner. But now I think it is not. If we look at v.20-21, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” The reference was to the place of worship rather than the manner of worship. Jesus was referring to the time when he will be glorified, and when the Gospel will be preached to all people, all believers will be able to worship the Father wherever they are, worshipping him in spirit rather than physically in Jerusalem or Mt. Gerizim where the Samaritans worship.

Worship Him in Truth
In terms of worshipping in truth, I have usually taken it to mean that I need to always worship God truthfully and honestly, to mean what I say and what I sing. I can now say that it is not. While it is also true that we must mean what we say and sing, in that context Jesus had meant it differently. In v.22, Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” Apparently, the Samaritans only took the Torah as the authentic word of God and therefore had not known God more than what was revealed in the Torah. Jesus told her that she must worship in truth, what is revealed not only through the Laws but the Prophets.

Therefore, the next time I use this phrase or hear this phrase being used, I must bear in mind that when Jesus uttered it, he meant that God seeks for someone who not only worships him in the church on Sundays but everywhere else and he seeks for someone who worships him in his word, to be knowledgeable of his revelatory word.


1 comment:

  1. Isn't it interesting how we all think of a place when we think of worship? With today's iPods, MP3 plyers and CDs (not to mention youtube) it is easier than ever to worship outside of the church building.. wonder why I don't do it as much as I used to?