Worship in Spirit and Truth.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24 ESV
In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks about the essence of worshiping the Lord during His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.
Jesus speaks of God, the Father as one Who is actively seeking worshipers and a type of worship that transcends geographical boundaries, cultural differences, and religious rituals. Rather than emphasizing the external, this type of worship centers on the inner connection with God, driven by the Holy Spirit and grounded in truth.
In this form of worship, the spirit and truth converge, creating a harmonious expression of devotion.
Worship, at its core, is an expression of reverence and adoration towards a higher power. And everybody worships… someone or something. It’s what we were created to do. However, true worship has a specific object of reverence and affection, namely, the God of the Bible.
In the Old Testament, the pattern for public worship prescribed to Israel involved at least these four elements:
Observing the Sabbath Day – resting on the seventh day of the week, after six days of labor. (See Exodus 20:8-11)
Observing the Feasts of Israel
- The Feast of Passover, commemorating the exodus from Egypt. (See Leviticus 23:5-8)
- The Feast of Weeks (or Harvest, Firstfruits, Pentecost), held fifty days after Passover and in celebration of the end of the grain harvest. (See Leviticus 23:15-20)
- The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles), memorializing the completion of the agricultural year. (See Leviticus 23:39-43)
Observing the Day of Atonement – once each year, the high priest would offer a sacrifice for the sins of Israel. (See Leviticus 16:1ff)
Observing regular daily and monthly sacrifices. (See Leviticus 17:11)
In the New Testament, we find that the intent of these Old Testament rituals were in the type and shadow of the coming Messiah, namely, The Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our Sabbath Rest, our Passover Lamb, His Spirit poured out on Pentecost, and He is our returning King and Lord on the last day!
This authentic worship of God goes beyond mere ritualistic practices and external displays. In the New Covenant, it involves a sincere and genuine connection of the heart, soul, mind and strength.
Worshiping in Spirit
The phrase “worship in spirit” emphasizes this internal aspect of worship. It engages a person at the place of their own spirit in communion with His Holy Spirit. True worship cannot take place apart from this engagement.
Worshiping in Truth
The notion of “worship in truth” involves an internal engagement with the truth of God’s character and His Word. It calls believers to worship God according to His revealed nature, understanding His attributes, and embracing His teachings.
To the Samaritan woman, Jesus speaks of a future time when true worshipers would emerge. But He also revealed that that time had now come! Because He had now come!
The worship of God the Father transcends geographical boundaries, cultural differences, and religious rituals.
Worship in spirit and truth is first practiced individually and then corporately. Collective worship in a community of faith has a direct connection to our personal worship, allowing for intimate communion with God and a deepening of one’s faith.
Worship is a daily lifestyle, not just a weekly event.
Worship is a daily lifestyle – one 24-hour day at a time. This lifestyle of engaging worship, in spirit and in truth, is a transformative shift from external ritual to internal communion with the God of the universe.
Worship in spirit and truth, as emphasized in John 4:23-24, invites us to approach God with His Holy Spirit engaging us within our spirit, and with His Word transforming us into His likeness.
By living a lifestyle of worship in spirit and truth, one 24-hour day at a time, may we experience a deeper relationship with God, finding solace, guidance, and spiritual fulfillment along our journey.