Summary: Worship is inspired, inevitable and an invitation.
WITNESS OF WORSHIP
A few years ago, the world watched as three gray whales became trapped by the ice off Point Barrow, Alaska. They were battered and bloody, gasping for breath at a hole in the ice. Their only hope was to be transported five miles past the ice pack to open sea. Rescuers began cutting a string of breathing holes about twenty yards apart in the six-inch-thick ice. For eight days they coaxed the whales from one hole to the next, mile after mile. Along the way, one of the trio vanished and was presumed dead. But finally, with the help of Russian icebreakers, the whales Putu and Siku swam to freedom. In a way, worship is a string of breathing holes the Lord provides his people. Battered and bruised in a world frozen over with greed, selfishness, and hatred, we rise for air in church, a place to breathe again, to be loved and encouraged, until that day when the Lord forever shatters the ice cap.
Unfortunately this is not always the case. Often people do not look forward to Sunday mornings. In fact, some people dread them. They are seen as things to be endured instead of life giving moments. The problem is focus. What was your focus as you came for worship today?
John 12:9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him. 12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, " Hosanna !" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15 "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt." 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. 17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!" 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus."
1. Worship is Inspired – flowing from a changed life
This passage has often been referred to as the Triumphal Entry. It is at this time that Jesus is at the height of His public ministry. He is recognized as being the Messiah. In Matthew it says "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" In Mark it says: “Hosanna - Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David”. In Luke it says "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" The word Hosanna means “Save us now!” and was an expression of praise. The crowds recognized who Jesus was. In Luke 19:37 it says they did this based on “all the miracles they had seen”. Here it says that the crowd who had seen Lazarus raised from death spread the word and this is why people went out to meet him.
The crowd worshipped Jesus out on the basis of what they had seen and heard. Lazarus was living proof of His power and authority. Their actions were an expression of joy from a life that had been changed. How about you? What did your worship today flow from?
It is an awesome thing to look out at the church in worship and to see so many who have been brought back from death to life. In worship our focus is on God and what He has done.
Unfortunately our focus in worship is often on ourselves and what we want to receive rather than give. Contrast this group to the crowd that followed Jesus after the feeding of the 5000. Jesus said to them “you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” – John 6:26 They weren’t there for what they could give but what they could get from Him. Often our worship is us directed instead of being God directed.