You might be interested to know that worship really comes as naturally to our spirits as breathing comes to our bodies. You were made to worship—to ascribe worth to something. In fact, you are probably worshipping something or someone right now.
The challenge comes in focusing our worship on the only object deserving of it—God.
Most of us have places where we find it easy to worship God:
In a beautiful setting surrounded by God’s creation;
In the stillness of meditation and quiet times alone;
In a group, praising God with music and passion;
–places where we are best able to say – “God, You’re bigger and greater than anything else in my life!”
Think of such a place for you and tuck it away for a moment while we look at Matthew 28:16-20 . . . a passage that takes us to perhaps the greatest worship moment in history.
- Jesus has risen from the grave.
- The covenant promise of God to redeem mankind has been satisfied.
- Death is conquered; sin defeated.
- Jesus has invited His dearest friends to a great meeting on a mountain top in Galilee.
What could be more inspiring than that?
16 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. 17 The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. 18 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: 19 Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20 Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (The Message paraphrase)
Did you notice the phrase tucked in the middle there? “Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.” What a truly honest thing to say about the greatest worship service ever.
And yet . . . what’s wrong with these followers of Jesus?!! Here’s Jesus right in front of them in His glorified body, not as a mysterious figure, but as their companion and friend. They’ve joined Him on a mountain top, in a place where Jesus has, in the past, performed miracles and spoken great words of truth. How could they NOT worship in that moment?
Still, the passage states they were “not sure . . . about risking themselves.” What could these disciples have been afraid of risking?
Their lives? Maybe, but they’ve lived under Roman occupation and were accustomed to life being a risk every day.
Their reputations? After travelling with Jesus for three years, they’ve long since given up their reputations.
No. I think what they were afraid to risk was another disappointment. They were afraid that what they’ve expected from Jesus all along will not turn the way they planned . . . again. And they’re right. Jesus is never who we expect Him to be, is He?
When I read through this passage a few weeks ago, I’ll admit, I identified with the ones who held back. All too often I’m not sure about worship, about risking myself totally.
- Even though my living Savior has given His Spirit to dwell inside me—
- Even though I have the assurance that I’m God’s child—
- Even though God’s Word is written out in detail for me to read every day—
I hold back –reserving part of my heart–because I don’t want to risk being disappointed.
But notice how Jesus responds. Undeterred, He commands & commissions everyone, the worshipful and doubtful alike, to go out and train and instruct everyone they meet. Finally, He leaves them with this great hope:
“I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
When I take Jesus at His Word, I worship . . . realizing that He’s bigger and greater than anything else in my life . . . . And my spirit breathes with eternal life.