Study 11 Objective: What is worship, and how is it expressed in the life of the believer?
Jesus Christ received worship at key events in His life. One was in celebration of His birth (Matthew 2:11) when the angels and shepherds rejoiced (Luke 2:13-14, 20), and another was at His resurrection (Matthew
28:9, 17; Luke 24:52). Also throughout His ministry people worshipped Him in response to His interaction with them (Matthew 8:2, 9:18, 14:33; Mark 5:6, etc). Revelation 5:12 proclaims “Worthy is the Lamb who was
slain”, referring to Christ.
How does Jesus function as a mediator in your life?
Does the New Testament worship of Christ suggest a pattern for modern worship events?
Collective worship in the Old Testament “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and declare your mighty acts…they shall utter the memory of your goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness” (Psalm 145:4-7). The custom of collective praise and worship is firmly rooted in the biblical tradition.
Although there are instances of individual sacrifices and homage, and also of pagan cultic activity, there is no clear pattern of collective worship of the true God before the establishment of Israel as a nation. Moses’ request of Pharaoh that the Israelites may be permitted to hold a feast to God is among the first indications of a call to collective worship (Exodus 5:1).
On their way to the Promised Land Moses prescribed certain festival days that the Israelites were to observe physically. These are noted in Exodus 23, Leviticus 23 and elsewhere, and in meaning looked back in commemoration of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and of their wilderness experience.
For example, the Festival of Tabernacles was instituted so that the generations of Israelites would know that God “made the children of Israel dwell in booths” when He brought them out of the land of Egypt
That the observance of these holy convocations (gatherings) did not represent to the Israelites a closed annual worship calendar is clear by the scriptural facts that, later in Israelite history, two additional yearly celebrations of national deliverance were added. One was Purim, a time of “joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday” (Esther 8:17; also John 5:1 refers possibly to Purim).
The other was the winter Feast of Dedication. It lasted eight days beginning on the 25th Chislev (December) on the Hebrew calendar, and celebrated through displays of light the cleansing of the temple and victory over Antiochus Epiphanes by Judas Maccabaeus in 164 BC. Jesus Himself, “the light of the world”, was present at the temple on that day (John 1:9; 9:5; 10:22-23).
Also, various fasting days were proclaimed in appointed months (Zechariah 8:19), and New Moons were observed (Ezra 3:5, etc).
There were daily and weekly public ordinances, rituals and sacrifices. The weekly Sabbath was a commanded “holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:3), the sign of the Old Covenant (Exodus 31:12-18) between God and the Israelites, and also a gift from God for their rest and benefit (16:29-30). Along with the Levitical holy days the Sabbath was regarded as part of the Old Covenant (Exodus 34:10-28).
The temple was another significant factor in the development of Old Testament worship patterns. Jerusalem with its temple became the central place to which believers would travel to observe the various festivals. “I went with them to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast” (Psalm 42:4; see also 1