The Fourth Title – Christ/Messiah
Home Church Devotional 7/19/2020
These devotionals were written during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic when area churches were not allowed to meet for fear of spreading the coronavirus. They were used in place of a full sermon as my family and I gathered for worship and communion.
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. “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. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. “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. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” John 4:19-26 (NASB)
As we sit around our family table tonight for worship, I cannot help but think of how appropriate this passage is for the time in which we currently live. As the calendar paged turned, many people on social media posted “20/20, the year of perfect vision” or 20/20, my year to see clearly.” Watching how events in our nation have been unfolding, I wonder how many people truly believe they have perfect vision, or if they are seeing things clearly. Our country is divided and out of control. Hatred, bitterness, racism in all forms and a general lack of respect for people, property and life itself exists. We are truly a nation that has lost its way. We truly need someone to step up and straighten out the mess we have made!
As Jesus begins His earthly ministry, Israel too, is a nation that has lost its way. As the chosen people of God, Israel is to be a light in the darkness, a people set apart for a holy purpose. Israel has been chosen to show the nations of the world a different way of life. Under Roman occupation, expectations of the coming Christ or Messiah are at an all time high. Messiah will come and free Israel from foreign occupation and return the nation to its former glory, at least, that is the belief among the people of Israel. The coming Messiah will set free the nation of Israel and its people to once again flourish as the chosen people of God. Israel needs the power of the Messiah to straighten out the mess they have made!
Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, it is the equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah, meaning to anoint or smear. Its common usage was applied to prophets, kings and priests, particularly the high priest, whose installation into office included a ritual anointing. As the official title for our Lord Jesus, it occurs five hundred and fourteen times in the New Testament, thus Jesus is “the Anointed One” of the New Testament; Old Testament usage includes “the Lord’s Anointed,” “My Anointed,” “His Anointed” and “Your Anointed.” As the Great Messiah, Jesus is anointed above all others, He been anointed or consecrated for His great redemptive work as Prophet, Priest and King. He is Jesus the Christ.
The future hopes of Old Testament Jews were invested in a king from the line of David, the Lord’s anointed. In this vision, the king would deliver Israel from the hands of foreign oppressors, at the time the Roman Empire, and establish an ideal kingdom in which justice ruled. The power of this messiah was political and would forever establish Israel as the political power in the Ancient Near East, or so the religious elite of the time assumed. No one was ready for the carpenter of Nazareth to step forward and begin to exhibit the signs of the coming messiah. Certainly, the religious elite would not settle for some common, uneducated carpenter teaching them about the coming kingdom of God. Early Christians and rabbinic traditions refer to the Messiah (King) as a royal official who plays a critical role in the last days. This messianic coming refers to a promised future, just not the future many expected.
In today’s passage, Jesus has been having a conversation with a Samaritan woman near Jacobs well. As the conversation turns to her personal life, the woman makes a sudden and unexpected turn in the conversation. Quickly she changes the subject from her personal life to worship on the mountain where the well is located. Why this sudden change? Is she simply deflecting from her sin riddled past? Or is there something deeper happening here? The Samaritans hold that worship of God must take place on this mountain near Jacob’s well, while the Jews claim worship can only happen in Jerusalem. Jesus meets the challenge head-on!
True worship, Jesus says, is not found in the place but the way in which a person is worshiping God. A true worshiper will worship God in spirit and truth and, in fact, these are the kind of worshipers God seeks. It is not the location God is worried about, either Jewish worship or Samaritan worship, it is how He is being worshiped that matters to the Father. We now get a glimpse of the woman’s faith as she reveals her belief that the Messiah will come one day and reveal all things and remove all confusion. In a startling admission, Jesus reveals to this woman something that He has not revealed in His own country, He, Jesus, is the Messiah she is seeking!
How did we get here? Jesus simply wanted a drink of water and now here we are talking about worship! Is this woman a master of deception or have we missed something? Throughout this conversation, beginning with His request for water and leading to the discussion on worship, Jesus has been slowly drawing this Samaritan woman into a deeper conversation. Slowly He has been revealing Himself to her and somewhere along the line this woman began to see something unique and special about Jesus. There is something different about this man, something more than just talking to a woman or a Samaritan, He has gently but persistently drawn her in and now He has revealed His true identity. Our Lord Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.
Jesus has confronted this woman with her sins, and she is deeply moved and convicted of those sins. Now she feels the need to worship God and make sacrifices for her sin – but WHERE to worship? She knows Jesus is some kind of prophet, a man connected with God, therefore, she looks to Him for help. Before her is the One who brought piercing conviction for her sins and now, she is confused as to where she should worship and sacrifice to God. This confusion is caused by the dispute between the Jews and the Samaritan about where to worship, not how to worship. Is this not a picture of the church today? Do we not confuse people about where they are to worship? Do we not put limits on the places we consider acceptable for worship?
Like this woman, when we feel conviction, we must worship God; when we are stirred deeply in our soul, when we are convicted of sin, we need to turn to God immediately! And it is not where we worship that matters, it is how we worship that matters. True worship is worship that is done in spirit and truth. To worship in spirit means we worship God through the spiritual drive and ability of our soul, seeking the most intimate communion and fellowship with God; this means we worship by resting in God’s acceptance, love and care for us. We worship in truth when we worship in the right way, through His Son, Jesus the Christ. It means to worship with sincerity and truthfully, not coming in half-heartedly, or with a wandering mind or sleepy eyes. We come with a heart that is fully devoted to God. Most importantly, we worship God for who He truly is and what He has truly done. We must leave our concepts and perceptions at the door when we enter into worship!!
Our Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. He is the One who brings conviction for sin but also provides the means for cleansing. He is the One who has been anointed for His work as Prophet, Priest and King for His work among fallen humanity. He is the One, the only One, who is worthy of our worship. Worship that must be done in the right WAY, not in the right PLACE. So, where do you see yourself in this conversation? Are you still amazed that Jesus sees and knows all about who you are and what you have done? Do you sense something unique in the One called the Christ? Are you feeling stirred and convicted? Worship is the answer, worship in spirit and truth. Jesus is the way to access the father through worship. So, come with a heart fully devoted to the Father, leaving your concepts and perceptions art the door. For God seeks those who worship in spirit and truth. To the glory of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.