“Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:21-24. 

In John 4:21-24, Jesus says that worship is no longer about a place (i.e. the temple) but rather about “spirit and truth.” Because of Jesus, we no longer need a high priest to enter the temple and sacrifice animals on an altar once a year on our behalf. Jesus has become the great high priest and His sacrifice was once for all. When we are saved by faith, we are no longer dead to sin, but instead Christ now lives inside of us.  Galatians 2:20 says it this way: “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Jesus tells the Samaritan woman in John 4:23 that a significant transition is about to take place: “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” (4:23),  There are people who mistakenly believe that if they go through the rituals of worship, then they will be good in the eyes of God. But they haven’t dealt with God on the heart level. Jesus is telling the Samaritan woman that externals don’t matter as much as what’s in the heart.

God created the world for His glory so God now is seeking worshippers who will bring Him glory, not just for an hour on Sunday, but every day through all their activities. We can’t properly worship God on Sundays if we’re not worshipping Him throughout the week. I believe that worship in spirit is, in part, emotional or felt. This is not to say that we should go crazy and jump up and down and yell at the top of our lungs in church. Genuine emotions for God result from focusing our minds on the truth of who He is and what He has done for us at the cross. But if your worship never touches your emotions, something is wrong. It’s like my love for my wife.  My relationship with my wife is not built on my feelings, but rather on my commitment to her. But when I think about all that she means to me, I feel love for her and I try to express that love in a way that shows her that I love her.

As we gather each week to worship God we are reminding one another of the great love of God and our desperate need for Him. My prayer is that we will let that truth sink into our hearts and respond in spirit, with our whole being, devoting ourselves to Him and to each other. Pray that we would continue to understand what it means to worship God during the Christmas season.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think when you worship God in spirit and in truth?
  2. What are some worldly influences that choke out worship in your life? How should you deal with them?
  3. Complete this sentence: If truly worshipping God is my priority, my daily schedule must change by doing….