Longing to Worship Jesus
August 1, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
At Oak Hills we say our mission is “longing to know and make known the astonishing grace of God.” Every year I seek to take time to step back and take stock of how we are doing as a church, in light of our mission. We have many reasons to give glory to God for his work among us to fulfill this mission. We also have room to grow, as we always will this side of heaven. This summer, I want to encourage our growth in “longing” by looking at pictures of longing from Scripture, praying that we would be challenged and inspired. This is part eight of a multi-part series.
Longing is a form of worship.
Worship is the extoling of another as worthy of our adoration, attention, and dependence. When we “long to know the astonishing grace of God,” we extol God and his grace as worthy of our adoration, attention, and dependence. When we long to know God’s grace, we worship God.
One of the most beautiful pictures of this in Scripture is the unnamed woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears in Luke 7. With her actions, she extols Jesus as worthy of her adoration, attention, and dependence. In fact, the greater the sacrifice involved in the adoration, attention, and dependence, the greater the worship and delight. Let’s look closely at what Luke records.
In Luke 7:36 we learn that a Pharisee has invited Jesus to dine with him. Verses 37-38 immediately introduce the woman: “And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” Notice some details:
1. The Woman Makes an Intentional Decision to Seek out Jesus. She does not stumble upon this dining party. She learns of it, prepares for it, and seeks it out. Likewise, worship is not random. Worship transpires when someone or something captures the wonder of our hearts and minds; then this wonder drives us to pursue that object with our adoration, attention, and dependence.
2. The Woman Makes a Sacrifice to Worship Jesus. Any alabaster of ointment would be expensive. It was meant to be used in small increments, not all at once. She “anoints” Jesus’ feet with the ointment, meaning she poured out a large portion. She not only sacrifices a great financial investment in her worship of Jesus, but the woman also submits herself public scrutiny and possible condemnation. This is an outrageous act. And she was known as a “sinner,” code for her trade as a prostitute. She risks the wrath of the Pharisees by showing up to one of their homes.
3. The Woman was Driven to Worship Jesus Because of What He Does. This cannot be the woman’s first encounter with Jesus. Jesus says that she has “loved much” because “her sins, which are many, are forgiven” (v. 47). The woman had tasted and seen that Jesus was better than anything else, better than what her sinful lifestyle offered. She came to believe that nothing, no one, else could meet her needs like Jesus could. Therefore, she extols him as worthy of her adoration, attention, and dependence.
Our longing to know God’s grace feeds our worship of God and Jesus. The more we long to know his grace, the more we will seek Jesus to worship him sacrificially for all that he has done for us.