Short Meditations in John 4: 21. New Worship (1)
Jn 4:21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
So you want to talk about worship, do you? I’ll ignore that it’s just a device to avoid the issue and I’ll use this as a further opportunity to convey truth. The place of worship will not be the issue. Yes, it has been in the past and it has been a visual expression of the division between Jew and Samaritan (just one of a number!), but I haven’t come to be a determinant of where people should worship because something bigger is coming – the possibility of meeting with and encountering God and being able to worship Him anywhere.
THAT is why Jesus was there, to declare the truth of why he had come – to take away divisions established by sinful men and replace those divisions with a unity that was born of the Spirit. The apostle Paul understood this when he spoke about the Gentiles as follows: “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Eph 2:13-18)
This was the work of the Cross to provide one way for both Jew and Gentile (and Samaritan) to be saved and become one new body of believers. When that happens there is no room for arguments about where the right place to worship is, for God will be worshipped all round the world and, as Jesus will go on to explain, it will be because worship will be Spirit inspired and not man orientated.
Although the subject or focus here is on worship, we can apply the general principles much more widely. The old sin nature loves division because division says, ‘I am right and you are wrong’ and it seeks to bolster a fragile being and make them something. But Christ comes to do away with divisions. Yes, we may see some things differently when it comes to practice but that should not be used as a wedge to bring division between us. I may not like how certain parts of the Church are administered but that should not drive a wedge between me and other individual believers. Whenever we find this defensive spirit arising within us, we need to remind ourselves who we are and reject the works of the enemy that would separate us.