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Friday, September 28, 2018

2018.09.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 4:16-26

Questions for Littles: Whom does Jesus tell the woman to bring (v16)? Why isn’t she able to do so (v17)? How many husbands has she had (v18)? Is the man she is living with now even her husband? What does the woman say to change the subject (v19)? To what subject does she change (v20)? What question does she ask? Which option does Jesus choose, from her options for a worship place (v21)? But whom does Jesus say had it right (v22)? Now what is the place of worshiping the Father (v23)? How can we get there (v24)? Whom does the woman say she is waiting for, to straighten her out on this issue (v25)? What does Jesus say about Himself in v26? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus provokes the woman at the well into changing the subject, directing her onto a glorious path that takes her through one of the most important statements in the Bible about how we worship to one of the most important statements in the Bible about Whom we worship.

She doesn’t really intend the “how” we worship question so much as the “where” we worship question. But that’s really the issue every Lord’s Day, isn’t it? Where you worship (which church) is going to determine how you worship.

Well, the problem for the woman is that she wants to go where God is, but Jesus rather easily dismisses that possibility. God is Spirit. He doesn’t live on a mountain or in a big house in Jerusalem. Yes, as the Jews rightly understood, God chose to make that house the place where He made His presence known and felt for a long time, but that time’s just come to an end, which means that’s not the answer anymore.

If that time has ended, what time has come? And more importantly for us, what is the answer to the where question now? That brings us to the how question: in Spirit and in truth. If God is Spirit, our feet (or cars or spaceships) can’t get us to Him. Only His Spirit can get our spirits there.

And, He has appointed a particular vehicle for this weekly journey to glory: the truth. His Word is truth. Yes, it can also mean sincerely, but it is even more important that we worship by that which is sincerely God’s than that we do so by intentions and actions that are sincerely ours. The former is 100% possible and effective; the latter would be impossible and ineffective and a terrible means by which to hope to worship well.

The woman doesn’t seem to get it, so she gives kind of a verbal shrug: when the Christ comes, He’ll explain it all. And that’s when Jesus drops the biggest truth yet: not only is He the Christ, but He declares it using a phrase once heard on that very mountain that is so dear to her: I AM. Jesus isn’t just Christ. He’s God in the flesh.
How must we worship? Whom must we worship? Who can teach us what this means?
Suggested songs: ARP184 “Adoration and Submission” or TPH271 “Blessed Jesus, at Your Word”

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