Christ’s sacrificial death culminates with a focus on worship in today’s passage. In response to the Lamb’s sacrifice, the elders fall down and worship. This act helps us understand the true character of Christian worship. The Greek word for worship, here proskuneo, already indicates reverent prostration. With the addition of the verb pipto (to fall down), the two-verb structure links this verse to a common Old Testament phrase that utilizes the same combination of verbs in describing acts of prostrated worship to God (see 2 Chronicles 7:3; Job 1:20) and powerful human beings (see 2 Samuel 1:2). Revelation makes clear, however, that worship is reserved for God alone. (See especially 19:10.)

Too often in the church we focus on the style rather than the disposition of worship. We engage in “worship wars,” where we argue about the degree to which our liturgies are meant to be flexible or rigid. In many churches the meaning of worship narrows to the point that it becomes a mere synonym for “musical praise.”

Yet our current ecclesial simplifications and distractions about worship miss the disposition of worship that precedes and directs all subsequent acts of worship. The reverent worship of the worthy Lamb is meant to be the humble, submissive, spiritual, and physical posture of human beings who have come into the presence of the holy God crucified and raised for the salvation of the world. We can express our humility through prostration, bowing, and falling down. When is the last time that you fell to your knees in the worship of God? Or laid prostrate in reverent prayer to Christ?

Triune God, let our disposition be one of holy humility before you as we bow our souls and our bodies to you in complete submission and awe through spiritually transformative worship. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 21:1-19

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Lectionary Week
April 29—May 5, 2019
Scripture Overview

Saul is one of the primary obstacles to the early spread of Christianity. The death and resurrection of Jesus does not fit his paradigm for the Messiah, so it cannot be true. It takes a miraculous intervention by Christ himself to change his mind. Psalm 30 reminds us that the light will always chase the darkness. We experience true suffering and true loss, but God can turn our mourning into dancing in God’s own timing. In Revelation, John takes us to the throne room of God, where angels and creatures proclaim the glory of the Lamb of God who has defeated death and reigns forever. Returning to the Gospel of John, we read more about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, which here include a seaside breakfast and a quiz for Peter.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 9:1-20. Jesus’ resurrection calls us to an embodied faith. How do you bear the gospel?
Read Psalm 30. Recall a specific time when you depended on God.
Read Revelation 5:11-14. Have you ever worshiped the Lamb with your whole body? What keeps you from falling down to worship God?
Read John 21:1-19. The author reminds us that Jesus calls us to be shepherds and sheep. Which role do you most often fill? How can you take on a new leadership role or allow others to lead you?

Respond by posting a prayer.