How does worship bring you closer to Jesus and to God?
A picture in Sunday School classrooms across the country shows Jesus standing at a door, knocking. The caption says, “Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them” (Revelation 3:20). An invitation is being extended to all of us, asking us to open the door and let Jesus in. But then what?
According to Revelation, when we come into the presence of Jesus and God, our most natural response is to worship. John has a vision in which the throne of God is at the center of two concentric circles of awe-filled worshipers, revealing that reverent worship is constantly being offered in God's heavenly kingdom.
In the inner circle are four winged creatures who resemble a lion, an ox, a human being and an eagle (Revelation 4:7). They represent the most powerful creatures in four spheres of the world, and eventually became associated with the Gospel-writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In the outer circle are the twenty-four elders representing the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve disciples of Jesus — people from the Old Testament and the New Testament worshiping God together.
God and Jesus are eternally waiting for our worship, which is why it is so important for us to gather for Sunday services. At the center of our worship is the reading and proclamation of the Word of God, which is why creatures aligned with the Gospels and people representing the Old and New Testaments are eternally gathered around the throne of God in heaven. We move closer to our Lord when we hear and respond to the Word.
But worship is more than Bible study. The winged creatures unceasingly sing “holy, holy, holy” to praise “the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is coming” (verse 8). In sync with them, the twenty-four elders fall down before the throne, worship the eternal God, and throw down their crowns to pay homage to God, saying in unison that God is worthy “to receive glory and honor and power” because God created all things (verses 10-11). Singing is a central part of worship, as is praising God for all that God has done.
This vision teaches us that God and Jesus are eternally waiting for our worship. They delight in our songs of praise, and in our attention to the Word of God as it comes from both the Old and New Testaments. When we come together for worship, we rediscover that God “created all things,” and that it is by God’s will “that they existed and were created” (verse 11). Our spirits are renewed every time we open the door and enter into the presence of our Lord.
God, let me come into your presence, hear your Word, and respond with songs of praise. Amen.