World Wide Wolfmueller

Law and Gospel in Joyful Clarity

Worship is Being Served By Jesus

What is worship? This is one of those questions wanting a clear answer from the Lord’s Church. Unfortunately answers are muddled.

“Worship is my praise and thanks to God for who He is and what He’s done.” “Worship is the yearning of the heart to be close to God.” “Worship is our service of singing and praying to God.” The commonality in all of these answers is this: we are the ones acting, praying, singing, praising; we are the givers and God is the getter.

When we consider the Scriptures, a different picture emerges. Jesus delights in serving us. Really. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Did you get that? “Not to be served, but to serve.” That’s what Jesus came to do, to serve. Remember how it was, on the night when He was betrayed, that our Lord wrapped a towel around Himself, took water and washed His disciples feet. That is shocking, that the Lord would take upon Himself such a role of humility. Peter is offended that the Lord would do such a thing. Peter and the disciples should be serving Jesus, not the other way around, but this is not how it is with Jesus. He came to serve us, to save us, to rescue us.

You got served

He serves us in His suffering and death on the cross, in the shedding of His blood. That’s when our Lord Jesus wins for us the forgiveness of all our sins, but the Lord does not stop serving us there.

After the Lord Jesus gave His last will and testament, the Lord’s Supper, He asks His disciples a question, “For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves?” We know the answer, the customer is always right. The servant is there to serve, to give you what you need. Jesus says as much, “Is it not the one who reclines at table?” And then the shock and wonder: “But I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:27) Got it? And more, Jesus is still among us as the one who serves.

Worship is being served by Jesus, served the forgiveness of sins that was won for us on the cross.

The Lutheran Confessions shake it out like this:

Thus the worship and divine service of the Gospel is to receive from God gifts; on the contrary, the worship of the Law is to offer and present our gifts to God. We can, however, offer nothing to God unless we have first been reconciled and born again. This passage, too, brings the greatest consolation, as the chief worship of the Gospel is to wish to receive remission of sins, grace, and righteousness. (Apology of the Augsburg Confession III.189, Triglotta)

Our Lord Jesus delights in giving, giving Himself and His life for us and our salvation. When we gather to hear His Word and eat and drink His body and blood, that is exactly what He is doing, forgiving our sins, giving us gifts, serving us eternal life.

There is great joy in having the clear answer from Scriptures. “What is worship?” Worship is being served by Jesus.

The Lord’s Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Wolfmueller

18 Comments

  1. I really get tired of the “all about me worship.” May I use this in our church newsletter?

    • That’s funny — in most churches, this article would sound like “all about me,” and they’d instead urge that we give instead of focusing on what we get.

      • Marcy, Right! The same thing is true the way most preachers talk about prayer. “Prayer is not just asking God for things. You’re giving God yourself and your praise and adoration. etc.” What? Prayer is exactly asking God for the things we need because we need things, and God doesn’t. And, most importantly, God wants to give us things. Jesus delights in giving.

  2. I really get tired of the “all about me worship.” May I use this in our church newsletter?

    • That’s funny — in most churches, this article would sound like “all about me,” and they’d instead urge that we give instead of focusing on what we get.

      • Marcy, Right! The same thing is true the way most preachers talk about prayer. “Prayer is not just asking God for things. You’re giving God yourself and your praise and adoration. etc.” What? Prayer is exactly asking God for the things we need because we need things, and God doesn’t. And, most importantly, God wants to give us things. Jesus delights in giving.

  3. Amen and Amen. This is a very nice (short, sweet, and to the point) article! 🙂 Just got told that this is an interesting take on worship (from the non-Lutheran in the house). I love it when pastors feed us scripture! 🙂 🙂

    Thanks! 🙂

  4. Amen and Amen. This is a very nice (short, sweet, and to the point) article! 🙂 Just got told that this is an interesting take on worship (from the non-Lutheran in the house). I love it when pastors feed us scripture! 🙂 🙂

    Thanks! 🙂

  5. Despite the facts that we are “friends” (and please bear in mind you asked for it) I have to disagree with you, even the LSB Offertory (159) speaks of offering to the Lord, so to argue that worship is strictly receptive is factually in error.

    Your loving friend-

    Ken

    • Ken,
      Are you talking about the end of Psalm 116, the “what shall I render to the LORD”?
      What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?
      I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
      I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
      I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
      I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
      in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Psalm 116:12-14, 17-19

      I think a careful reading of the Psalm is teaching the same thing as the blog. What are we going to offer the Lord? Nothing. I’ll take the salvation He offers. I’ll be thankful. I’ll pray. I’ll go to church for more of His gifts, for more of His love.

      (I don’t know what the vow is about, you can help me there.)

      What do you think?
      Thanks,
      Bryan

  6. Despite the facts that we are “friends” (and please bear in mind you asked for it) I have to disagree with you, even the LSB Offertory (159) speaks of offering to the Lord, so to argue that worship is strictly receptive is factually in error.

    Your loving friend-

    Ken

    • Ken,
      Are you talking about the end of Psalm 116, the “what shall I render to the LORD”?
      What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?
      I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
      I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
      I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
      I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
      in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Psalm 116:12-14, 17-19

      I think a careful reading of the Psalm is teaching the same thing as the blog. What are we going to offer the Lord? Nothing. I’ll take the salvation He offers. I’ll be thankful. I’ll pray. I’ll go to church for more of His gifts, for more of His love.

      (I don’t know what the vow is about, you can help me there.)

      What do you think?
      Thanks,
      Bryan

  7. Amen! In my recent study of Evangelicals, I’ve found this to be the most missed point. But you may want to check your sponsors…

  8. Amen! In my recent study of Evangelicals, I’ve found this to be the most missed point. But you may want to check your sponsors…

  9. “You got served”

    Your picture subtitles are the best part of your blog.

  10. “You got served”

    Your picture subtitles are the best part of your blog.

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