Devotional Word for Friday, April 24, 2020
Yesterday we saw how Jesus is truly man and truly God. The theological term for that is Hypostatic Union. Two natures in one person. Each nature is complete. Each nature is distinct. And each nature remains distinct, they are not mixed together or confused. That describes Jesus from the moment of conception, through all His life on earth, and continues to describe Him in heaven. That’s a fairly difficult reality to grasp. As an attempt to picture that reality, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper here at Leidy’s Church and we have a loaf of bread on the communion table, it is a loaf of marble bread. That’s pumpernickel and rye in one loaf. But they don’t mix. You can see the strand of each throughout the loaf. That’s how the humanity and divinity of Jesus is. We can’t fathom Him completely. But we can worship Him. Why is this important? Because only God is worthy of worship. If we worship anyone or anything else, it is idolatry, a gross sin before God.
Do you remember the man born blind? Jesus healed him. When the man awakened that morning he had no clue that Jesus would put clay on his eyes that day, have him go to the Pool of Siloam and wash it off. After which his sight was given to him – not restored, but given to him since he had been born blind! The great hymn Amazing Grace is John Newton’s reflection on that event. Do you remember the last thing we’re told about this man in Scripture? He was put out of the synagogue because he said Jesus was the One who healed him. Later that day, Jesus meets him: Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the One who is talking with you.” And the man said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. [John 9:35-38]
Do you understand what happened? The man worshiped Jesus! He gave to Jesus what one may rightly give only to God. And Jesus received it. He did not rebuke the man in the least. The Bible is teaching us about Jesus. We need to hear.
Do you remember that Thomas was not present on the Easter evening when the resurrected Jesus stood in the midst of the disciples? When they told him about it, he said he wouldn’t believe unless he saw with his own eyes and touched with his own hands the places where the nails and sword had pierced Jesus’ body. Eight days later Jesus came to them again and Jesus showed them His wounds and invited Thomas to touch them. Do you remember Thomas’ response? Thomas answered and said to Jesus, “My Lord and My God!” [John 20:38] That’s blasphemy unless it is true, unless Jesus really is divine, really is God. What Thomas did, was worship Jesus. He confessed Him as God.
What does it mean to worship? It certainly means music and songs. Amazing Grace was written as act of worship, and we sing it as an act of worship. Worship also certainly means confessing who is our God and what we believe about Him. That’s what Thomas did in very brief form, but we do when we confess/recite to God the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.
But there’s more to worship than what we do on Sundays in church. Let me explain what I mean. There’s a fascinating aspect of the marriage service as it’s written in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. It will help us understand more fully what worship means. When the groom puts the ring on his bride’s finger, he is to say, With this Ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. “With my body I thee worship?” What does that mean? It means faithful in all avenues of life, certainly sexually, but also that everything my body does, every place it goes, I will seek to honor you. That’s what the man born blind committed to do when he worshiped Jesus. That’s what Thomas was saying he would do when he confessed Jesus and his Lord and his God.
Who is Jesus, this one of the Hypostatic Union? He is the One saying Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. He is the One promising the woman at the well that He will give her living water that will become a well of water flowing from her innermost being. What happens when we drink from that Living Water? Here’s what Isaiah 55 describes: the wicked forsakes his way, the unrighteous man his thoughts, he returns to the Lord. [Isaiah 55:6] There is a complete turning of direction. What results from that new orientation is described this way: For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. [Isaiah 55:12] In other words, we see life in a completely different manner. We see the handiwork of God as all creation proclaims His glory. We have joy and we have peace. This is not a health and wealth gospel song. This is a “Jesus is Lord” reality song. Such is true even when our circumstances are difficult and threatening. Thomas died a happy man crucified for Christ. John Newton died a joyful man even though he had gone blind!
Isaiah 55 concludes in this fashion: Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off. [Isaiah 55:13] We are kept by the mighty hand of God. We rest secure in Him regardless of our circumstances. If you have come to the water, have purchased food and drink without cost, then God has made an everlasting covenant with you. [Isaiah 55:3] This is what Jesus, true man and true God, has done for us. Let us worship Him with our entire life.
Let us pray: O God, we are overwhelmed at Your great goodness to us. You have brought us out of the deep pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and have set our feet upon the Rock of the Lord Jesus Christ. We worship You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We love You and thank You for spreading Your love abroad in our hearts. In all we do, may we seek to honor You. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.