What Does It Mean To Worship The Lord In Spirit And In Truth?
What does it mean to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth?
The phrase “in the Spirit and in truth” is taken from John 4:24. It is part of the larger story of Jesus’ famous talk with the woman at the well, and our understanding of it needs to be situated in that context.
In that story, a woman met with Jesus at a well and asked him to weigh in on a long-standing debate between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Samaritan people were accustomed to worshipping on Mt. Gerizim, but the Jews were accustomed to worshipping on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. So her question was simply, “Which is the true place of worship?”
Jesus informs her that the correct tradition is held by the Jews: You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we [Jews] worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22). But then he goes on to suggest that a new place of worship is about to be established beyond that used by either Samaritans or Jews: Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem (John 4:21). This new place of worship will not only be at a true place of worship (unlike the spurious temple at Mt. Gerizim), but it will also be at a purely spiritual place of worship (unlike the physical temple on Mt. Zion): A time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks (John 4:23). Jesus is saying that the future people of God will worship neither like the Jews nor the Samaritans, but will have a true and spiritual place of worship in their own hearts when they put their faith in Him. In many ways then, this statement is similar to that found in Luke, where Jesus says: The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).
Pastor Chad LewisAugust 5, 2015