The Pursuit of God in Corporate Worship

Session 1

Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:1–3)

The Holy God Seeks Worshippers

We’ve sung a lot about holiness. Let me give you a direction of what it means. Why don’t the angels say, “Holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of his holiness”? That’s what I would expect them to say. If you’re highlighting the threefold holiness of God, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory,” and here’s my attempt to understand why that is. The holiness of God is the intrinsic, infinite value that he has in himself above all things. He is infinitely valuable.

The root meaning, as you know, of holiness is separateness. But the implication is this is separate from all that is common or separate from all that is less valuable in its own sphere because it is infinitely, uniquely valuable. God is the most valuable reality in the universe. All other realities are as dust in the scales compared to the value of God in and of himself. That’s his holiness. When we ascribe holiness to God, we say, “Apart from all other beings, you are infinitely superior and infinitely valuable.”

Now when that value, as it were, goes public, when its radiance, its beauty streams out in revelation, we speak of glory. The glory of God. And I’m sure the two concepts in our language, and in Hebrew and in Greek, overlap. But it helps me to think in terms of his holiness as his intrinsic worth, and his glory as the out streaming, or the radiance or the beauty of his holiness. It’s very important that we know what we mean when we say. I hope that helps a little bit. Here’s some words that get us started in this seminar, and then I’ll pray again.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. (John 4:21–23)

This is a seminar on worship, and you need to know that God is seeking worshipers. He is on the lookout, and on the prowl, and on the pursuit for people who worship him. He’s not indifferent to whether human beings worship him. He’s jealous for his infinite worth, and he means for worth to be ascribed to him. And that’s what worship is.

The Meaning of the Title

There’s a booklet that goes along with this seminar. And they’re on a table out there, and you can get it later if you didn’t get one already. The reason the booklet is helpful is because most of what I do in this seminar is put transparencies on the overhead, and talk about them. And they’re all in here, so you wouldn’t have to write down the texts or jot notes elsewhere. You could do it all here. So if you want to get one of those later, you can.

The title on the front of the booklet and in the syllabus that you probably have is really anachronistic, because it says “Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning.” And we worship all Saturday night here as well. So, you can see how old the seminar is. We used to only do corporate worship at Bethlehem on Sunday morning, and now we have one Saturday night service. Then on October 11, we’re going to get one up here. And so we’re going to change the title, and the title will be “Gravity and Gladness,” colon, “The Pursuit of God in Worship.”

Before I do anything else, now this isn’t in the booklet because I prepared it this afternoon. I was thinking about this seminar all over again, and how much I love doing it and talking about these things, and it just occurred to me that almost every word in this title begs for some comment immediately.

So I’m going to take a few minutes, and talk about some of the words in the title of this seminar. The plan, by the way, is that we’re going to go for two hours tonight without a break. Tomorrow, we’ll go for three hours and we’ll break in the middle. At least, that’s the plan. If the Lord wills, we will do it. I’ll break here in a little while and take some questions. But for now, we’ll just move straight ahead.

Corporate Worship

First thing is to come in on corporate worship. This seminar is not primarily about private worship. It’s not primarily about family worship. It’s primarily about the church gathered for corporate worship. Should there even be such a thing? And what happens? And how do you do it? And what makes it real? Here’s the text concerning corporate worship that I have in mind.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
     so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
     for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
     day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
     ”Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:1–3)

Now, that sets him up for great discouragement and depression. They’re mocking him, where is your God? You’re real, you don’t have a God that’s real. Psalm 42:4, this is how he brings himself up out of his discouragement: “These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng” — that’s a lot of people — “and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.”

So David, the psalmist here, calls himself up out of depression by remembering corporate worship. I wonder if you have regular experiences with God’s people that so enliven you, so awaken you, so validate your walk with God because of the authentic intensity that rises in your soul. And you know that you know him in this moment, so that later when the devil is beating you up with all kinds of doubts you can say, once I was with the throng, and those were glorious moments, those were real moments. And call to mind God’s experience with you in corporate worship. That’s what the seminar is about — corporate worship.

The Pursuit of God

What about the word in the title pursuit, the pursuit of God in corporate worship? Should we think this way about worship? Is God not pursuing us? Does it put God in the wrong light to say that corporate worship involves our pursuit of him? We use the language around Bethlehem sometimes, going hard after God. Is that appropriate? Because you have a cluster of texts where God pursues us.

  • “You did not choose me, but I chose you,” Jesus says (John 15:16).
  • “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). God is coming, and coming after us. He’s on the pursuit. That’s what the gospel is. We’re not pursuing God until he pursues us.
  • “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23).

So three passages of Scripture say, “Watch out, Piper, this word pursuit might strike the wrong note.” Might. However, here’s another set of texts.

  • “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
  • “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11). Seek him.
  • “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Now, we have a cluster of texts that say God is after us, and we have a cluster of texts that say we are after God. And the absolutely crucial question when it comes to worship is, How do they relate to each other? How to think about God’s pursuit of you and your pursuit of God. And here’s the cluster of texts that make that clear.

The key is to get these in the right order, and depend on the first, that the first is the one that the second depends on, whatever I said there. And depend on the first for the second. Yes, that’s right. That’s what I meant to say. Philippians 3, second half of this verse is one of my most favorite verses: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). And right there is the relationship. I press on to make it that it’s a perfect experience in Christ. I don’t have it yet. You don’t have it yet. We’re not yet perfect in our relationship with him, but we will press in. We’ll move toward. We’ll take whatever steps the Bible wants to go hard after Christ because Christ has gone after us. He’s made me his own.

You will never worship God all right if you simply start with, “I’m going hard after God.” Instead of starting with, “He went hard after me. He chose me. He died for me. He regenerated me. He called me. He gave me his Holy Spirit so that I might be able now to go hard after him and find some hope of finding him, enjoying him, experiencing him. He took the initiative, he’s first, I’m second.” That’s absolutely crucial otherwise, he won’t get the glory in our worship.

Philippians 2:12–13: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” So just like this word because grounds are pressing on, this word for grounds our working out our salvation. And working out our salvation includes going hard after God in worship. “I will have him, I will know him, I will see him, I will taste him, I will experience him. I’m not going to stop wrestling until he blesses me with a sense of his presence.” That’s a pursuit of God grounded in God in us willing, and working for his good pleasure. Those worship are right who know that every breath they take, every note they sing, every key they punch, every string they pluck, every sermon they preach they do in another’s strength.

It’s absolutely crucial that we do what we do the way. First Peter 4:11 says “whoever serves,” and there you could say worships. “Whoever serves, let him serve as one who serves by the strength that God supplies in order that in everything, God may get the glory.” May be glorified. Now, you see how it relates to worship. The aim of worship is that God be seen, known, enjoyed as glorious. That he be glorified. That happens in everything when we do that by the strength that God supplies. So if you get that right, if you get that backwards, if you say, “I’m going to do things in order that I might find strength from God,” it’s totally not glorifying to him. But if you say, “Every step I take, I take in the strength that he supplies then, that step will give him the glory.” We get the help, he gets the glory. That’s the pattern. Through Jesus Christ, to him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.

So I love the word pursuit, and I realize it’s dangerous. And I hope that you see how dangerous it is. And stop thinking in terms of your pursuit being the first thing, that you took the initiative to worship God, or you took the initiative to choose God, or you took the initiative to find God, or meet God, or close with God, or enjoy God. You didn’t take the initiative. Your dad, he took the initiative, and made you alive according to Ephesians 2:5. And that’s good news. And therefore he gets all the glory, not just a fraction of it.

Gravity and Gladness

One more observation. Well, two more. The words gravity and gladness, why did I choose to title this seminar gravity and gladness? And you’re smart enough to know I don’t mean gravity, like the reason the pin falls. I mean gravity in the sense of the absence or the opposite of flippant, trifling. To me, the word gravity is a positive word, if it goes hand-in-hand with gladness. And gladness is a positive word, if it goes hand in hand with gravity.

I do not find myself helped in worship by services that are all gladness, especially all chipper gladness. Chipper is the worst word I can think of to describe worship. Well, I suppose there are worse words. But for me, that’s a real negative. We’re chipper, and we try to make everybody feel chipper when they come. And we keep it at the chipper level. Because when you get really grave, people don’t feel like you’re friendly. That’s really sad, and it’s epidemic.

So we’re like, it’s this idea of gravity. Look at this. This is Isaiah 8:

For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (Isaiah 8:11–13)

I’m stopping there. That does not sound positive to a lot of people. There are a lot of people who can put no emotional, positive construction on the statement “Let God be your fear, let God be your dread.” People fear cancer, and they fear war, and they fear their kids going off the deep end. Don’t fear what people fear. Be absolutely fearless in the world.

I’ll tell you who to fear. “You fear coming into my presence without robes of asbestos righteousness, because I will consume you for I am holy and you’re not. Tremble before me, all the earth.” There’s not a lot of that in the world. There’s not a lot of that in America. Lest you think that God is beckoning you to a kind of cowering, slavish lowness that is miserable.

Now we go to the next phrase: “And he will become a sanctuary” (Isaiah 8:14). If you’re terrified of God, if you tremble in the presence of God, “this is the man to whom I will look and I will be a sanctuary to you. I will surround you, and nobody will touch you. You’ll be mine. If you don’t fear what the world fears but you fear me. You don’t tremble at the world you tremble at me. You don’t dread the world you dread me.” It’s very hard for many people to grasp because we are so eager in the American people-pleasing church to avoid these feelings, because people aren’t going to come back if you talk that way.

The Dog, the Hurricane, and the Fear of God

I’ll give you a little illustration of what I mean because it’s not easy, emotionally for people to get this. Those of you who’ve been around for a while will remember this illustration. When my son Karsten was about seven, I think, six or seven, and I was brand new at this church, Dick Teagan was a deacon. And he invited the new pastor and his family over for supper in some Western suburb that I can’t remember. And we got out of the car and we went to the door, and knocked on it. We opened the door, and there was this absolutely giganteum dog. And he stood eyeball-to-eyeball with my oldest son. So a seven-year-old, and he’s looking right in the eye of this animal. And Karsten was taken back. I mean, this is scary.

And before we went in, Dick said, “Oh, he’s friendly. He won’t hurt anybody.” And I remembered I needed something in the car and I said to Karsten, “Would you go get in the car.” And there was a yard of fencing in the car, and he’s happy to leave that door. So he went running across, and the dog comes whooping out of the door right up behind Karsten, really kind of roar down inside. And Karsten pulls up short and looks at me like, “You could save me? This is really scary, Daddy.” And Dick hollers out and he says, “Oh, Karsten, why don’t you just walk? He doesn’t like people to run away from him.” Inside I said, “That’s going in next Sunday’s sermon,” because I had never had a clearer example of what the fear of God is meant to be.

That dog should be scary to a six-year-old, and God should be scary to sinners like us. Should be, or treat him as though he’s not scary. But the only thing that makes him mad is when people run away. And so if you just turn and put your arm around this dog, you’ll be okay. In fact, you’ll have a great time with this dog. He’s totally admirable, and totally joyful to be with. And that’s the way God is for those who aren’t going after other things. What makes him mad is when we belittle him by preferring anything to him, then he’ll go after us.

So I believe that without a healthy dose of gravity, worship will be trifling, it will be trivial, it will be thin, it will be superficial, it will degenerate to entertainment. We must learn that at the root of trembling there is great rejoicing. And you have phrases in the Bible like, “I delight to fear thy name” (Nehemiah 1:11). Delight to fear your name. Or you have a phrase like this, “With you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (Psalm 130:4). Forgiveness leading to fear. This fear of God reality, this gravity in his presence is very unusual. And I just plead with you from all the churches that you come from to be an advocate, to move away from slapstick on Sunday morning toward joyful seriousness. I just plead with you, gladness.

Send out your light and your truth;
     let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
     and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
     to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
     O God, my God. (Psalm 43:3–4)

He will be a sanctuary for you if you dread him. And when you find his sanctuary enveloping you, it’s like being in the eye of Hurricane Ike. Hurricane, oh, I think it was Erin, E-R-I-N , that I walked through, I lay low through.

I was in Pensacola, Florida. I forget how many years ago it was, a decade or so, and I was giving talks. The talks were blown totally out of the water. We had to finish them the next day with about a tenth of the people, and without electricity because the hurricane came smack dab over Pensacola. So I have never experienced it before, I’ve never experienced it since but here’s what happens, the front-end of the hurricane the winds blow in one direction. And the back-end of the hurricane the winds are blowing the other direction, and this hurricane was going about 80–90 miles an hour. I was in a house and they said, “You and your kids go into the bathroom. That’ll be the safest place because it’s all surrounded by rooms and walls, and we’ll go wherever they were going,” I can’t remember. They said, “This is the safest, so you go in there and wait.”

And I remember my son, I think it was Abraham, caught the wall mirror as it fell over onto us. Like this big mirror like this. Caught it, and pushed it back because the house was vibrating. And a mammoth pine tree fell, and just chopped a quarter off the bedroom. Just ripped it right off, just 16 feet from where we were. It was really sobering. It’s the kind of thing that helps you treat God with more respect because that’s a fragment of what his power would be like. But here’s the catch, that lasted 20–30 minutes, and then it was totally calm. We went outside, looked straight up, blue sky, devastation everywhere, trees on cars, trees on houses. It was a mess in this suburb. And the radio, we’re listening, the radio says you’ve got about 20 minutes or whatever. And then you’ll get the backside, and it will be worse.

But I thought to myself, the eye of a hurricane. A plane could fly here, a hang glider could fly here and watch this. That’s what it’s like for God to become a sanctuary for you, you move through the winds of his terrible holiness. And if you’re willing to move through them, and let it blow you completely apart so that you have only him, you will find yourself, for eternity in the most beautiful place in the universe, the eye of the storm. That’s my comments on the title.

The Heart of Worship

If you have your outline, you’ll see that the first unit is called “The Intensification of Worship as an Inward Experience of the Heart.” And the next unit is called, “The Inward Essence of Worship.” The point of those two sections, and we won’t finish the second of those sections tonight, but we will probably get into it. The point is, I’m going to take a good while to look at the way the New Testament radically intensifies worship as an inward experience. Not a localized, externalized outward experience. Unbelievably, I mean, what we’ll see in a few minutes is so amazing I could hardly believe it when I focused on it a few years ago. Then we’re going to ask the question, okay: If the New Testament radically intensifies the inward dimension of worship and minimizes its external dimension, what is that internal experience? What is it? So that’s where we’re going.

And here’s the thesis. It’ll give you the whole answer right off the bat. And now, I think if you have a booklet, these things will start showing up in there. The essential, vital, indispensable, defining heart of worship is the experience of being satisfied with God because God is most glorified in us when we’re most satisfied in him. The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.

Now there’s lots more that worship is, but what I’m after is the essential, vital, indispensable, defining essence or heart of worship. And I’m arguing it is an experience. It’s amazing how many people of a Reformed stripe like me get the willies when you use the word experience. “That’s a charismatics’ half. We’re objective. We do truth!” So does the devil, and he uses it quite misleadingly. He’s more orthodox than any of us is, so he knows so much that we don’t know. He hates it all. He distorts it all. But if all you do is objective statements of truth that never awaken your affections, you’re not worshiping.

It’s an experience of being satisfied with God, not his gifts like health, family. The question of whether you’re a worshiper will be measured by how much you can lose, and still be satisfied. Get bad grades, lose a boyfriend or a girlfriend, lose your health, lose your parents, and still be content in God. That’s the measure of whether your heart is worshiping. And the reason I stress that is because the aim of worship is to glorify God. And I’m going to argue that he is most glorified when we are most satisfied. If you take my heart and say, what kind of heart there would call clearest attention to the worth of God, it would be a heart, not that’s attracted by television, or the internet, or money, or approval of sermons. It would be a heart that is riveted on and satisfied by the revelation of God in Scripture, in Christ, and in the world. That’s what makes him look good.

And there’s a whole life that goes with it, as we’ll see. But that’s the essential, vital, indispensable defining heart of worship. That’s my thesis. We’re going to take about an hour and a half to defend that. Not all tonight.

Here’s the problem. This involves a fairly radical simplification, or narrowing of the focus of what is often included under the term worship. I’m aware, I didn’t say anything about hymn singing, I didn’t say anything about preaching, I didn’t say anything about confession, I didn’t say anything about thanksgiving or praise. I’ve defined the essence of worship without reference to anything outward that we do. And that it’s just going to drive some people absolutely up the wall. Because the whole experience of worship in the world, as we talk about it usually has to do with buildings like this, and instruments, and singing, and preaching and confessing. And I’m saying none of those things is the essence of worship. None of those things. They’re all overflow.

So here’s the aim, to show from the New Testament that this simplifying and narrowing tendency and talking about the heart of worship is biblical. And in line with Reformed and Puritan tradition doesn’t make any difference, whether it’s in line with Reformed or Puritan tradition. But if it happens to be in line, that makes me happy. And those are not criteria of truth. I’m just pointing that out, so that you can know what direction they were thinking.

Corporate Gatherings

In the New Testament is a stunning degree of indifference to worship as an outward form, and a radical intensification of worship as an inward experience of the heart. That’s where we’re going. I want to see if that’s the case in the New Testament. In the New Testament, there is very little instruction that deals explicitly with corporate worship, what we call worship services. There were corporate gatherings, but they’re not called worship ever. So, here are some corporate gatherings in the New Testament.

  • First Corinthians 14:23: “The whole church comes together.”
  • Acts 2:46 speaks of attending the temple together, and breaking bread in their homes.
  • Hebrews 10:25 was used when I was growing up to get everybody to come back to church at night. Speaks of “not neglecting to meet together.”
  • James 2:2–4: “If a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly” — so there’s assemblies going on — “and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place.’” So there were places we could sit near the main action. “While you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” So, there is this assembly in the early church.
  • Acts 20:7: “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread.” So that was evidently Sunday, the first day of the week. Not Saturday. Sunday gatherings. So they had shifted from the Jewish Sabbath, evidently over to the celebration of the Resurrection Day that Jesus rose on.

All that just to say corporateness in the early church is a given. Loner Christians were not normal. Coming together in various ways, houses, temple, open air, wherever was normal. And they’re never called worship services. They’re just there.

Worship in the Bible

Question: What becomes of the Old Testament use of the main word for worship, hishtahawa? Its basic meaning is to bow down with the sense of reverence, respect, and honor. In the Old Testament, that’s the meaning of the Hebrew word. It occurs 171 times. And in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, 164 of those 171 are translated by the Greek proskuneó. That’s a lot. That’s amazing uniformity. proskuneó is the main word for worship in the New Testament, Greek. So in the Greek New Testament, this is the main word for worship but something astonishing appears. And this I had never noticed until a few years ago, I tackled this topic.

Proskuneó is common in the Gospels 26 times: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. People would often bow down worshipply, but before the historical Jesus. And those bowing downs were called proskuneó, they fell up and worshiped him. They fell before him. And it is common in the book of Revelation 21 times. So 26 times in the Gospels, 21 times in Revelation because the angels and the elders in heaven often bowed down before God. He’s there, he’s on his throne, and there’s something to bow down before, and they go down. However, this was the surprise, in the epistles of Paul, all thirteen of them, that overwhelmingly important word in the Old Testament hishtahawa translated proskuneó occurs only once, namely, in 1 Corinthians 14:25, where the unbeliever falls down at the power of prophecy and confesses that God is in the assembly.

It doesn’t occur at all in the letters of Peter, James, John, Hebrews. These two uses here are Old Testament quotations. And in the book of Acts, these don’t refer to Christian worship. In other words, it’s gone in the Epistles and Acts. It’s gone. Just from a statistical standpoint, 171 times in the Old Testament, 26 times in the Gospels, 21 times in Revelation, where you have a Christ in the flesh to bow down before and a God on the throne to bow down before. And in the Epistles where we live, nothing. It’s gone. That begs for an explanation. To me, that’s just amazing, what in the world? Why don’t you pick up on that central word, Paul, Peter James, Hebrews, pick up on it and describe Christian worship for us, so that we know what to do? Amazing.

From Outward Worship to Inward Experience of the Heart

A question: Why are the very Epistles that are written to help the church be what it ought to be in this age, almost totally devoid of this word, and of explicit teaching on the specifics of corporate worship? And here’s a possible answer. I think the reason is found in the way Jesus treated worship in his life and teaching. In other words, as Jesus came on the scene and worship began to be addressed by him, what he did with it was so radical, that it caused the early church to drop the Old Testament language for worship, at least as it was used, the main word, hishtahawa, proskuneó.

Now, what did Jesus do? What did he do? What happened in his ministry that caused this falling away of the main word for worship? Mark 11:17, he said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” Quoting the Old Testament, and God’s words. And he wove a whip, when he did that, and drove out the money changers. The reason that he gave was not for the sake of proper sacrifices. Get these out of here. There’s a right way to do sacrifice here. But for the sake of prayer he said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” In other words, he focused attention away from the outward acts of Jewish sacrifices, to the more personal act of communing with God for all peoples. So there’s step one.

In Matthew 12:6, Jesus said, “Something greater than the temple is here.” Meaning me. So he’s shifting attention with that amazing, lethal statement away from the building onto himself as a replacement of the building. John 2:19, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” And he meant his body. This attitude to the temple not only got him killed, it also got Stephen killed. This is exactly the charge that was brought against Jesus in his trial and Stephen. He said that the temple is going to be destroyed, and that he can raise it in three days. Jesus was identifying himself as the true temple.

In himself, he will fulfill everything the temple stood for, especially the place where believers meet God. So here, again, he’s diverting attention away from worship as a localized thing with outward forms, to a personal, spiritual experience with himself at the center. Worship does not need a building, a priesthood, a sacrificial system. It needs the risen Jesus. That’s how radical it is. I mean, this was so offensive to those who were involved in keeping the temple sacrifices proper, they killed him. And they killed Stephen for that kind of talk. The temple is coming down, and I’m the replacement. That’s a delocalization, dexternalization, and an intensification of the inward experience of relationship in worship.

John 4:20 is the key to why the Old Testament word for worship did not fit the reality of the worship Jesus was bringing. The woman at the well remember said, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship” (John 4:20). That’s proskuneó, so there it’s used. “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father’” (John 4:21).