Dr. Terry Hadaway, educator, author, founder of EquipBibleStudy.com, and great friend to our ministry, has again delivered fresh and provocative thoughts on the topic of worship. In this article, The Worship Secret, Terry challenges us to look at worship from beyond our stain-glassed windows and our Sunday School understanding of life’s greatest endeavor. – Dwayne
Guest post by Dr. Terry Hadaway
He had to keep it a secret. After all, if anyone found out what he was up to, it could be costly. It would cost him his reputation, his livelihood, and maybe even his life. So he made the trip at night so as to be hidden by the shadows. What he gave was a compliment; what he received was beyond description.
When we think about biblical worship, the story of Nicodemus might not be in our list of “most significant passages on worship.” Yet, what we see in Nicodemus is worship in its purest form.
Think about our worship… we have worship centers, worship times, and worship leaders. Nicodemus had none of these. We are well-equipped for worship, but struggle to make it a priority. Nicodemus had no worship tools, yet he worshiped in ways you and I might never have experienced.
Nicodemus started with a declaration about who he knew Jesus to be by saying, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it” (John 3:2, The Message). How long has it been since you’ve made a similar statement to God?
Jesus replied to Nicodemus, “You’re right, but you’ll never understand what I’m talking about unless you are born again” (John 3:3, my paraphrase). Nicodemus didn’t fold his hymnal and make his way through the reception line and thank Jesus for His words. No, he wanted more. He had to know what this “born again” stuff was all about. He started asking questions. At first they seemed sincere, but then Nicodemus began applying human reasoning to spiritual matters.
Worship for Nicodemus wasn’t easy. He was a professional questioner. Jesus, however, knew what to say. “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics?… There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions” (John 3:10-11, The Message).
Real worship is simply facing the evidence and accepting it. Maybe we don’t procrastinate with questions. For us, the issue might be busyness, pride, or worldliness. Real worship means we must put aside all pretense and acknowledge God’s awesome power in our lives and our world. Worship isn’t an appetizer for Sunday dinner; it’s the main course for every day of life.
Nicodemus indeed worshiped Christ and it was life-changing. When Jesus’ body was taken from the cross, it was Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who asked Pilate for it. Whereas Nicodemus initially came to Jesus at night, he later became a powerful public defender of his Lord. His worship of Jesus did not remain a secret! When the disciples were hiding, Nicodemus was out in public unashamed of his faith. Why? Because he had been transformed by worship!
Is your worship transforming you?
(c) 2007 by Terry Hadaway
You may contact Terry via e-mail: terry at rapidfirelearning dot com