Recently, at a Christmas party I attended in Lake Geneva, I joined in with some people on a conversation around worship.
The conversation was about… what is the main event of worship?
One person said, “I think that the worship leaders are the main event of the worship service.”
Another person said, “I think that it is the liturgy. The liturgy is the main event of the worship service.”
Another still said, “No, I think that it is the music. The music is the main event of the worship service.”
And then suddenly, someone said, “Wait we have it all wrong.’ ‘Jesus is the main event of the worship service.”
Jesus is the cornerstone of the worship service. Jesus is the centerpiece of the worship service. Jesus is the focus of the worship service.
Jesus is the high point, the best part, the heart of our worship service.
It is Jesus that we seek after in worship. It is Jesus’ presence that we hope to receive in worship.
When we come to worship we come with the expectation that Jesus will meet us in worship. We trust and believe that in the body and the blood of Holy Communion that Jesus is with us.
It always was about Jesus. It is about Jesus. It always will be about Jesus.
Jesus is the main actor in worship. Everything in worship centers on him. Everything else in worship simply supports this truth.
Everything that we do together on a Sunday morning points to Jesus for he is our Lord and our Savior.
For us as Christians it is all about Jesus. Even the word Christian refers to followers of Christ. We are followers of Jesus.
As Christians we are constantly striving to know Jesus more.
Jesus was John the Baptist’s message. John was continually pointing people to Jesus. He was always teaching the people to see that Jesus is the one that we should follow.
There were some that thought that John was the Messiah. In his life John was deeply concerned that some people thought that he was the one.
And so John actually went out of his way to help people to see that he was not the Messiah.
The messiah was Jesus.
Have you ever noticed in the Bible how hard John works to convince the people that he is not the Messiah? Have you noticed this from your study of Scripture?
In today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke John says that he is not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals.
John baptized only with water but Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit.
This is the way it is with us as well. We do the work of ministry. But it is Jesus who gathers people, who saves people, and who blesses people. Jesus is the one who speaks to us in worship.
Jesus is indeed the main event not only of the worship service but of the whole of our lives.
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked John the Baptist.
We are called by God to be like John the Baptist always pointing people to Jesus. John was a humble man who taught that we should prepare the way for Jesus.
He taught that the kingdom of God is at hand. He taught that we should not glorify ourselves but that we should glorify Jesus, God’s son.
Together we continue the work of John the Baptist even now. We remind each other that worship is all about Jesus. We tell others about Jesus and Jesus’ story.
We speak to others about our faith and how our faith in Jesus brings meaning and hope into our lives.
In my own life I have witnessed time and time again people who have carried on the work of John the Baptist. People who have prepared the way of the Lord. People who have pointed others to Jesus.
Have you witnessed this yourself?
I have seen so many people over the years pointing people to Jesus. This has not only been inspiring and encouraging for me but I have seen others come to faith in Jesus through the good work of people pointing people to Jesus.
We do not create faith within another person. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. But God does call us to care for our brothers and sisters, to encourage each other in the faith, and most importantly to point each other to Jesus.
Do you know of someone who needs to hear the message of hope this Advent? Do you know of someone who needs to be encouraged?
Do you know of someone whose faith is shaky and they need to be told once again that God is still there, that God is with them? That is the meaning of the word, Emmanuel.
Emmanuel means God with us.
A person with a discouraged heart with will feel defeated. But God still loves the person who is downhearted and depressed. God want to fill that searching, discouraged person with hope and with joy.
You just may be the right person that God is calling to speak a word of good news to that depressed person.
As Christmas draws nearer and as the season of Advent comes to an end I would like to ask all of us here to be like John the Baptist. Now John was a bit of a rough man who was very harsh in his preaching.
In today’s reading he addresses his listeners by saying you brood of vipers.
Brood of vipers. What does that mean? Let’s just say he is not giving his audience a compliment here.
I am not saying that we should be like that. But I am saying that I think that we should be speaking the message that John preached.
-Telling others that Jesus is coming. We should be pointing others to Jesus. We should be glorifying and lifting up Jesus.
He is the one who is the most important person in our lives!
It says in Luke that with many words John taught the people and proclaimed the good news to the people.
May the Holy Spirit inspire and move within us so that we too might prepare the way for our coming Messiah.