At the Prestoncrest church we have been going through a series on worship on Sunday mornings. Gordon Dabbs, our preacher, has been doing an excellent job preaching this difficult subject. Worship is something that has historically divided many churches, and is still an issue today. Being of a much younger generation, I have never seen it as such a major issue, but I recognize the potential for Satan to use it to divide and conquer.
One key concept of worship that Gordon has been going over springs from how Jesus enables us to worship God face-to-face, without anything in the way. In my own study and research I’ve found that this subject is a powerful image of the Hebrew culture.
If you are a student of the New Testament then you will immediately recognize the phrase “the laying on of hands,” but you may wonder where this practice came from. Once we read through the Gospels and arrive in Acts we find this peculiar act where the Apostles lay their hands on people and they receive either the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18), or it is some sort of giving of authority (Acts 6:6). Perhaps the most peculiar thing about this is that people seemed to know what was going on when they did it. In other words: it wasn’t a brand-new process. Rather, this was an established tradition that dates back to the time of the Patriarchs, known as giving s’mikhah.
This is the fifth part of my commentary on Mark 12 as we look at this chapter in its original context. We are asking the question, “what did this passage of scripture mean to its original hearers?” and it is transformative to our understanding for certain. Be sure to see the other parts of this commentary too as each builds on the previous.
As I was reading a post from Allan Stanglin’s blog today, it struck me and I started writing a comment. Just like my last comment-turned-post, this one also got too big and so I decided to flesh it out in a full post. Allan wrote about how great it is to worship with one another, but how meaningless it is unless we go and live it out. They will be mere empty words unless we act on our promises, and he quoted Paul from Romans 12 to back that up. His words sparked my mind about how the rabbis said something very near to that, and why.