Important New Testament Worship Passages (Part 3)

Volume 8, No. 7 (July 2013)


 a.     Christmas Canticles (Luke 1–2)

A canticle is defined by the dictionary as “a song or chant, esp. a hymn containing words derived from the Bible.” These four inspired and poetic psalms of praise, uttered by different figures in Luke’s account of the birth of Christ, have been set to music by many different church composers over the centuries (from Monteverdi, to Bach and Mozart, to Dvorak and Bruckner, to William Walton and John Rutter). Often these settings have used the Latin translation (though eventually other languages as well), and so they are often identified by the first word or words of their text in the Latin Vulgate translation. Together they provide a wonderful look into some key truths that underlie the familiar Christmas story: see an exposition of these texts in Worship Notes 2:12.

1)  Mary’s Magnificat  (“My soul magnifies the Lord . . . )  Luke 1:46-55

 Theme: The Humble Exalted

2)  Zacharias’s Benedictus  (“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel . . .)  Luke 1:67-79

 Theme:  A Light in the Darkness

 3)  The Angels’ Gloria  (“Glory to God in the highest”)  Luke 2:14

 Theme: Glory to God!

 4)  Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis  (“Now let your servant depart in peace . . . )  Luke 2:29-32

 Theme: A Light to the Gentiles

b.    Jesus on Worship (Luke 4:5-8) —>Jesus Worshiped (Luke 24:51-53)                                   (proskuneō)

And the devil took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to Him, “To You I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’” (4:5-8)

While He blessed them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

c.     God’s Priority: A Heart of Worship (“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7)

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (18:9-14)

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and He saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”  (21:1-3)

d.  Glorifying (Praising) God (doxazō): in response to God working (2:20; 4:15; 5:25; 5:26; 7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 18:43)

Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” And having said this He breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”  (23:47; Matt 27:54 & Mark 15:39: “Surely this was the Son of God!”)

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