I’ve written on this before, but I have decided to write a series of posts on worship in the New Testament. I am constantly being taught “true” worship by song leaders. Most of this has to do with my attitude while I am singing or offering praise. While I think that singing and praise can be incorporated into worship, worship is much more than the 20-30 minutes of a church service that leads up to the message. In fact, as I encounter the English words worship in the New Testament, there is very little (if any) singing involved.
Matthew 2.2, 11 - 2“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.”
11And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
The magi arrived from the east, being led by a star, looking for the King of the Jews. The term used by Matthew to describe worship in verse 2 is proskunesai, which means to fall down, to do obeisance to (or to kneel or curtsy before), to prostrate oneself before a person. This was done before kings as an act of total loyalty and as sign of acknowledging someone’s utter superiority in rank and in essence. This would often be accompanied by prostrating oneself before a person, kissing his feet, the hem of his garment, the ground, and so forth.
In verse 11, the verb is coupled with another verb pesontes which means “to fall down”. Thus, the worship that the magi offered showed their respect, honor and humility before this “king of the Jews.” It also signified their obedience as willing subjects at the call of their master. The magi did this before they had received all of the information about who Jesus was and what he was going to do, they acknowledged his greatness and the pledged themselves to him.
Worship, in this sense, then can be seen as completely humbling oneself before Jesus and acknowledging his status as King and pledging oneself in total obedience to his will.