The one word in the New Testament that really describes the worship process is praise. However in the Gospels we see a people who are praising but why are they praising. Throughout the New Testament, both during Jesus’ earthly ministry and after, we see a people searching for whom to worship. Many of the people we see in gospels are waiting for the return of the Messiah. The Jewish people of this time have waited so long for the Promised One that anyone who seemed to fulfill the prophesies was praised and revered, with the people hoping Emmanuel had finally come.
Jesus’ life was filled with praise because of who the Jewish people thought He might be. Even at the start of his life, His birth is announced by angels, He is visited by wise men, and when visiting the temple with family, He is praised by the religious leaders for His knowledge. As he began his ministry, the praise of the people only intensifies. They praise him for His amazing works, they praise Him for his power over sickness and death, and they praise Him because they feel that He might just be exactly who they want him to be.
The problem with the praise of most of these people is they are praising him for what they think He will do for them at that moment in time. They want Him to save them from Roman oppression. They want Him to be an earthly ruler in the line of David and restore Israel to its former glory. The problem with this way of thinking is that He was EXACTLY who He said He was. He had come to save the people, not from the Romans but from sin and death. He did come to set the captives free, but free from their own sinful ways, not from Roman oppression.
Because of this, many of the people who praised Him then, ended the praise quickly. In the weeks before His death, the shouts of the people went from “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”, to “Crucify Him, give us Barabbas”.
But see we do the same thing. Oh sure we don’t want to see our Lord crucified again, but we also are very quick the end our praises when He doesn’t end up being who we think He should be. We end the praise when the checkbook is negative. We end the praise when our prayers seem unheard. We end the praise when our lives seem to be falling apart. Maybe just maybe, when our wallets are empty, when heaven seems quiet, when our “perfect” life seems to be passing away, that is exactly when we need to praise Him even more. Because it is in the times we cannot do it anymore that He is exactly who He says He is and He can do it. He can rescue us. He has the power and He is ready to use it. But the problem with our minds is that it is “His will be done” not mine. When I get to the point of saying that “I will praise you no matter what”, then that is TRUE praise.