. . . the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him.
In their form of worship the Samaritans and Jews were principally concerned with the outward things of time and place and manner of observance. But now Jesus was saying that true worship went deeper than the things that are seen—that it must be “with spirit and truth.” The worship of God was not to be confined to one people or centered at one place, whether at Jerusalem or any other “holy city.” Instead, the way was being opened for men of all kinds to worship Jehovah God “with spirit and truth,” anywhere and everywhere.
DO YOU WORSHIP “WITH SPIRIT”?
Since Jesus said that his Father wants to be worshiped “with spirit,” sincere Christians ought to examine their way of worship to make certain that they are living up to this requirement. For example, what are we to think of the idea of painting a picture or sculpturing an image of anything in heaven or on earth and then performing acts of worship toward it? God himself says that it would displease him, for he once told his ancient people: “You must take good care of your souls . . .that you may not act ruinously and may not really make for yourselves a carved image.” “You must not bow down to them or be led to serve them.”—Deut. 4:15, 16; 5:8, 9.
Further, is it not reasonable to believe that if God wanted to be worshiped through images Jesus would have used them? But never in the Scriptures do we read of Jesus’ using them. When he prayed to his Father he did not use any carved images or rosary-like aids to worship. No, but he prayed directly to his “Father in the heavens,” as we see from the Lord’s Prayer. (Matt. 6:9) Neither did he feel that he had to go to any particular sacred place to worship his Father. He prayed everywhere—on mountains, in homes or wherever he happened to be. (Luke 6:12; Matt. 26:18, 26) This was the example he set for his followers. Do you follow his example in prayer? Or do you pray only at a shrine or in some other spot regarded as being sacred?
It is highly important to understand as clearly as possible the full significance of worshiping by means of that which is unseen to the eye, that is, “with spirit.” One of the important reasons for doing so is that God’s Word says Christians “are walking by faith, not by sight.” Another is that “the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.” (2 Cor. 5:7; 4:18) In order to obtain that which is of everlasting value, the Christian must think about his own way of worship, asking such questions as: Does my worship in any respect involve the use of images, so-called “holy pictures,” rosaries or crosses?
Many sincere people have used such objects in their worship, but when they learn about the way God really wants to be worshiped—“with spirit and truth”—they have made changes. Those who became Christians in the days of the apostles got rid of things God does not view with approval. (Acts 19:18, 19) And when young King Josiah started to search for the true God, he cleaned the graven images out of Judah, breaking them to pieces. (2 Chron. 34:3, 4) What a fine example for you if you wish to please God!
DO YOU WORSHIP ‘WITH TRUTH’?
Now, what did Jesus mean by ‘worshiping with truth’? Certainly he meant that truth, not falsehood, must be the basis for our worship. Otherwise our worship would be all in vain. Because they were not worshiping ‘with truth,’ Jesus told the Jewish religious leaders of that time: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach as doctrines commands of men.’”—Mark 7:6, 7.
So if one worships according to human theories, personal opinions or philosophies that contradict the Word of truth, the Bible, how can one be worshiping ‘with truth’?
Jesus always worshiped with truth. On one occasion when praying to his heavenly Father he said: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Might it not be expected that the true followers of Christ would view the written Word of God as Jesus did—as truth?