There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child [Jesus] to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38
Jesus, there are countless reasons to love you. Today, we’re especially grateful for how you radically transformed the worship of God. The main reason we’ve been created is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, so nothing is more important than God’s worship.
In you, the shadow of worship has been superseded by the substance; the appetizer has given way to the entre; types are supplanted with the Antitype; the preview is over and the main attraction is here; the doxological whisper has now risen to the roar of redemption. Hallelujah, many times over! You have forever changed worship.
Though we admire Anna for her life of devotion—worshiping God ceaselessly in the temple, we adore you for removing all the limitations of temple worship. You were just eight days old when Anna met you in the temple. There’s no way she could have imagined you came into the world to fulfill and replace temple worship.
By giving yourself for us on the cross, you have once and for all atoned for our sins and exhausted God’s righteous judgment against us. You fulfilled the entire sacrificial system and it will never resume. Not only is there now no condemnation, there is now full celebration; for we are fully and eternally acceptable to God in you. The sacrifice we make is one of praise, for you are the Lamb of God, who has taken away our sin, once and for all (Hebrews 10:10). The gospel puts an end to all self-centered fears and me-focused concerns in God’s worship.
Lord Jesus, we also praise you for removing all spatial and calendar limitations on God’s worship. Because of what you’ve done for us, “true worshipers” are those who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:21-26)—not just in one place, but in every space; not just on certain days, but every minute of every day. In you, all of life is to be worship service. O, the consuming calling and joyful privilege…
Because of you, Jesus, one day the entire earth will be covered with the knowledge of the glory of God. The eternal sanctuary will be the new heaven and new earth. Your wholeBride, every creature and all of creation will be liberated for the praise of your glory and grace. Oh, hasten that glad and glorious Day!
Until then, Jesus, may the gospel free us to worship you, the Father and the Holy Spirit, more passionately and faithfully; certainly through prayer and fasting, like Anna, but also by everything else we think, say and do in life. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.