23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
Jesus was about to inaugurate a new way of worship. He did not say, “Woman, you must go to Jerusalem to properly worship.”
This verse shows worship both for the time of Christ and in the future. Christ would usher in a new order of worship. He would inaugurate an entirely new way of worship. This new worship would not depend on place but upon one’s attitude.
the hour is coming,
The time was approaching when Jesus would set up a new economy of worship. This new dispensation was the economy of the church.
and now is,
The coming new order in one sense had already arrived by being foreshadowed in Christ. Christ had already come. The period of the church was already proleptically present in the person of Christ. Jesus was in the process of introducing a crisis in the way people worshiped. He would introduce an entirely different way to worship. This is “the salvation” of which Jesus spoke.
when the true [genuine] worshipers will worship the Father
There is a worship that is worth the name of the Father.
The word “in” links both “spirit” and “truth” together. There are two characteristics of one worship. The combination of these ideas together shows the importance of worship to be expressed both with a heart for God and with biblical accuracy.
The “spirit” here is not the Holy Spirit but the human spirit. Worship is an internal thing. It is far more than outward ceremony (Php 3:3). “Spirit” deals with attitude of heart.
To worship in “truth” is to worship authentically or in relation to reality. “Truth” is something consistent with reality, with Scripture, and with Christ Himself.
“Truth” indicates that worship must take place according to the reality of who and what God is. Enthusiastic worship without truth is enthusiastic falsity. It is heat without light. On the other hand, there are those who know the truth but are not excited about it. Both spirit and truth are necessary for the right kind of worship.
for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
God seeks genuine worship from others. He is not impressed with pomp and circumstance. To worship in ceremony and outward form is mechanical and not heart worship. The Father seeks a certain kind of worshiper—the “such” who worship in “spirit and truth.” God is in the business of actively seeking people out to worship Him.
True worship is not conformity to religious ceremony but it is something that comes from the heart.
No one can know God except through revelation. God is beyond time and space; therefore, no finite person can come to God by operation bootstraps. We are dependent on God to reveal Himself and His plan for man.
Dead orthodoxy is not true worship. Authentic worship does not require holy places or ornaments. We can admire grand architecture but this does not point our hearts to God.
We can worship God only in the sphere of spirit and truth. Worship is God centered. This is only possible through the Holy Spirit. Worship must accord with the nature of the kind of God we worship. It is not the place or forum of worship that is important to God.
Worship must be according to God’s true nature. This rubric overrides everything else. We cannot “prefer” to worship as we please. This is a “must,” not an option; it is final. True worship is like sparks that fly upward. Worship is the celebration of who and what God is. It involves fellowship with Him.