Reverence and worship

by Mike Ratliff

37 But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ Matthew 21:37 (NASB) 

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word translated “reverence” is usually שׁחה or shâchâh. It is the same word used for worship as well because it speaks of assuming a humble posture before royalty for instance. However, in the New Testament we find a most remarkable word translated as respect or reverence or even shame. It is found in the passage above (Matthew 21:37). Here is the Greek from the NA28, “ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων· ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου.” Here we have ἐντραπήσονται the plural, future tense, indicative mood, passive voice form of ἐντρέπω or entrepō, which literally means “to turn into oneself, to put self to shame, to feel respect or deference toward someone else.” If you are at all familiar with the parables of our Lord then I am sure you recoginze from where I drew the passage above. You may be asking yourself, what has this got to do with worship? Let’s see… 

In the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers from Matthew 21:33-40, Mark 12:1-9, and Luke 20:9-16, a vineyard owner hired men to tend his vineyard, but they were wicked. When the owner sent servants to collect the harvest, the tenants beat them and stoned them, even killing some. He finally sent his son, thinking the tenants would “reverence” or “respect” him, but instead they killed him. When Jesus told this parable, the Jewish religious leaders knew that He spoke it against them and it only angered them even more against Him. The parable is, of course, about the Lord Jesus and the many servants of God who came before Him.

The men seeking to kill our Lord did not ἐντρέπω Him, but, instead, sought to hang onto and maintain their own religious structures and ways. We have the very same thing going on today, even in many churches, especially those which are man-centered in their approach to everything they do. If we examine our own devotion to our Lord in how we walk through each day, do we really ἐντρέπω Him as we should? Instead of putting ourselves to shame and completely bearing ourselves to God, entertainment is demanded. If the “worship style” is not exciting or upbeat enough then we get bored and look for another church. We want what we want and, in this, we are doing the opposite of ἐντρέπω. Instead, we are focusing all the attention on self. Think of what is going on in some of these churches. How in the world can we ἐντρέπω our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as we should with all of the distractions going on on-stage like Christian comedians, or stage plays, or rock music or even a moto-cross motorcyclist jumping over the Pastor on stage? Instead of participating in these things, we should be grieved in our Spirit.

When the church-growth gurus attempt to sell their goods and prop up their worldly empires with their pragmatic approach to everything, let us never forget that all they have really done is appeal to people’s fleshly desires to be part of something big and exciting. People want a show and these fella’s know how to get those big crowds. They build big churches to appear successful. It’s like a machine though. It has to be fed continually or it will fall apart or quit running so they have to keep providing their people with whatever they want. Please show me where in Sacred Scripture this sort of church building is called for or commanded. Please show me where we are told its okay to call entertainment “worship” while we do not ἐντρέπω the Lord Jesus at all. Putting Jesus’ name every now and then in a sermon or trying to bless everything you do by saying “In Jesus Name!” is not the same thing. If we really ἐντρέπω Him we will also obey Him as His δούλους. That means that we live our lives in a God Centered way with our worship of Him at the very center of that and we will ἐντρέπω Him not only because that is His due, but because we love Him and serve Him with our all from grateful hearts full of the knowledge of His propitiation on our behalf at the Cross.

Soli Deo Gloria!