For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise” (Heb. 2:11–12).

Jesus quotes the heavy words of Psalm 22:1 from the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The rest of the Psalm slogs forward with graphic imagery of the suffering that Jesus would and did experience on the cross. But halfway through, the tone and imagery shift.

The writer of Hebrews puts the words of Psalm 22:22 in Jesus’s mouth. Here, Jesus calls them (meaning us) his siblings, and he says he will lead us in praise. Jesus calls himself our worship leader.

Worship plays a personal part in our lives. In worship, we meet with the divine creator of all things on a personal level.

Worship not only starts with God; it also returns to Him through the filter of the cross. Jesus did not enter a cosmic retirement after his ascension.

In worship, we commune with fellow members of the body of Christ. In worship, we experience a foretaste of the promised eternal paradise, as we receive assurance of the forgiveness and salvation Jesus earned for us.

First and foremost, God serves us in worship. He comes to us in His Word spoken and sung. He comes to us in water and Word when a baptism takes place. He comes to us in a tangible way when we receive Jesus’s body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine of communion. In all of it, God works for us. He calls us together by His Word. He gathers us together around His Sacraments. He enlightens us with His gifts of faith, forgiveness, and salvation. He sanctifies and keeps us in that faith by the power of his Spirit.

Worship not only starts with God; it also returns to Him through the filter of the cross. Jesus did not enter a cosmic retirement after his ascension. By His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus became our mediator (1 Tim. 2:5). The words we sing, say, and hear proclaim to us that Christ lived for us; that He died for us; and that He rose for us.

The crucified and risen Christ acts as our rightful and best worship leader. He stands between us and God, exchanging the worship we so poorly perform for the worship he so perfectly lived.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that your Son perfects our imperfect worship. Amen.

The following is an excerpt from The Sinner/Saint Lenten Devotional written by Kyle G. Jones and Kathy Strauch (1517 Publishing, 2019). Now available for purchase.