I remember a class assignment in my undergrad when I had to attend and report on the similarities and differences of a Catholic mass, compared with a protestant church service.
As I entered the “Basilica of the Immaculate Conception”, why do Catholic churches always get the epic church names??
I was again awe-struck by the intricate architecture, beautiful stained glass, and incredible biblical paintings. I was reminded of many of the Cathedrals I toured in the U.K. and I am always impressed by the grandeur of worship expressed through brilliant design and unparalleled artistry.
As mass began, I sat in my cushioned pew and put my feet on a foot-rest along bottom of each pew. Having never attended mass before, as those around me surely recognized, I quickly realized that the “foot-rest” was actually meant for my knees. As the priest prayed in Latin, spoke some words in English, the congregants recited prayers, we would sit, stand, kneel, and repeat. Having grown up in mostly Pentecostal churches, the whole ordeal was odd, as I probably spent more time running, jumping, and swaying, than I did kneeling. And when we did kneel, it was at the altar not in a pew.
Though it is not a biblical requirement to have padded kneelers, (apparently, those things do have a name) kneeling literally and figuratively is supremely Biblical. And this posture goes far beyond NFL protests and “Tebowing”.
Here are 2 postures of kneeling found in Scripture.
- Kneeling as a posture of worship.
“Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;”
There are many circumstances that beckon us to kneel, but none are so worthy, so great, so humbling, so powerful as to kneel before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
When we kneel, here are some things we are declaring to God:
A. You are worthy; I honor you.
B. You are sovereign; I trust you.
C. You are holy; I worship you.
D. You are all sufficient; I need you.
God is not only our Creator, but our Sustainer. He keeps your heart beating, He did not simply make the world and leave it. He is actively involved with His creation.
I’m excited to be a part of the First Baptist Church “Passion Play” this year and even now, before costumes and makeup, before any audience or full dress-rehearsal, I get choked up every time we practice a scene where we worship “Jesus” (“” for the actor portraying Christ.), kneeling before Him, and singing about Him. Though we are “acting”, Jesus IS alive, we do worship Him, and we will be able to do this for eternity!
But worship doesn’t start in heaven, it begins when we kneel before Him, when we pray, sing, read His Word, fellowship with His church, share the Gospel.
What an incredible privilege to live in a life-long and eternity-long posture of worship of the One who loves us.
2. Kneeling as a posture of woe.
“And twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!'”
As we approach the glorious day of Easter, when we celebrate Jesus’ literal, historical, physical resurrection, we should also reflect also on His loving, sacrificial death. In this portion of the crucifixion story, Matthew recounts the horrific acts of Roman soldiers who cared nothing for this Jew that was to be crucified. Think about this moment.
A Roman guard, mocking Jesus, piercing his brow with gnarled thorns from a “crown”, kneels before the Word made flesh. He is face to face with the only Salvation for a lost world. Jesus, a perfect man, sovereign Lord, God incarnate, stares back and doesn’t return hatred, but offers forgiveness.
Jesus came exactly when He planned to die for His enemies that they may be made righteous. If you have repented and trusted in Jesus, you know this fact. You were once and enemy of God, but have been saved and are now His child.
If you do not believe in Jesus, you are living hopelessly.
The Bible tells us that one day every person will kneel before God and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. (Rom. 14:11) The question is: will you be kneeling in worship or will you be kneeling in woe? Are you living your life today hopeful for everlasting joy or fearful of eternal judgement?
No matter where you are or what you are doing, I’m praying for you. I pray that every person who reads this would yield their hearts to Christ today and kneel before Him.