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A few weeks ago, I watched the ceremony of Captain Tom Moore being ‘knighted’ by the Queen. Captain Tom has been an inspiration during this lockdown period and the vast amount of money that he has raised for the NHS has been truly remarkable.

When he was asked about his time with the Queen, Captain Tom said that what was said was ‘between him and the Queen’; however, when he was asked as to why he didn’t kneel, he simply said that if he had, he would never have got up!! A truly gracious and inspiring man.

As I was reading Matthew’s Gospel this week, I was struck by the number of times people, when they came to Jesus, knelt before Him. A recognition of who He truly was.

Matthew 8:1-2 – Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy

Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Matthew 15:25 – The faith of a Gentile Woman

She came and knelt before him (Jesus), saying, ‘Lord, help me.’…

Matthew 17:14-20 – Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

14 At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

Most translations tell us that people came and ‘knelt before Jesus’; the Greek word used is that they ‘worshipped’ Jesus. Each one detecting something divine in Jesus, and Jesus was always more interested in faith than rules.

(However, later in Matthew’s Gospel (27:29), we read of the time when Jesus was being crucified, that some of the soldiers ‘knelt before Him in mockery and taunted Him’)…..

To kneel at the feet of someone is generally a sign of submission, respect and honour. The Psalms encourage us to ‘Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord’… we come to God, unworthy because of the mess we have made of our lives, yet He, because of His grace, love and mercy, makes us ‘very worthy’! (Not sure if that is grammatically correct, but I think you get my drift)!! 

We are able to come into His presence and receive all the good things that He has for us. We live in a world that seeks to humiliate, under-value and discourage; but as we kneel in God’s presence, we can leave with our heads held high, not because of anything that we have done, but because of everything He has done on our behalf. 

‘O Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim; with gold of obedience and incense of lowliness,

Kneel and adore Him, the Lord is His name’……. 

Author Paul Emmerson

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