New Testament Worship
Since covenant was such an integral component to God’s redemptive activity in the Old Testament, it is no surprise that it continues to be central to his plans and purposes in the New Testament. Just as the Exodus from Egypt established the Old Covenant with the nation of Israel, the Second Exodus of Christ’s death and resurrection established the New Covenant with the new Israel.
The covenant theme is embedded in Jesus’ central message of the Kingdom of God. In fact, the gospel is essentially the “good news” that God, the great King, re-established his royal, holy presence and rule in a new and unparalleled way through the ministry and person of Jesus Christ. This was accomplished through the atoning, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. The redemptive significance of Jesus’ death is powerfully demonstrated in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper by the New Covenant community. Richard C. Leonard summarizes it well:
With respect to Christian worship, the most obvious reference to covenant in the New Testament is Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper, when he declares, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24). The death of Christ is the sacrifice that enacts the new covenant, which now embraces not only the faithful Jew but the believing Gentile also — as, indeed, the covenant with Israel originally included any worshiper of Yahweh, regardless of ethnicity. The continued observance of the Lord’s Supper is a re-presentation of the death of Christ (1 Cor. 11:26) which has created the people of the new covenant.
The blood Moses sprinkled on the Israelites at the foot of Sinai to ratify the Old Covenant prefigured Jesus’ death whereby his blood on the cross secured forgiveness for his chosen people, thus ratifying the New Covenant. More than that, Jesus’ sacrificial death did what the entire sacrificial system was incapable of accomplishing and only pointed to (Heb 10:4ff)—taking away the sins of the world. Through the person and ministry of Jesus, redemptive history crescendoed as God once again personally dwelt in the midst of his people. The veil that separated God and humanity, to preserve his holiness, was torn apart (Mar 15:58; Heb 10:20) and the Temple thus became obsolete through the atoning death and life-giving resurrection of Jesus, who being God-with us, is in fact with us until the consummation of the age (Mat 28:20; cf. 1:23)! What Old Testament worship typologically prefigured in the shadows of ritual (Heb 8:5) Jesus Christ fulfilled; he replaces all of Israel’s provisions for engaging with God: He is the Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7); the Great High Priest who offered the final sacrifice for sins (Heb 10:12); the Prophet like Moses (John 4:24); the Mediator between God and humanity (1 Tim 2:5); and even the true “Temple” (Mat 12:12).
Because there is a heightened emphasis on worship-as-a-life-orientation in the NT, Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman—“An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23)—are often interpreted as meaning internal/“spirit” and cerebral/“truth.” However, this is to miss the most important development that accounts for the continuities, as well as the discontinuities, between Old and New Covenant worship. As David Peterson puts it, “New-covenant worship is essentially the engagement with God that he has made possible through the revelation of himself in Jesus Christ and the life he has made available through the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, worship “in spirit and truth” must be God-centered, made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit, grounded in the knowledge of and conformity to God’s Word made flesh, Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. For this reason, Jesus proclaimed that the geographical location of worship was a no longer a requirement of true, acceptable worship.
 Leonard, “The Biblical Covenant and Christian Worship.”
 Peterson, 100. D.A., Carson, ed., Worship by the Book (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 37, adds, “Moreover, in [the gospel of John]—in which Jesus appears as the true vine, the true manna, the true Shepherd, the true temple, the true Son—to worship God “in spirit and in truth” is first and foremost a way of saying that we must worship God by means of Christ.”