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Did Jesus say: worship me?

Some Muslims have proposed the idea that when there is no evidence about a command to worship Jesus as God, he cannot be divine. Islam is full of law driven practice and the thinking of a Muslim is connected with obedience to laws. Therefore we need to look at the context about this question, before we come with a conclusion.

Worship practices

Worship is the capability for glorification, exaltation and magnification to declare the greatness of someone or something. The need to glorify and exalt God is because he is the One who gives pleasure, creates desire and rewards with enjoyment. He alone is that which is pleasant, desirable and full of enjoyment [1]. The Creator gave you a free will to make decisions for yourself. The most important decision you can make is once in your life to decide to do God’s will. By doing God’s will you are worshiping God. We thank God for what he does, praise him for his power and worship him for who he is. The New Testament uses the word for worship, in Greek προσκυνέω (proskuneó) 60 times. The meaning is to humble down on the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of deepest reverence. True worship is something different than singing Christian songs with that name, because worship. It is sometimes also confused with thanksgiving and praise. Thanksgiving deals with God’s goodness (Psalm 95:1-5), while praise deals with God’s greatness (Psalm 145:5). Worship is different, it is telling the Lord who he is by loving, adoring him (Psalm 95:6) and surrender of life (Romans 12:1).

Reasons to worship Jesus

The Bible mentions divine attributes of Jesus:

Jesus has all power

Jesus is all powerful and this power is of his own (Matthew 28:18; Mark 4:39, 4:41, Romans 1:4; Colossians 2:9-10; Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus is present everywhere

Jesus is present everywhere and watches over the doings of the people (Matthew 18:20, 28:20; John 1:1, 6:35, Hebrews 13:5; Revelation 1:8).

Jesus knows all

Jesus knows all hearts. He can look inside of the heart of every person (John 1:48, 2:24-25, 4:29).

Jesus has no beginning and no end

Jesus Christ is both Word of God and Spirit of God which always existed (John 1:1, 8:58 16:28; Revelation 1:8, 22:13).

Jesus is love

Jesus has tenderness and positive feelings for people without asking something back to care for his children (Matthew 12:15, 14:14 , 14:19-20; Mark 1:34, 3:10; Luke 7:21; John 1:4, 15:13).

Jesus is faithful

Jesus, the Word of God is always true and does not lie (Matthew 24:35, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 19:11-13).

Jesus is against idol worship

Jesus is against admiration or devotion to other gods or greatest life forces (Matthew 6:24, 21:12-13, Mark 7:6-7).

Jesus helps all people

Jesus wants to facilitate and serve all kind of people and other creatures (Matthew 5:44, 25:38-40; Luke 22:50-51).

Jesus is holy

Jesus is perfect and without sin, faults or weakness (Mark 14:55; John 18:38; Hebrews 4:15, 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; Revelation 3:7).

Jesus is all-wise

Jesus is the most wise person (Luke 2:46-47, Colossians 2:3, 1 Corinthians 1:24).

Jesus is the supreme judge

Jesus is the Judge at the Day of Judgment (Matthew 16:27; John 5:22; Acts 10:42, 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 12:10, 22:12).

If you do worship somebody or something who is not God you are committing sin. However, when you refuse to worship God you are also not doing God’s will. Therefore Jesus said: "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves" (John 14:11). Jesus explains that it is important to worship him, by listening to him, by putting trust in him. Jesus explained that it is more important to know him than to serve him. When Martha asked Jesus that her sister Mary should serve and stop worshiping Jesus, Jesus said: "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:38-42).

People who worshiped Jesus

The Gospel is describing how Jesus was doing worship. Jesus said: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24). “In spirit” is the movement of the Holy Spirit in our world. “In truth” means openness and proclamation of sin. Nothing can be hidden for the Lord. The Gospel mentions that Jesus was worshiped and he never stopped them:

Matthew 2:2

The magi came to worship him and nobody did an attempt to stop them.

Matthew 8:2

A man with leprosy worshiped him.

Mark 5:6

A man with an impure spirit worshiped him.

Matthew 14:33

The disciples worshiped him, saying: "truly you are the Son of God".

John 9:38

The blind man worshiped Jesus after healing.

John 20:28

Thomas worshiped Jesus as "My Lord and my God!".

Matthew 28:9

The disciples worshiped him.

Luke 24:52

The disciples worshiped Jesus with great joy.

Matthew 28:17

The disciples worshiped Jesus when they saw him.

Luke 24:52

After ascension of Jesus into heaven, the disciples worshiped him.

Revelation 5:12-14

Angels, the living creatures and elders worship Jesus.

Worship in Christian songs

Christians worship God in the presence of Jesus Christ:

 

And I will worship You, with all of my heart

I will worship You, with all of my mind

I will worship You, with all of my strength

For You are my Lord

[2]

 

I'm coming back to the heart of worship

And it's all about You

It's all about You, Jesus

[3]

Conclusion

Jesus did never force people to worship him. If he did, it would be against the way the universe had been created. People have been given a free will. Angels and robots are true command driven. Islam is full of law driven practices, party inherited from Judaism. Therefore the question about the evidence in the sayings of Jesus to worship him need to be rewritten into the question what worship is according to Jesus in the Gospel en how people reacted on that. Jesus is challenging people to make a decision to worship him. When people believe the evidence of the works Jesus did, their natural response is to worship him. The best way to worship God is by following the best example God has given to mankind. At least you should have your own opinion about Jesus. Jesus said: "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15).

Notes

  1. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II.1, The Doctrine of God, T. & T. Clark, 1980, 651.
  2. Jude del Hierro, More Love, More Power, Mercy/Vineyard (ASCAP), 1987.
  3. Matt Redman, The Heart of Worship, Album: Passion: Better Is One Day, 1999.

Does Jesus have divine attributes in the Bible?

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