“And Jesus answered and said to him (Satan), “It is written, “You shall worship the lord your God and serve him only.”“ (Luke 4:8).
After a victory over Satan, during which he affirmed that God is the one and only legitimate object of man”s worship (Matt. 4:10), Jesus accepted worship from lepers (Matt. 8:2). Jairus, a chief ruler of the synagogue, came and worshiped Jesus, begging Jesus to bring his daughter back to life (Matt. 9:18;Mk. 5:22ff). A man to whom Jesus gave sight worshiped Jesus (John 9:35-38). How is it that Jesus accepted this worship, having just repelled Satan by saying man ought not worship anyone but God?
It has been argued there is no command for anyone to worship Jesus. The instances of men falling before him to worship were alleged to be mere natural reactions to his manifestation of miraculous powers. At the same time it is contended that Jesus was only able to perform miracles, just like the apostles, being empowered by the Holy Spirit. Yet no apostle ever accepted the worship of mere men (Acts 10:25-26). An apostle, empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak infallibly and perform miracles, signs, and wonders, was just a man.
Apostles were great men, but never worthy of worship. If Jesus was empowered exactly like the apostles, if the nature of Jesus was no different than the apostles, if there was nothing in him that would distinguish him from ordinary men, what gave him the right to accept worship? The natural reaction of Cornelius was to fall down before Peter and worship him. Peter would not allow it. Why would Peter not have had the same right to accept worship that Jesus had? What was different about Jesus?
There is but one reason why Jesus accepted worship. The difference between Peter and Jesus was that Jesus was deity living in a human body and Peter was just a man empowered by the Holy Spirit. While in the flesh Jesus lost none of his deity. He was, even in a human body, fully God. This is the only explanation why he could legitimately accept the worship of men. Is there any other explanation?
If, in the flesh, Jesus was stripped of his divine glory, honor, powers, privileges, and attributes of deity, how could he legitimately accept the worship of men? If he “emptied” himself of his deity, what right did he, a man now empty of deity he formerly had, have to accept worship? If he was a limited deity, fully man but only partially God, or nearly God, he would not qualify. Because Jesus was fully man and fully God it was right for men to worship him and right for him to accept it.
Is there a command to worship Jesus? There was to angels. “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:6). But what about men? “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Heb. 1:8-9). This is a quote from Psalm 45:6-7. Psalm 45:11 reads, “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” This is a reference to the Son, who is also called God.
It is not an issue of whether there is a command for men to worship Jesus. The issue is was it right or wrong for him to allow it to even happen. Ordinary men should not let it occur. Jesus did. Was Jesus just an ordinary man like the rest of human kind?
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