The Divinity of Christ, part 13
Only God is worthy of worship
We continue with our plethora of proofs of the divinity (deity) of Jesus Christ. This section has to do with worship. When I was a boy, being raised as a Roman Catholic, I became aware that we—the Catholics—were often criticized by the Protestants because they said we worshiped Mary and the saints.
I was told by the priests and nuns that while we did pray to Mary and the dead saints, we actually did not worship them, we venerated them, and that supposedly there is a fine distinction between worship and veneration. I did not question my superiors at that time, and I had the “party line” memorized and was ready to answer any Protestant challengers. The truth is, though, that the Latin origin of the word clearly shows its meaning is to worship and the word probably derives from the Roman goddess, Venus. For example, see here: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/venerate
The point is that even the Roman Catholics understand that, in a religious context, no one is to be worshiped except God and Him alone. With that in mind, let us now examine some Scripture passages which show various people worshiping or attempting to worship someone.
When the apostle John was having his apocalyptic visions on the isle of Patmos—which became our book of Revelation—the angel who was showing him these things showed him a vision of God being worshiped.
Revelation 19: 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
Down to verse 10. John is so awestruck and amazed at what he is seeing that he begins to worship the angel.
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
So if, in a religious context, we are not to worship immortal angels, then certainly we are not to worship mere mortals, are we? Yet Jesus was worshiped on a number of occasions and He had ample opportunity to rebuke the worshiper as the angel did John. Yet, a search of the gospel record will prove that Christ Jesus never rebuked anyone for worshiping Him. Here is one such example.
Matthew 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
“And remember one more thing: you really shouldn’t be going ga-ga and worshiping Me because I am just your brother and a fellow servant.” … Obviously, I added that last part. Jesus clearly approved of and accepted worship from this leper. Now to John 20. This is the famous scene of Resurrection Sunday evening where Jesus appeared in the room where the disciples were gathered. We pick up the story in…
John 20: 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Question: Did Jesus immediately scold Thomas saying: “Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, don’t you get it yet? I’m not Gaw-w-w-d; I’m just the Son of God, like you’re all sons of God, too. So, be careful how you address me, Tommy, don’t call me God because I’m not, okay?”
No, Jesus obviously allowed Thomas’ declaration that Jesus is God to stand unchallenged; which is assent by silence. Here is how Jesus actually responded.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
There are two things to zero in on in verse 31: the phrase “the Son of God,” and “ye might have life.” John has just stated that what he has written was for the purpose that we would believe. Believe what? Believe: (1) that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah and (2) believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In order to grasp the full significance of this phrase “the Son of God,” we need to go back to John 5, verse 18.
John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
You see, the Jews correctly understood that when our Lord claimed that He was the Son of God, He was in fact claiming to be God. But the teachers of the Arian heresy might object by answering that we Christians all have the power to become the sons of God, but as I discussed in a previous essay in this series, there was a uniqueness about the Sonship of Jesus. Our sonship is inferior to that of Jesus. When we manifest as the sons of God, we will not actually be God, as Jesus is.
Now I am aware that the higher levels of Mormonism, and the Unity cult, founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, along with numerous New Age cults all teach that ultimately we can all become God and equal with the Father. In my opinion, that is spiritual arrogance and self-deception of the highest order.
You and I are not and never will be God as Jesus was and is. He is the firstborn and He is also the ONLY begotten Son of God—no earthly Father. We are the sons of God by adoption, and for that reason, we can cry out to Him in a very personal way by calling him “Daddy” “Abba, Father.” That is what the Bible teaches, and I am content with that, are you?
The second phrase we’re zeroing in on has to do with life, meaning eternal life, of course, immortality. John said that “I wrote this good news account of Jesus so that believing, you would have immortality.” Consider the following:
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, ….etc.
We see that the LORD God, or Yahweh, IS our life. And in the NT, we are all familiar with the claims of Jesus—I will give you two instances where He claimed the very same thing.
John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
You see, this is what is unique about Christianity and another reason why the deity of Christ is so important. No other religion in the world claims that their key figure—Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed—none of those religions claim that their main man actually was and is God, the one and only Supreme Being of the universe. Only Christianity makes that claim. And so, if Jesus actually is God, then it elevates Christianity as the only true path to God. And that is exactly what Jesus claimed when he said in….
John 14:6 … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
When we really examine this issue of the deity of Christ, we find that not only can we prove it abundantly from Scripture upon Scripture upon Scripture—praise God that we can, because if Jesus were not God, then we would have no hope of eternal life. Because it is clear that no other religion even makes the claim, let alone can prove it. Praise ye the Lord!