Was Jesus Worshiped? - 12/24/2004

You stated that Dan Brown was wong in saying that Jesus was not worsiped by early Christians. While it is true that the bible does refer to him as god or lord and other titles depending on the translation it is not true that this is a mark of worship. By being called lord it was simply stating that he was above his disciples. In fact, Jesus denied being worshipped and denied becoming king over the people while on earth.




CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:

 
I'm afraid you're incorrect here, Shane.  There is a great deal of Scriptural evidence that Jesus Christ is God.  The evidence is comprised not only of specific statements, but also in prophecy fulfillment and his attributes.  First, let’s look at some of explicit Scriptural evidence. 

 

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.” – John 1:1, 18
  • “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” – John 20:28

I want to pause just a moment to discuss the verses above.  The Greek word for God is theos.  In John 1:1, we read that the Word (Jesus) was with theos and was indeed theos.  Jesus was (and is) God!  This is a very powerful statement!  The word theos is used not only in John 1:1, but also in verse 18 and in John 20:28.  Theos is used in the New Testament in reference to Jehovah/Yahweh God.  Theos is also used in reference to Jesus.  We’re beginning to see the plurality found within the one triune God. 

 

  • "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." – Revelation 4:11 (the words of the 24 elders to Jesus). 
  • “…Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” – Acts 20:28

Once again, in the verses above Jesus is referred to as theos.  In Acts 20:28, we know that Jesus shed His blood for the church, and as one person of the triune God, this action is the action of God.  Now let’s look at some common compound references to Jesus:

 

  • “…the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” – Titus 2:13
  • “…To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” – 2 Peter 1:1

In the passages above, both “God” and “Savior” are used in reference to Jesus Christ.  There is no division of the clause.  Scholar Robert Reymond writes, “The two nouns [‘God’ and ‘Savior’] both stand under the regimen of the single definitive article preceding ‘God,’ indicating…that they are to be construed corporately, not separately, or that they have a single referent.” In other words, attempts to divide this clause into a reference to God and a separate reference to Jesus as Savior fly against the Greek grammatical construct.  These verses provide additional powerful and clear evidence that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh God.  Let’s now turn our attention to more verses that reveal Jesus to be Jehovah/Yahweh.

 

  • “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…. for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” – Romans 10:9,13.  Note: Paul reveals Jesus to be the same “Lord” referred to in Joel 2:32, which he quotes.  In Joel 2:32, “LORD” is Jehovah/Yahweh. 
  • “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11.  Note: “Lord” = Jehovah/Yahweh. 
  • “…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:3.  This verse is taken almost identically from Psalms 34:8, where “Lord” is Jehovah/Yahweh.  From the verses that follow verse 3, it is clear this is a reference to Jesus. 

Another way we know that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh comes from the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy.  Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”  This verse is part of an oracle given by Jehovah/Yahweh.  This passage starts off in verse 1, “This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares…” Jehovah/Yahweh prophesies that He will be pierced.  It is widely accepted among scholarly circles that this was fulfilled in the crucifixion and spearing of Jesus Christ.  This is confirmed in Revelation 1:7 wherein we read concerning Jesus, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.”  This is important enough to go over again.  In Zechariah 12:10, Jehovah/Yahweh prophesies that He (Jehovah/Yahweh) will be pierced, and people will mourn for Him.  Jesus Christ is pierced through his hands and feet at his crucifixion, and pierced through the side with a spear while on the cross.  Revelation 1:7 confirms this fulfillment of prophecy.  Conclusion?  Jesus Christ is Jehovah/Yahweh!

 

Another evidence that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh comes from His role as Savior.  Isaiah 43:11 says, “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.”  Yet Jesus is referred to many times in the New Testament as our Savior (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Phi. 3:20; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:10; Tit 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Pet. 1:1,11; 2:20; 3:2,18; 1 John 4:14).

 

Further evidence comes from the fact that Jesus has many of the attributes of God:

  • Creator of all things (John 1:3, 1 Cor. 8:6; Col 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 3:14)
  • Unchanging (Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8)
  • Eternal (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2)
  • Omniscient (John 16:30)
  • Omnipresent (Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Col. 3:11)

In John 8:58, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!"  The Jews who heard this picked up stones to stone Him.  Why?  Because they knew he was claiming to be God -- blasphemy in their eyes.  First, this verse points to his eternality.  He existed before Abraham!  Second, this is a clear reference to Exodus 3:14, in which God calls Himself "I Am". 

 

Jesus repeatedly refers to Himself as "Son of Man" throughout the gospels.  This is a reference to Daniel's prophetic vision in Daniel 7:13-14, "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."

 

You said Jesus never accepted worship?  Not true!  In John 9:35-39 we read the following exchange:

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
36"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
37Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
38Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.
39Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

I could go on and on, but not without reprinting the bulk of the New Testament, including the gospels.  It is clear from the Scriptural evidence that Jesus is God.  He is the LORD (Jehovah/Yahweh) of the Old Testament, and therefore is the one true elohim or theos.  He shares this role as God with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  I encourage you to read through the gospels.  See if you don't find a very different Jesus than the fictional one presented by Mr. Brown.

 
In Christ,
 
Ben Rast
Contender Ministries