Follow Me: “And They Worshiped Him”

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“And They Worshiped Him”

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Follow Me: “And They Worshiped Him”

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Unlike meeting any other person who’s ever walked the earth, when encountering Jesus of Nazareth a decision is made that affects one’s every future outcome. All people, you included, will either accept Him or reject Him. You might ignore Him, but that is just indirect rejection. Jesus’ ageless, piercing question of “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15 Matthew 16:15He said to them, But whom say you that I am?
American King James Version×
) is always before us. And He wants to see how we will respond.

Even our positive response like that of the disciple Peter—“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 Matthew 16:16And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
American King James Version×
)—is merely a starting point and not the finish line of our journey of life-altering acceptance of Jesus’ beckoning of “Follow Me.” The walk of faith encompasses an expanding awareness of whom we follow, as we become further convicted of His self-disclosure, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×
).

This revelation is given new life, again and again, as we are confronted and molded through life’s experiences toward one inevitable response—our personal worship of Jesus Christ along with our Heavenly Father. Yes, the One the Father gave us as the centerpiece of His plan of redemptive salvation (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
; Ephesians 1:10 Ephesians 1:10That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
American King James Version×
).

How then do we come to actively do this, acknowledging this One of whom the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mathew 3:17)—and thus express worship? Let’s explore how Scripture integrates faith and worship regarding this One who was called both the Son of Man and the Son of God, as capsulized in the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
American King James Version×
—“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given …” We will come to see that from His birth until now, Jesus is rightly worshiped and praised.

What is worship, and whom are we to worship?

The original biblical Greek term most frequently translated into the English word “worship” is proskuneo, defined as “to make obeisance, do reverence towards” ( Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words )—showing deep adoration and submission.

To whom should this be directed?

In revealing to ancient Israel His mind and heart through the Ten Commandments, God specifically states in the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3 Exodus 20:3You shall have no other gods before me.
American King James Version×
). And He specifies in the Second Commandment against idolatrous images: “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5 Exodus 20:5You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
American King James Version×
). Later in Isaiah 42:8 Isaiah 42:8I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
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He exclaims, “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another.”

Why is God so adamant here? The all-powerful Creator is above the entire created realm. People—and for that matter the spiritually created angelic realm—do not possess the unique characteristics of God. Moreover, God is not dependent on other life forms for His continuing existence, having life in Himself, solely and completely.

It is God who creates, forgives sin, foretells the future, heals and raises the dead, and only God is deemed worthy of whole-hearted devotional reverence, homage or praise—of worship!

All that said, do you realize that during His earthly ministry Jesus never forbade or refused people’s worship of Him? This is unlike the angels who would hastily reply to any worship of them, “Don’t!” (see Revelation 19:10 Revelation 19:10And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
American King James Version×
; 22:8-9). How can this be?

The apostle John provides the answer in John 1. He states in verses 1-4: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made [created] through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life [inherent existence], and the life was the light of men” (emphasis added throughout). The apostle then solidifies who this “Word” is by stating in verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us [referring to Jesus, the Son of Man], and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

So before anything else there were two who were both God, sharing the same glory. And One, the Word, became a human being—God in the flesh who was still worthy of worship. In fact, God the Father has ordained “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (John 5:23 John 5:23That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.
American King James Version×
).

Worship of Christ in His human life

Let’s notice a few examples in the Gospels of Christ being worshiped while on earth and draw some personal lessons.

We begin with the wise men of the East who came from a distance following the starry GPS God provided to guide them to the King who had been born. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 Matthew 2:11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
American King James Version×
).

Symbolically, the gold pointed to Christ’s kingship, frankincense to His holiness and function as our High Priest, and myrrh, often used as a burial ointment, to His sacrificial death for us.

Now, in responding to the calling of “Follow Me,” it remains for us to answer these questions: Are we, like the wise men, willing to go the distance? Are we willing to kneel—not only on our knees but allowing our hearts to kneel before Christ and the Father? And will we give our best, whatever it may be—spiritually, mentally, emotionally or in offering—in personal worship of the One who was born to be our King?

Later during Christ’s earthly ministry we discover Him being worshiped again and again. We see where “a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean’” (Matthew 8:2 Matthew 8:2And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.
American King James Version×
).

We further discover the disciples out in the midst of a stormy Sea of Galilee with Christ walking towards them (Matthew 14:22-31 Matthew 14:22-31 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him to the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the middle of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spoke to them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be you, bid me come to you on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
American King James Version×
). And when He and Peter got into the boat (after Peter’s faith lesson on water), “the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:32-33 Matthew 14:32-33 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth you are the Son of God.
American King James Version×
).

“I was blind but now I see!”

Perhaps one of the most telling stories involving worshiping Jesus is found in the entirety of John 9. It’s the story of a young man blind from birth being healed by Christ. His neighbors can scarcely believe it. Yet his rejoicing is dimmed by confrontation with the religious authorities of that day. His own parents distance themselves from him due to the pressure. And he is ultimately cast out of his “hometown congregation.”

The newly sighted man has a gradually expanding perspective of who healed him. He first identifies Him as “a Man called Jesus” (John 9:11 John 9:11He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
American King James Version×
), and then under further examination by others declares, “He is a prophet” (John 9:17 John 9:17They say to the blind man again, What say you of him, that he has opened your eyes? He said, He is a prophet.
American King James Version×
). But he has still further to go.

When the healed man is thrown out of the House of the Lord, the Lord of the House, as the Good Shepherd, searches and finds him. And Jesus asks him a question: “Do you believe in the Son of God?” (John 9:35 John 9:35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God?
American King James Version×
).

Then the man “answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.’ Then he said, ‘Lord I believe!’ And he worshiped Him” (John 9:36-38 John 9:36-38 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said to him, You have both seen him, and it is he that talks with you. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
American King James Version×
).

This story of the man who proclaimed, “I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25 John 9:25He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
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, New International Version) grants us insight into how we grow in awareness as we stay the course on the path set before us.

Increasingly, we see that Jesus Christ is far more than a good man or another man of God, but is the Son of God, who was God in the flesh and is now returned to divine glory with the Father—and that He is worthy of worship. He is unique—utterly distinct from any other entity humanity elects to follow or worship.

His was a very real hand that extended to the leper and healed him. And it’s the same sacrificial hand extended for healing us from the spiritual leprosy of our sins.

It’s the hand extended to Peter in the stormy seas, raising him up with assurance of further opportunity to walk this walk, while calming the storm for the others in the boat. This same hand of the very Prince of Peace calms our own storms, around and within, as He reminds us, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
American King James Version×
).

This is the same One who knows exactly where we are when others have abandoned us, as with the newly healed man, and who as God along with the Father promises us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
American King James Version×
; see Deuteronomy 31:6 Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD your God, he it is that does go with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you.
American King James Version×
). The risen Christ told His disciples before He departed from them, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 Matthew 28:20Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×
).

May our response be as theirs when He ascended to heaven: “And they worshiped Him” (Luke 24:52 Luke 24:52And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
American King James Version×
).

True worship!

Our ultimate worship of Almighty God, both the Father and His Son, is a matter of the Spirit that arises not from terror-driven compulsion and appeasement, but from out-flowing love, gratitude and trust with amazement and awe.

And our fullest form of worship toward God the Father and Jesus Christ is not a momentary acknowledgment through choice words or bended knee, but a transformed Christlike existence in which far more than a knee bends. Our whole heart is molded into seeking our Heavenly Father’s will and not our own.

Ultimate worship is giving our self away every day and, as the Father wills, submitting to Christ as the Lord of our life, allowing Him to sit on the throne of our hearts and guide us into becoming “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1 Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
American King James Version×
).

Surely such worship prompts our Heavenly Father to lean over to Christ at His right hand and say, “These are My beloved children, in whom I am well pleased.”

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