“Who do you think Jesus really is?” (17)
When we’re asked, “who should you worship?’ We would spontaneously reply, “God!” Some of us may even add, “it is God alone that worthy of our praise. There should no be no other person or thing beside God!” This is a very true answer, since it was listed as the first commandment of the Ten Commandments, which sounds,
“You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them;…..” (Exodus 20:3-5a, Amplified Bible)
We would come across the some resemblance of this commandment in the Bible such as in Deuteronomy 6:13 which says,
“Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.” (NIV)
In New Testament (NT), Jesus once quoted this verse to rebuke Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness saying,
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:10, NIV)
In addition to that, Jesus brought forward another version of this commandment accompanied by the reason behind it, although He was specifically talking about the problem money or wealth may bring to its owner. He said,
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in). (Matthew 6:24, Amplified Bible)
The last two verses clearly show that Jesus was fully aware of the serious demand of this first commandment that He began His explanation about the ‘Law of Love’ with this most important creed known as “Shema” which sounds,
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Mark 12:29, NIV)
Many people have used this “Shema” to deny the Holy Trinity and called some Christians as pagans. This is an interesting subject to talk about, but for now let us just take the essence of it which basically tells us that, “It is God alone that should be worshiped.”
With this “Shema” in our mind, let us look at some evidence in the NT that may lead us to realize who Jesus really is, although in His indescribably humble personality He never directly says so.
The first evidence recorded in the NT took place when Jesus was just a very little boy. The wise man from the east followed a star to Bethlehem to see the new born King. When they found the house where Jesus lived, it was recorded that,
“And they entered into the house, and found the child with Mary, his mother; and they felled down, and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they offered to him gifts, gold, incense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11, Wycliffe New Testament)
While Mary may keep this in her heart, Jesus was just too young to give His opinion regarding the event that the wise men fell down and worshiped Him. Even so, we can be sure that worshiping Jesus is not against God’s commandment for it is written that,
“And when he brought his firstborn Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6, New Living Translation)
I am not so sure whether this truth was well known among the Jews but the NT shows us what a Jewish leader of synagogue did when he came to meet Jesus.
“While He was talking this way to them, behold, a ruler entered and, kneeling down, worshiped Him, saying, My daughter has just [a]now died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will come to life.” (Matthew 9:18, New Living Translation)
This leader knelt down before Jesus and worship Him, and he did not get any rejection whatsoever from the very Person who once rebuked Satan with the “Shema” and told the Jews that “It is God alone that should be worshiped.” This Jesus did not hush Thomas when out of his awe he said,
“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28, NIV)
It was also recorded in the NT that Jesus taught regularly in the Synagogue and as a result, Luke 4:15 says,
“He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.” (New Living Translation)
This verse reveals that the people gave Jesus praise or ‘glorified Him’ as Young’s Literal Translation put it, repeatedly. We would not find even one verse or part of a verse where Jesus ever denied these praises. Jesus accepted all praises! Let us not be deceived by a trivial interpretation of Mark 10:18 that Jesus refused to be treated equal with God. This verse which says,
“”Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” (NIV)
does not prove that Jesus denied to be equalized to God, but brings forth the very important fact the man should be fully aware when he calls Jesus, ‘good,’ which means placing Jesus at the same rank with God. In other words, Jesus seemed to say, “Do you know what you are saying?” Jesus never said, “You are making a mistake by calling Me good.”
We can use the following verse to verify the above statement that Jesus never rejects praises. After miraculously fed the multitude of more than 5000 people, walking on the sea and allow Peter to walk with Him,
“And they, that were in the boat, came, and worshipped him, and said [saying], Verily, thou art God’s Son.” (Matthew 14:33, Wycliffe New Testament)
To this moment, Jesus had never implicitly or explicitly rejected any straightforward praise from people. There are also evident in the NT that Jesus was also praised (but not in a forthright manner) or was considered worthy to be praised. The first example we would like to see was coming from His brother James, who wrote,
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.” (James 1:1, NIV)
We had been told so far that it is God alone that we should serve and worship, and we cannot serve two masters at the same time. Now we are facing the fact that James serves God and Jesus at the same time. James can only be found not guilty if his two Masters he faithfully serves in here are actually of the same person.
James is not standing alone in this matter, for the apostle Paul also did the same thing and even more. In his letter to the Galatians Paul wrote,
“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—“ (Galatians 1:1, NIV)
Paul also puts Jesus in the same level with God. Moreover, by telling that he was not sent by men but by Jesus Christ and God, Paul had made a very clear confession that Jesus Christ was not just a man. Since He couldn’t have been an angel either, then Jesus must have been God – in flesh.
Now let us look at the benediction the apostle often used to start or to end their letters to the church. One of many benedictions I’d like to look first is the following.
“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7, NIV)
We all agree that the source of true grace and peace is God alone. Now, Paul was telling the Romans – and showed to us that Jesus is also the authorized source of them. The same structure of benediction can also be found in 2 Thessalonians 1:2. In order to not having two different sources of source of grace, then we have to accept that Jesus and God are One Person as Jesus once said (John 10:30).
More incredibly, it is evident in the NT that Jesus was also exalted as a source of grace as is read in Romans 16:20, saying,
“…The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (NIV)
or in 1 Thessalonians 5:28 which says,
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (NIV)
The same benediction is found also in Acts 15:11, 1 Corinthians 16:23, Philippians 4:23, Philemon 1:25, and in Revelation 22:21. This benediction clearly reveals Jesus’ divine identity as the perfect image of God (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).
There are no two sources of grace! There are no two different Gods to be worshiped! There are no separated Almighty Gods as the Father and the Son! And there are no two different Creators as the Lord and God. We are looking at the same an only true and living God Who is worthy to receive our praise as “Shema” demands.
As a matter of fact I would like to greet you all with the benediction the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians church which sounds,
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV)
and I truly mean it.