It seems to me that the best way to approach this question is to look at what the Christians at the time of the apostles did. If they worshipped Jesus then we should probably do so too. If they did not worship Jesus then we should not.

In recent book entitled Did the first Christians worship Jesus? (SPCK, 2010), Professor James Dunn has explored the NT evidence for the practice of early Christians. This includes a detailed discussion of the worship-words used in the NT. It is worth summarising his conclusions.

Worship-words applied only to God
latreuein (lit. “to serve”) – denotes cultic worship
sebein (lit. “to worship”) – denotes worship of a god, perhaps including attachment
ainein (lit. “to praise”) – denotes praise of God (as opposed to epainein which is used of praise of other individuals)
eucharistein (lit. “to give thanks”) – in the context of prayer, denotes giving thanks (to God) (Note: in other contexts eucharistein is used of humans; cf. Luke 17:16, Rom 16:4)
eulogetos (lit. “blessed”) – used in benediction of God
proseuchesthai (lit. “to pray”) – prayer to a god

Worship-words applied to Jesus
proskynein (lit. “to bow”) – denotes homage before a monarch or a superior
epikaleisthai (lit. “to call upon”) – denotes appeal or innovocation (e.g. prayer)
phobein (lit. “to fear”) – in a religious context denotes reverence (Eph 5:21)
charis (lit. “grace”) – can be used to express gratitude, sometimes in the form of prayer (1 Tim 1:12)
doxazein (lit. “to glory”) – used in variety of contexts of honouring someone
deesthai (lit. “to ask”) – used in variety of contexts of making requests of someone
parakalein (lit. “to urge”) – as well as everyday sense of urging, can be used of requests made in prayer (2 Cor 12:8-9)

From this survey of worship-words we can detect a distinct pattern. Some words are reserved for God alone. These words are usually those with strong religious connotations. Other words are used of Jesus. These are usually those which can be used in a variety of contexts, though some have a religious aspects and are used as such of Jesus. This indicates that the early Christians worshipped God (as God) and honoured Jesus (as Lord).

So there is a sense in which we should reverence Jesus. We should offer him honour and praise, and can approach him in prayer to express our gratitude and even to appeal to him for help. However, like the early Christians, we should reserve a special worship for God alone, to whom we offer praise, blessing and our service, and to whom we make our prayers.

Footnotes :
The Greek Old Testament naturally forbids the Jews to proskynein (lit. “to bow”) to idols or “other gods” (Exodus 20:5  οὐ προσκυνήσεις αὐτοῖς ; Exodus 34:14  οὐ γὰρ μὴ προσκυνήσητε θεῷ ἑτέρῳ ). But does not forbid bowing down to monarchs.

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One Response to Should we worship Jesus?

  1. Sothie says:

    Let us stick with the bible shall we……we don’t know the intentions of that professor,so to a point,its just one of his opinions-let the bible tell.

    Its clear in Isiah 42:8……God will not share His Glory with Man “I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images.” Exodus 20:3 3. “You shall have no other gods before me.”

    In the verses that I have read “worship” has never been described……havent come across where the word “worship” was used and God smiled at it. Ohh He makes no exceptions to that, Exodus 34:14. “for you shall worship no other god: for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

    Now Jesus being sinless,righteous man….even Son of God…declaired by God Himself…should I bring a verse for that too…….He knew this rule more than anyone else…..just no one knows God any better. John 8:19 “You know neither me, nor my Father”

    This “all knowing Father” met the devil in Matthew 4:9-10, the devil said “I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.” Notice fall down and worship. Jesus answered You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.'” He couldn’t know God any better.

    Here is the funny part……Thomas said to this “all knowing God-guy”, “My Lord and my God!”…..Ooshhhh. in Matthew 2:11 “They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they FELL DOWN and WORSHIPPED HIM”….isnt that the very same thing He said NAH to the devil…..maybe He didn’t see this one because He was still a baby in diapers.

    But now He is all grown up that this leaper comes and WORSHIP Jesus saying “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.” WOW.And a blind man in John 9:38 said, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped him. I mean WOW……..shouldnt we do things to God alone? What does this all knowing God guy say to this…..NOTHING…..does He at least get mad….NOPE….did He and the one who sent Him know we would hear about these things…..of course they did… would the Holy Spirit inspire the writters to write as such….BECAUSE ITS THE TRUTH.

    Jesus doesn’t say NO to the worship or at least say the right way of doing it-the lesser way, NONE OF IT;because He knows He deserves it. Cornelius fell down and worshipped Peter in Acts 10:25-26….did Peter smile? Nah He said “Stand up! I myself am also a man.” Why couldn’t Jesus do that, was He getting too comfortable with God, was pride and honour nailing Him down? NOPE….why is that…because He knew no sin….a verse on that too? In Revelation 19:9-10 John fell down and worshipped an angel…did he take it….he said this instead “Look! Don’t do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” And this was much later after Jesus in the fresh was gone……if God was mad or wanted to make things clear on the value we should give Jesus,He could have defined it…..He could have told John to write about it……He is a jealous God……..for unknown reason He tells about it…….wow!!!!!!!

    Here is a man PETER denying worship…..and here is an angel too denying it…..this angel points out something even more crazy…”I AM A SERVANT LIKE YOU” What kind of a servant is Jesus that takes WORSHIP?Unless He is God.

    Jesus says…WORSHIP GOD……the angel tells John WORSHIP GOD….GOD THE FATHER(Jesus’ DAD) tells angels in Hebrews 1:6 “Let all the angels of God(dad) WORSHIP him(JESUS).” Does God define how Jesus should be worshipped? NOPE…….is He finally saying to you about it…..MAYBE.God’s word doesn’t go blank……maybe its time hahahahah

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