Did They Really Worship Jesus - Matt 2:11

Did They Really Worship Jesus - Matt 2:11

The Greek word that is often translated ‘worship’, is defined by Louw Nida: to express by attitude and possibly by position one’s allegiance to and regard for deity—‘to prostrate oneself in worship, to bow down and worship, to worship. Strong’s defines it: “in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication. 3a used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank. 3a1 to the Jewish high priests. 3a2 to God. 3a3 to Christ. 3a4 to heavenly beings. 3a5 to demons.”

Strong’s definition is based upon the fact that the word  IS used in non-religious ways, and retains its meaning of bowing before men: 26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before (Gk. Proskunew) him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' (Matthew 18:26).

BUT it also was used even as we use the word ‘worship’, that is, in a religious sense, as recognized by Louw Nida.

In the temptation of Jesus, Satan asked Jesus to worship him. Jesus refused by quoting the statement that man is to ‘worship’ only God (Matt. 4:9-10). In John 4, the Samaritan woman spoke of her ‘fathers’ worshiping at Mt. Gerizim where they had built a temple for that very purpose. Jesus responded: “You worship what you do not know, we worship what we know’. He went on to speak of true worshipers who worship the Father, even stating that those who so worship God must worship in spirit and in truth.

So we see that some Greeks went to the feast in Jerusalem TO WORSHIP (John 12:20). Also, the Eunuch had come to Jerusalem TO WORSHIP (Acts 8:27); and Paul also said he went up to Jerusalem ‘to worship’ (Acts 24:11). Both Lydia and Titus Justus were ‘worshipers of God’ (Acts 16:14; 18:13).  In 1 Cor. 14:25,  visitors to the assembly of the church will worship God. In Heb. 11:21 Jacob was said to ‘worship, leaning upon his staff’. God is continually ‘worshiped’ in Revelation: Rev. 7:11; 11:1, 16; 13:8; 14:7; 15:4; 19:4). It was also used of the ‘worship’ of idols by Israel in the wilderness (Acts 7:43).

As you read through the gospels you see where people were said to ‘worship Jesus’. Did they just bow before him as a human of higher rank, or did they ‘worship’ or just ‘bow’ before Him?

The Hebrew writer, in speaking of the son and attributing unto Him the being of God (cp. Heb. 1:8, 9), quotes that God commands the angels to WORSHIP JESUS (Heb. 1:6; Psa. 97:7). The apostles, having experienced Jesus calming the storm on the sea of Galilee, WORSHIPED Him (Matt. 14:33). The blind man, having been healed and being informed that Jesus was the Son of God, worshiped him (John 9:38). Upon seeing Jesus alive and well, but whom they watched die and be buried several days earlier, the women worshiped Jesus (Matt. 28:9). Then, after being with Jesus for some 40 days after His resurrection, upon watching Jesus ascend back into heaven, the apostles ‘worshiped Him’ (Matt. 28:17).

Rev. 4:10 the 24 elders ‘fall down’ (from Gk. Pimpto, not proskeunew), and WORSHIP (proskuenew) GOD. Then, as the scene continues, the four living creatures do the same thing with Jesus: they fall down before him and WORSHIP (Rev. 5:14).

So, while we are instructed to NOT worship men (Acts 10:26; 14:15), angels (Rev. 11:1; 19:10; 22:8), idols and false gods (Acts 7:43; Rev. 13:4, 15; 14:9,11; 16:2  ), and even Satan (Matt. 4:4-5), we are both commanded and shown by example that Jesus IS TO BE WORSHIPED.

Are YOU joining in the worship of Jesus?   

Hugh DeLong