Worship

As a result of his resurrection, Jesus was worshipped

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Read: Matthew 28

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. (Matthew 28:8-9)

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. (Matthew 28:16-17)

Reflect:

“The worshipped him.” Worship. This is the first fundamental change in Jesus’ followers after his resurrection from the dead. As well as following him, listening to his teaching and trying to imitate his way of life, as any disciple did with their rabbi, now Jesus’ followers began to worship him.

According to my Oxford Dictionary of English, worship (as a verb) means “to show reverence and adoration of a deity.” As I followed the rabbit trail of words associated with worship in the Oxford Dictionary, I came across words like reverence and respect, adoration and admiration, veneration. These are deep, strong responses that are only appropriate in response to a divine being, a deity.

As a result of his resurrection, Jesus’ followers began to show reverence for him that was only appropriate for a divine being, for God. They hadn’t worshipped Jesus before his death. So, what changed?

Jesus had told his followers he would be put to death and three days later, rise. But now God had done it. Jesus had been dead and now he was alive again. Clearly this could only be the work of God. So the disciples realised, deep in their souls, that Jesus Christ truly was (as he still is!) God himself. So, naturally, they worshipped him.

Some doubted. That’s also natural… it’s not like this had ever happened before. The most similar incidents (such as the raising of Lazarus) were all deeds of Jesus as well. But through their doubt and confusion, the disciples realised that Jesus was different. Jesus was not merely a man, Jesus was also God.

crux:

As a result of his resurrection, Jesus was worshipped – reverenced and adored as God himself.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

I confess it is easy for me to slip into thinking of Jesus as only a man; a superior, marvellous man. I somehow forget that he is God. Or I say it, but somehow it doesn’t sink in deeply. So I think intellectually, academically, “Jesus is God” but I do not worship Jesus, I do not really respond to Jesus as divine.

Please help me to worship Jesus. May I adore Jesus, admiring all his lovely attributes and achievements. May I reverence Jesus, respecting him for his qualities and abilities. May I love him and enjoy him, tremble before him and fear him.

Amen.

Authority

The Father has authority over the Son and both have authority over me

Read: Matthew 4

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” (Matthew 4:8-10)

Reflect:

The devil is also called “the tempter” (4:3) and “Satan” which means “the accuser” (4:10) in this chapter.

Jesus was tempted because, led by the Spirit (4:1) he made himself vulnerable to temptation. But Jesus did not give in to the temptation because he was equipped to repudiate the tempter. Jesus knew Scripture and was able to use it as a sword (Ephesians 6:17) against the devil, remaining sinless.

In his third attempt to tempt Jesus, the devil offered all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if only Jesus would worship the devil. There is great irony in Satan’s presumption in attempting to barter worldly kingdoms with God’s anointed king, the King of all kings. It was a bit like the tenant of a house offering to give the house to its legal owner for the price of an entire town’s worth of houses.

Satan does have power in the world today. John wrote “we know that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). But even if the devil does have power at present, this power is temporary. He is only a tenant, not the true owner. Satan’s power and authority is limited.

But the devil has no authority at all over Jesus. Jesus knew the only entity with greater authority than himself was his Father in heaven. He deferred to the Father’s authority when he used Scripture as the basis for rejecting Satan’s scheme.

Satan uses this same method to tempt today, just as he also did in the time of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-5). He makes false promises and tricks people into thinking his way will yield power, but he only offers slavery. Like Jesus, I must “not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27).

crux:

The Father has authority over the Son and both have authority over me.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Almighty.

You have power to rebuke the devil so I do not need to fear his schemes. Please continue to protect me because I belong to you; Jesus has redeemed me from the devil’s slavery.

Please help me to submit to your authority. May I know your word. May your Spirit guide me to know how Scripture applies to my situation.

Be my Rabbi, my Teacher. Show me yourself and inspire me to worship you. How could I not worship you, when you are so great? LORD, help me to surrender to your authority.

May I be willing and eager to walk in your ways, to follow Christ, to be led by the Spirit. Soften my heart to you and take my pride. Open my ears to you, and shut down the voice of the devil. Open my eyes to your glory, and blind me to the tempter’s lures. May I be wholly yours.

Amen.