To even approach this subject takes some nerve. Many would say, “It’s too personal.” They would probably be right. If you know what worship is, read no further. Maybe you think no person should be worshipped.
But why do we worship? What do we worship? Let’s use the word ‘admire’. “I admire your self control. I get mad real easy.” You can admire a character trait of another. These used to be called virtues.
But it goes deeper. We have a need or at least, a desire to admire a person, a leader. If this was not true, how would we explain the influence of one person over many. “They would follow him anywhere.”
We have an internal image of a great person. If someone fills that with reality, we follow them. If you go to a museum, you will see a statue on a pedestal. People will admire it. Take the statue of Venus. This is a made-up person that represents something. The statue I’m thinking of does not even have arms. It’s still on a pedestal.
We will remember a hero. A great leader is represented by a statue. Even if people take down the statue, it is significant. Because they feel this person of the past is no longer to be admired. But the statue was there for years.
So, we have statues of real people. We have statues of unreal people. In the east, there are many statues of Budda. In China, there are many statues of Mao Tse Tung.
If you read about Jesus, you may admire him. Let’s take only what he says because some choke on the miracles. We may admire his wisdom. No matter what he was asked, he has an amazing answer. Some try and trick him. Should we pay tax to Caesar? If he answers ‘yes’, he will find resentment at doing this. The Jewish people found the overbearing Romans to be oppressive. To demand taxes was too much for some. Yet, if he answers ‘no’, he will be opposing the Roman government directly. What does he say? Does anyone have a coin? Whose picture is on it? They answer “Caesar”. Give it back to him. But give to God what is his.
We could go through many such events of Jesus being asked such questions. His popularity was resented by the Jewish leaders. We can admire his wisdom.
More than this, we see him reacting to something. Someone asks him a legitimate question. How can I be sure of eternal life? Jesus suggests he follow the commandments. He gives a list of ones about how to treat others. The young fellow says he has kept these closely since he was young. Jesus says, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” It is too much for the guy. He cannot bring himself to do it.
Is it unreasonable? I think some would say so. Why should this be a requirement? But the point is that Jesus is asked a serious question and gives a serious answer. Around him stand men who have done this. They are astonished at the conversation between this man and Jesus. Why does Jesus ask him to dispose of his riches? Didn’t God bless this man with wealth?
We are looking at the wisdom of Jesus that is amazing. Can we admire him? I think so. Now we will look at a reaction of Jesus. Suddenly a leper came and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Yes, it is a miracle, but look at what Jesus did. He reached out and touched him. No one did this. The leper was an untouchable. How did leprosy go from person to person? No use asking for trouble. Stay away from lepers. But this man appeared suddenly before Jesus and had faith that Jesus could cure him. Jesus reacts by reaching out a grabbing this man by the shoulder and saying, I want you to be cured. (I am not only willing to cure you but I will touch you before you are cured. He didn’t have to do this. He could have just said, Sure, be clean! )
We can look at how Jesus reacts to people. Once, a woman snuck up on him in a crowd and touched him. She was immediately cured. Jesus says, “Who touched me?” His disciples say, “Everyone is touching you. It’s a crowd around you.” But He kept looking around to see who had done this. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him trembling in fear, and she told Him the whole truth. “Daughter,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be free of your affliction.” This woman was not allowed to go out in public according to Jewish law. This why she did this covertly. But Jesus wants her to know that she is not resented by him. Rather, he wants her to have peace in her heart as well as healing.
Again, leaving the miracle aside, he reacts to an outcast from society. He wants her to know she is accepted by him. This man is to be admired not only for his power to heal but his attitude toward people.
There was a man born blind. His disciples ask Jesus how he could be punished by God before he was born. Jesus puts mud on his eyes made of dirt and his spit. He sends him to a place of water nearby to wash it off. He is taken to the authorities because no one can deal with this man who now can see. The leaders tell him to thank God for his sight and forget about this Jesus person. He won’t give it up. He keeps talking until they throw him out. Jesus finds him. He asks him an important question. ” Do you believe on the Son of God?” He answers, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” Jesus answers back, “You have seen him, it is he who is talking with you.” The man answers, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped him.
What? He worships Jesus. Jesus does not correct him. He does not say, “Don’t worship me, worship God! I am just a man.”
Why does Jesus look for him until he finds him? He has been a forgotten beggar all his life. Now he is cast out by the authorities. This meant he was not allowed to go to synagogue. He was again an outsider. But this time for sticking up for Jesus.
This man was someone to whom Jesus revealed his true identity. We see that Jesus is admirable and also the only man in history to be worthy of worship. Others have demanded people worship them; the emperor of China demanded his subjects to worship him. The emperor of the Roman Empire expected worship. But Jesus demanded none of that from his followers. He just said, “Follow me.”
One thought on “Worship”
Your last sentence is VERY powerful.