Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Do Not Tempt the Lord Jesus –

But Worship Him Instead! Pt. 3a

Sam Shamoun

We resume our discussion by focusing on the worship which the Lord Jesus received according to Matthew and Luke-Acts.


Worshiping the Lord Jesus

What follows is a list of passages where the Lord Jesus is worshiped in contexts that highlight his divine identity.


First Case

Jesus is depicted as receiving worship from the demonic realm, from unclean spirits who were perfectly aware of his divine identity:

“Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me! For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, saying, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion,’ because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.” Luke 8:26-31, 39

Here is a legion of evil spirits who were meeting Christ for the first time on earth and yet they knew full well that he was/is the Son of the Most High God who was/is capable of not only tormenting them, but of also casting them into the abyss. This caused them to fall down in worship before the sovereign Son of God.

Mark’s Gospel shows that this falling down before the Lord Jesus was intended as an act of worship:

“When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.” Mark 5:6

It is therefore crystal clear from the context that these unclean spirits were worshiping Christ in recognition of his divine identity, as well as from the utter terror they felt from knowing the divine power he possessed, which not only enabled/enables the Lord to destroy the kingdom of darkness with complete ease, but also bring the entire creation under his complete control:

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21


Second Case

In the following example, Jesus displays both omniscience and sovereign authority over creation:

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’” Luke 5:1-10

Peter’s reaction to Jesus’ divine knowledge and authority is virtually identical with the way the OT saints responded when confronted by the visible presence and majesty of Jehovah God himself:

“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, “Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, “I will question you, and you shall answer Me.” I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.’” Job 42:1-6

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.’” Isaiah 6:1-7(1)

We have more examples of Jesus being worshiped in the next section of our discussion.



(1) This example from Isaiah is particularly interesting since the NT identifies the LORD God that Isaiah saw as none other than the Lord Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence!

For instance, John’s Gospel attempts to explain why the Jews refused to believe in the Lord despite all the miraculous signs and wonders which he performed:

“But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’  These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.” John 12:37-41

John cites Isaiah 53:1 to show that the prophet had already prophesied that the Jews would not believe Jesus’ message who refused to see in him the revelation and manifestation of the Arm of the LORD. John then quotes Isaiah 6:10 to explain that the Jews could not believe because God was basically blinding their eyes and hardening their hearts as the judgment which they deserved for persistently turning their backs on God’s repeated please to them to repent from their evil ways:

"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:Whom shall I send, And who will go for US?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’ And He said, ‘Go, and tell this people: “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.” Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.’” Isaiah 6:8-10

The blessed Apostle then says something quite interesting which most of us often miss. He explains that the reason why Isaiah said these things is because he saw the glory of the Lord Jesus and wrote about him! Note, once again, v. 41 reads:

“Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.” John 12:41 New International Version (NIV)

As the NIV makes clear, the glory which John says the prophet saw is none other than Jesus’ glory, whom the Jews rejected despite all the miraculous signs that he had performed in their midst. And yet as the immediate context of Isaiah 6 which we quoted earlier shows, the One whose glory Isaiah saw was actually Yahweh’s glory, since he is the One whom the prophet saw seated on his throne surrounded by the seraphim who kept proclaiming his holiness!

In other words, the inspired Apostle is identifying Jesus Christ as the LORD God Almighty that the prophet saw seated on his throne in his heavenly glory!

This only further confirms that the reason Jesus Christ received and accepted worship is because he is Yahweh God Incarnate (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).