Deity of Christ, Part 3: Jesus Rejects Worship

This is the third part in a series on apolo­get­ics to Jehovah’s Wit­nesses. This series focuses on defend­ing the deity of Christ to Jehovah’s Wit­nesses who come knock­ing at the door. It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that the Watch­tower tells them that Evan­gel­i­cals are rude, unlov­ing, nasty peo­ple who will slam doors in their faces; let’s prove them dead wrong on that front, too!

Today I want to look at the old “Jesus refuses to be wor­shipped” argu­ment. Mark 10:18 says “Jesus said to him: ‘Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God.’”. Here it is impor­tant to remem­ber that Jesus was actu­ally a very bril­liant logi­cian. So let’s look at a pretty sim­ple log­i­cal argu­ment for the deity of Christ:

1. No one is good except God.

2. Jesus is good.

3. There­fore, Jesus is God.

In the Mark pas­sage, Jesus affirms (1), that no one is good except God. He does not reject (2) that He is good, or (3) that He is God. Rather, He sim­ply draws atten­tion to the log­i­cal con­clu­sion of (2). So here the Jehovah’s Wit­ness is sim­ply mis­taken — Jesus does not refuse to be wor­shipped in Mark’s gospel.

Fur­ther­more, (2) is directly affirmed by Hebrews 4:15. So the pas­sage the Wit­ness brings up gets you started with (1), and Hebrews affirms (2), and the con­clu­sion that Jesus is God fol­lows inescapably!

There’s one other pas­sage I know about that is some­times used to try to prove that Jesus refused to be wor­shipped. Luke 4:8 says “In reply Jesus said to him: ‘It is writ­ten, “It is Jeho­vah your God you must wor­ship, and it is to him alone you must ren­der sacred ser­vice.”’”. Here it is impor­tant to note the con­text of the state­ment. Jesus is object­ing to Satan’s demand to be wor­shipped. Satan is most cer­tainly not Jeho­vah. But if we look at this log­i­cally again, we see some­thing else:

4. Jeho­vah alone you must worship.

5. Jesus you must worship.

6. There­fore, Jesus is Jehovah.

In the Luke pas­sage Jesus affirms (4). He does not deny (5) or (6). And if we take a look else­where in scrip­ture we see at least one explicit affir­ma­tion of (5): in Hebrews 1:6 (as pre­vi­ously dis­cussed). So the pas­sage the Wit­ness brings up gets a whole new argu­ment started by estab­lish­ing that only Jeho­vah deserves wor­ship, then Hebrews again pro­vides us with the teach­ing that we should wor­ship Jesus, and the con­clu­sion that Jesus is Jeho­vah fol­lows inescapably!

5 thoughts on “Deity of Christ, Part 3: Jesus Rejects Worship

  1. David

    Rev. 22:19 appears to be an incor­rect ref­er­ence to prove the point you are mak­ing in the state­ment below. Is there a misprint?

    And if we take a look else­where in scrip­ture we see at least one explicit affir­ma­tion of (2), in Rev­e­la­tion 22:19 (as pre­vi­ously discussed)

  2. Louis Post author

    You’re right, that para­graph con­tained sev­eral errors that I have since fixed.

    The scrip­tures explic­itly teach that Jesus ought to be wor­shipped in Hebrews 1:6, which says “let all God’s angels do obei­sance to him” (NWT). The Greek word as found in West­cott and Hort trans­lated as “obei­sance” in the New World Trans­la­tion (προσκυνέω) is more accu­rately trans­lated as “wor­ship” in the King­dom Inter­lin­ear Translation.

    The KIT trans­la­tion is sup­ported by Rev­e­la­tion 22:8–9, which says:

    I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to wor­ship (προσκυνῆσαι) at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fel­low ser­vant with you and your broth­ers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Wor­ship (προσκύνησον) God.’”

    Rev­elation 22:16 shows that it was Jesus who sent the angel to speak to John, so the speaker that refuses wor­ship in verses 8–9 isn’t Jesus, it’s the angel Jesus sent.

    If “προσκυνέω” means “wor­ship”, then Hebrews teaches that we ought to wor­ship Jesus. If “προσκυνέω” does not mean “wor­ship”, then why does the angel for­bid John from direct­ing what­ever “προσκυνέω” is to him and instead instruct him only to direct “προσκυνέω” to God? Fur­ther­more, even if “προσκυνέω” does not mean “wor­ship”, what­ever it means it ought only to be directed to God, so for Hebrews to teach that we ought to direct “προσκυνέω” to Jesus still demon­strates that Jesus is God.

  3. Louis Post author

    It is the same Greek word in Luke 4:8: “It is Jeho­vah your God you must wor­ship (προσκυνησεις)” (NWT). The 1985 NWT has a cross-​​reference there to Exo­dus 20:3. The ESV believes Luke quotes Deuteron­omy 6:13.

  4. Masa

    Jesus is Jehovah?,its peo­ple like you who twist the bible and con­fuse people,There are 2 types of worship.Jesus is the Son Of God who also wor­shipped Jeho­vah His father­MJe­sus is e chan­nel by which we go to God,we Do not word­ship Him

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