A Series on Who Do I Worship:
God or Jesus?
There is considerable confusion in answering the question, "who do I worship – God or Jesus?" With careful
study of the Jesus' own words, one can begin to develop an understanding of the position of God the Son and
God the Father within God's unfolding plan of salvation and an answer to this perplexing question.
Most approaches to this question focus on Jesus' ontological unity with God His Father, which even the good
unfallen angels expressed with reverence (Matt 1:20-23);
however, Jesus never once called Himself God. Instead, Jesus describes Himself as the image of God; when you see
Jesus, you see the invisible God His Father.
"If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him,
and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him,
"Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the
Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in
Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.
Despite being known as the Son of God among fallen evil angelic beings
(Matt 8:29; Mark 3:11;
5:7; Luke 4:41;
8:28), Jesus never equates Himself with the preeminence of God.
A good example is examining His response to Satan at the beginning of His ministry
(Matt 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-8).
As Satan tempts Jesus to: a) prove that He is the Son of God or b) worship him, Jesus responds by quoting the
Old Testament emphasizing the primacy of God and the power of God's word. Jesus refrains from asserting His
authority as the Son of God, and keeps the focus of worship upon His Father, "You shall worship the Lord your
God, and serve Him only" (Matt 4:10;
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus never called Himself "the Son of God". Instead, He esteems
His invisible Father and places a greater emphasis on His relationship by frequently referring to Him as "My
Father" (i.e. Matt 16:17;
18:19; Luke 23:46; etc.).
It is in this relationship context, Father King to Son Prince, that Jesus explicitly refers to the absolute
rights and privileges given to Him when He says, "all that the Father gives Me"
(John 6:37, 39; John 13:3;
17:2) or the similar phrase "all things have been handed over to
me by My Father" (Matt 11:27;
Luke 10:22; John 3:35).
The phrase "all things," or something similar, is everything belonging to God and the authority
over everything including judgment and salvation (John 5:21-23;
9:39) "in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor
the Father" (John 5:23).
And while Jesus did not mention it, this included the people of God's own possession
(Ex 19:5-6), which the apostles recognize and teach – Jesus
Christ is the head of the church.
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been
made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a
circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having
been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God,
who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the
certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the
way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display
of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (Col 2:9-15)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own
possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His
marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:9-10)
It is apparent that there is more than one reason for worshiping Jesus, as equivalent to worshiping God,
than just His ontological unity with His Father.
God the Father abides in His Son so that Jesus is the human image of His invisible Father.
God the Father gave His Son, while in human form on earth, the rights and privileges of the