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Is Jesus Worshiped as God in John’s Gospel? Refuting Another Anti-Trinitarian Canard

Muslims and heretics alike are keen to cite our Lord’s words that true believers are those who worship the Father by the Holy Spirit’s empowerment and on the basis of his revealed truth:

“‘Our fathers worshipped (prosekynesan) on this mountain, but you all say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship (proskynein).’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship (proskynesete) the Father. You worship (proskyneite) what you do not know; we know what we worship (proskynoumen), for salvation is of the Jews. Yet the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers (proskynetai) will worship (proskynesousin) the Father in spirit and truth. For the Father seeks such to worship (proskynountas) Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship (proskynountas) Him must worship (proskynein) Him in spirit and truth.’” John 4:20-24

It is argued on the basis of this passage that Christ taught the exclusive worship of the Father and never commanded anyone to worship him along with the Father.

Unfortunately, this mishandling of the God-breathed Scriptures conveniently ignores what  John’s Gospel goes on to say in the very next chapter:

“The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son, JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22-23

Here the risen Lord plainly states that the Father himself demands that every one gives the same honor to the Son, which they render unto the Father himself. Since Christ has already told us that believers honor the Father by worshiping him, this means that all true believers must also worship the Son in Spirit and truth.

This explains why Jesus was worshiped by the blind man whom he healed:

“”Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when He found him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’ He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him, and it is He who speaks with you.” 38 Then he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped (prosekynesen) Him. John 9:35-38

Interestingly this is the only other time that John employs the Greek word for worship, which is the very term that our Lord used in reference to the worship given to the Father. This clearly indicates that the Son, too, is to be worshiped just as the Father is, since the Father demands that his beloved Son be given the same honor that he himself receives.

Finally, Christ claimed to be both the divine Object and Hearer of prayer,

I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

In the same way that the Father is:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that the Father may give you whatever you ask Him in My name.” John 15:16

“On that day you will ask Me nothing. Truly, truly I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23

This not only once again shows that the Son is to be given the same honor that the Father receives but also affirms that Jesus is worshiped in the same way that the Old Testament saints worshiped Jehovah:

“Praise awaits You, O God, in Zion; and to You a vow will be fulfilled. O You who hears prayer, to You all flesh will come.” Psalm 65:1-2

The foregoing helps us appreciate why Thomas worshiped the risen Christ as his very Lord and God:

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord (ton Kyrion). But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said UNTO HIM (eipen auto), My Lord and my God (ho Kyrios mou kai ho Theos mou). Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:24-29 King James Version (KJV)

Thomas obviously realized who Jesus truly was.

Now Thomas’ worship of the risen Lord, and Christ’s  express approval of it, could only be acceptable if in fact Jesus is Jehovah God in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit), since the Hebrew Bible is explicitly clear that Jehovah alone is the Lord God of all true believers:

“Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord (Kyrios ho Theos hemon Kyrios heis esti). And thou shall love the Lord your God (Kyrion ton Theon sou) with all your mind, and with all your soul, and all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Septuagint (LXX)

“Awake, O Lord (Kyrie), and attend to my judgment, [even] to my cause, my God and my Lord (ho Theos mou kai ho Kyrios mou).” Psalm 34[Heb. 35:23] LXX

In light of the above, is there any doubt that in John’s Gospel Jesus is worshiped as the Lord God Almighty in the flesh, even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit?

Unless stated otherwise, Scriptural references taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

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