This will shock some people, but Jesus is Lord, only to those having received the Holy Spirit. His Lordship is based on the fact that His teachings are supreme. The rest of humanity knows Jesus as the Son of Man and not as the Son of the living God. Nevertheless, those having received the Holy Spirit will also be recognized as Lords, just as Jesus is Lord. That is why, in the Book of Revelation, Jesus is identified as the LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS (Revelation 19:16).
Jesus never instructed His followers to worship Him. Currently, there are many people who are obsessed with worshipping Jesus but are driven by idolatry more than true worship. If Jesus sought to be worshipped, would He have washed the feet of His disciples? He also said the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). At one point He refused to be called ‘good Master.’
“And behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments”(Matthew 19:16-17 KJV).
When teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus also instructed them to address their prayers to the Father, and not to Him. But His clearest instruction about who Jesus was can be found in Matthew 18:5:“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me”(NIV). Pretenders would rather express loving Jesus they do not even know rather than the little Child who Jesus said resembles Him.
Jesus was a teacher, rather than deserving to be treated as an object of worship, as He walked on this planet. Nevertheless, the God of Israel could not be seen physically, as to be likened to anything. True Christians ought to be worried about the false representations of Jesus, across the world. Currently, the only people entitled to call Jesus Lord are those with the Holy Spirit.
However, the name of Jesus is not used for worship purposes but used in consideration of Jesus’ authority as Rabbi, Teacher or Boss. Jesus is Lord, because of the superior knowledge inherent in Him. In other words, to true Christians, nothing is authentic, except when endorsed by Jesus. The idea of worshipping is more practised by idolaters, than true believers.
In all His teachings, Jesus never taught methods about worshipping. Even though the disciples identified Jesus as Lord, it was not for attracting worship. The disciples were, actually, aware of God’s oneness, according to Jewish monotheistic considerations. The only time Jesus talked about worship was during His conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well. He hinted at the idea of worship that had never been practised in this world.
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and his worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:19-24 NIV).
The above passage shows that worship is designated to the Father. There is no mention of the Son. Although some people suggest that God is three in one, Jesus never indicated that possibility. Nevertheless, the Father is the same God that Jesus says is the Spirit. But who was Jesus referring to, whom the true worshippers would worship in Spirit and in truth?
God is Spirit, meaning God the Father is Spirit. But, more so, why did Jesus forget to include Himself in the realm of worship? The most important thing to appreciate is that one of the attributes of worshippers is the inability to think independently. This is how one is led to assume that faith means accepting things blindly, without understanding.
And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come”(Matthew 12:31-32 NIV).
Here is another difference between the Spirit and the Son of Man. Anyone saying any kind of sin and slander against Jesus would be forgiven. But anyone blaspheming against the Spirit will not be forgiven. This is in agreement with Exodus 20:7. God who is Spirit cannot be blasphemed against, as doing so renders the person unforgivable.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name”(Exodus 20:7 NIV).
The condemnation in Exodus 20:7 is permanent, just as it is permanent in Matthew 12:31-32. These Scriptures provide information that God, who is Spirit cannot be blasphemed against. This is different from Jesus the Son of Man. This does not suggest invalidating Jesus, who represented His Father, doing what was as good as done by His Father. That is why Jesus said God is worshipped in Spirit and in Truth.
The component of God manifested in the Son of Men lowered Himself to the level of humanity. This is why; even His crucifiers cannot be condemned. They sinned against the Son of Man and not against the Spirit because the Son of God is not different from God. Hence, they sought to stone Jesus for blasphemy, when He declared to be the Son of God.
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp” (John 10:33-39 NIV).
As human as Jesus was, how could he be God’s Son? The Jews considered His utterance blasphemous, as God’s Son is God. They were right but unable to see that Jesus represented God. But, bear in mind that humans are basically God’s image. A person, who worships God in Spirit and in Truth, knows how to differentiate Godly attributes in men.
Similarly, it is impossible for any Christian to say anything in Jesus’ name, without God speaking through them. Jesus represented God. Those worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth could not miss that reality. These are the ones capable of worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth, as capable of identifying God in Jesus.
This is different from worshippers who surrender their reasoning capacity to a deity. One may not be certain of how God views people with blind faith. But in his escapades of tempting Jesus, Satan suggested blind faith. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’”(Matthew 4:6 NIV).
Satan projected what most people, in our Christian world, assume to be the meaning of faith. Rather than apply logic, for instance, such people spend all night praying for God to provide a miracle. They are affectionately called “Prayer warriors,” and they love being identified as such.
Part of Zimbabwe’s problems is associated with such “prayer warriors.” They spend time praying for wicked leaders while resisting good leaders. In their twisted minds, they assume exercising faith, as “prayer warriors;” for God to convert wicked leaders. Nevertheless, they would be similar to Baal worshipers of Elijah’s time, manifesting a similar demon.
“So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. ‘O Baal, answer us!’ they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, busy, or travelling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’ So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom until their blood flowed”(Kings 18:26-28 NIV).
The fact that God is worshipped in Spirit and in truth does not agree with idolaters. Like Baal worshippers, they assume God hears them when screaming and yelling at the high heavens. One cannot convince “prayer worriers” that their adored leaders would-be thieves, stealing from their children’s livelihoods.
They would be dedicated and committed to worship, but not worshipping in truth. Perhaps they would be worshipping in spirit, but, certainly, not God’s Spirit. They lack the discernment to realize that they would be under Satan’s influence. The cunning deception is that they would be doing everything in Jesus’ name.
But they would be calling on that name, not in Spirit and in Truth. Innocent people, hearing the name of Jesus mentioned, easily fall into the trap. Unaware of Jesus’ name being mentioned in vain, the innocent people participate in doing what would be abominable to Jesus.
The problem that remains is: where are true worshippers, when such things take place, in a country as decent as Zimbabwe? Jesus said His disciples would cast out demons in His name. But where can one find such Christians today? Some of those able to discern might be gripped with uncertainty. But the majority of them are probably cowards, unable to face persecution.
The problem of uncertainty arises from a failure to appreciate the authority of Jesus in Christianity. A true Christian does not look at what others do, but at what God is doing. As stipulated in prayer, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” (Matthew 6:10) true Christians stand up, willing to die on the Lord’s side. Appreciating the Lordship of Jesus implies applying His word.
One cannot pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven, while unsure of God’s will. Jesus said only the truth sets people free. The Jews had an idea of worshipping God, but unwaveringly rejected the truth provided by Jesus. They could not be freed from that condition. The same applies to worshippers without God’s truth, today.
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. They you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “we are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”(John 8:31-36 NIV).
It is impossible to free a slave who cannot even be aware of being in bondage. It takes one to realize the need for help, to be helped. A person cannot be helped, as long as holding onto something else believed to be true, but untrue. Worshipping God implies doing so in Spirit and in truth.
The upshot of it is that when one speaks God’s Word, it is not him but God speaking. Jesus had a right to be worshipped because the Father was in Him. The same applies to His brothers, in whom the Spirit dwells. If Jesus deserved to be worshipped, it is only because God the Father dwelt in Him, when He was here on earth. He, however, did not demand that anyone should worship Him.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99