Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Jesus Christ: My Lord and My God! – Part 5

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Conclusion.

4. IN JESUS’ NAME: PRAYER TO AND WORSHIP OF JESUS AS GOD

Aside from being portrayed as deity by his authority in his earthly ministry, and declared to be both “Lord” and “God” throughout the NT, Jesus is also strongly implied to be deity by virtue of the activities which are carried out in his name by his followers.

A. PRAYER TO JESUS. Adolf Schlatter, in his discussion of the early church, speaks of the unifying effect of the doctrine of Christ as divine, and the unified church which resulted. The centrality of Jesus’ divinity

becomes clear in view of the community’s prayer. For its hallmark was that it called upon the name of Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:22; Rom. 10:13; Acts 9:21; 22:16; 7:59). Faith directed toward him finds its closest, most simple result in moving man to request his grace and help. The thought that Jesus could be called upon without calling upon God did not arise in the early church. It directed its adoration, its thanksgiving, and its petition to God.[1]

In other words, this monotheistic community of believers drew together in prayer to Jesus Christ by virtue of their belief in his deity. The NT bears witness to this reality, as is shown by his citations. To his list may be added 1 Cor 16.22; 2 Cor 12.8; and Rev 22.20.[2] This is a remarkable fact for God-fearing Jews who understood that there is only one God who created the heavens and the earth, and who is able to answer prayer (Dt 6.4; 2 Kgs 19.15).

B. WORSHIP OF JESUS. Heb 1.6 declares that not only men, but also the angels of God are to worship Jesus, and this is the pattern that is laid down for us in the records of the earliest Christians. Throughout the NT “doxologies are addressed to him, either alone (Rom. 9:5 … 2 Tim. 4:18; 2 Pet 3:18; Rev. 1:5f.) or with the Father (Rev. 5:13; 7:10).”[3]

Nor is the worship of Jesus something which is seen to decrease as the church grew. Rather, the book of Revelation records some of the most glorious scenes of Jesus being worshiped.

The lamb in Revelation is both Redeemer and Ruler, the Judge who died for his people, the Lamb-God, who is both slain and triumphant, Lord of lords and King of kings (Rev. 17:14; 19:16).[4]

Along similar lines as Woodbridge, Newman notes that “in a book that venerates God’s omnipotence in unprecedented ways, it is surprising to find that Revelation also openly encourages and models the worship of the enthroned Jesus.”[5] Several examples of this may be given, including 1.6; 5.9, 12, 15; 7.10; and 12.10. He continues, “Revelation legitimates and promotes the worship of Jesus and God—the worship of Jesus as God—and it does so at the very places where God is worshiped and with the very language that is used to venerate God.”[6]

Commenting on Rev 1.6, Mounce concludes that this is an “ascription to Christ of glory and dominion forever and ever. In this context, ‘glory’ is praise and honor, and ‘dominion’ connotes power and might. … The statement is both a confident assertion about the exalted Christ and an exhortation to regard him correspondingly,” which is—among other things—to worship him as the true, conquering King of kings and Lord of lords (19.16).[7]


[1] Schlatter, Theology of the Apostles, 365.

[2] Packer, God’s Words, 49.

[3] Ibid.

[4] P.D. Woodbridge, “Lamb,” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, 622.

[5] Newman, “God,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, 428.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 50.

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