Posted by: celticanglican | November 30, 2008

Did Jesus actually worship?

Originally published on November 30, 2008.

Q. A Pentecostal friend very vehemently denies that Jesus actually attended synagogue to worship. He says that all worship is to be directed to Jesus, and His going to the synagogue was strictly to teach. I don’t get this!

Your friend is probably a member of a Oneness Pentecostal group. In short, Oneness Pentecostals deny the Trinity, and believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different roles that Jesus assumes. Historic, orthodox Christian teaching affirms that Jesus maintained His full divinity while also being a human being. In His human nature, Jesus was like us, which brings me to the next part.

Prayer is a form of worship. As we’ll see, praying was something Jesus did while on earth. Some from a Pentecostal or charismatic background equate worship with specific actions taken during a church service. This is not a complete definition of worship. In Hebrew, “shachah” can be translated as “humbly beseech”. Three Greek words, “proskuneo”, “sebomai”, and “latreuo” all refer to acts of reverence, of which prayer is a part. See this explanation for more information on these terms.

In Mark 1:34-36, Luke 5:15-17, John 17:1-3 Jesus did in fact pray. Jesus’ synagogue attendance each Sabbath was part of an observant Jew’s way of life. To have simply entered the synagogue to teach without partaking of the rest of the worship service would have been unthinkable. See this resource for more info on synagogue services in New Testament times.

Yes, Jesus did, in fact, pray and worship. Rather than quarreling over semantics, let’s pray that your friend may come to understand the true heart of worship.


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