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Our readers asked:

Why is it that Christians worship Jesus? From my interpretations of the Bible, Jesus didn’t want to be worshipped, but was turning people towards God. Therefore why do people see fit to worship Jesus as much as God?

Fr. Joe Answers:

Yes, it’s true that Jesus’ own prayer was directed toward God as Father. The prayer which Jesus teaches his disciples in ths gospels of Matthew and Luke is addressed to “our Father” and does not mention Jesus at all! We still pray this as “The Lord’s Prayer” and regard it as a central Christian prayer.

Apart from the Lord’s Prayer, most prayer in Catholic worship is addressed “TO the Father, THROUGH the Son, IN unity with the Holy Spirit.” This formula expresses two basic beliefs of Catholics: the Trinity and the Incarnation.

The Apostle’s Creed, one of the earliest Christian professions of faith, states: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary…” This awareness of Jesus being one in nature with God the Father and yet also (as “Son of Mary”) completely human was most fully articulated at the Councils of Nicea in 325 and Chalcedon in 451 but its roots are in the New Testament. For example, in the gospel of John, Jesus says to his disciples at his “last supper”: “Whoever 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?” (John 14:9-10). For another instance, when Paul concludes his letter to the Romans with the phrase “to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory for ever and ever” (Romans 16:27) he is associating Jesus with the conclusion of a prayer traditionally addressed to God alone.

The most correct title for Jesus, following upon the Apostles’ Creed, is not “God” but “Son of God.” What does it mean that Catholics believe that he is “one in nature with the Father?”

Perhaps the best insight comes from the first letter of John: “let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God…God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 John 4:7,16). If the essence of God is love, Christians have come to believe in Jesus as the embodiment of self-sacrificing love. The Catholic theologian Edward Schillebeeckx has referred to Jesus as “the sacrament of the encounter with God.” The Anglican Bishop J.A.T. Robinson used a similiar metaphor, calling Jesus “the human face of God.” For Catholics, the mystery of God is revealed in the person of Jesus.

Because of this awareness, Catholics and other Christians direct some prayers to Jesus. An example of these would be the “Lord, have Mercy” prayers of the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass, and the “Jesus Prayer” that is a tradition of Orthodox Christians. The more common and perhaps more appropriate address for Christian prayer is “TO the Father, THROUGH the Son, IN unity with the Holy Spirit.”

The Author : Fr. Joe
Fr. Joe Scott, CSP, has been a campus minister, pastor and editor as a Paulist priest.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Faeliana Yusof Ramli

    i agree with king cobra,,,the truth is that is one God and He is Allah the ALL mighty…father the God that written in bible is Allah..the conclusion is simple : father the god=Allah the All mighty and jesus is only a human kind sent by Allah as the messenger…the power that he prowess was given by Allah to make people believe the messages from jesus

    • King Cobra

      That’s true faeliana Yusof Ramli.. From reading ur comment it truly sound like you believe in god/Allah and you believe that ‘ Jesus ( peace be upon him) is the messenger of god, reading bak at ur Great comment u mentioned ” Jesus is only a human kind sent by Allah”, I’m not against it but he is not the “ONLY ONE”, the was a lot of prophets, messengers that was sent before jesus ( peace be upon him) their task was to guid people to Allah’s path, but their were still some people who didn’t believe in the prophets, after all those prophets was sent, Allah chose 1 man and he is ‘ Muhammad (SAW) the best man kind, he is the last messenger and last prophet. Allah said ” who does not believe in me or believe in my Muhammad (SAW), those are the ones who will be driven to ‘ HELLFIRE’. Which surely In Bible doesn’t mention about ‘ Muhammad’ .. Even though ‘Bible’ was copied from ‘ Quran’ the first book that Allah sent down to the earth, revealed it to Muhammad ( SAW).. ‘ Believe in Allah worship him alone sincerely way, and believe in Muhammad that his Last messenger, and you may enter heaven depending on ur/everyones, deeds, hop u leaned more bout Islam Religion of ‘Peace’.. ‘ May Allah guid you to a straight path to him and to heaven, Amin

  • King Cobra

    hello the Brother and Sisters, i’m Muslim. i just wana let you’s know for thos who say ‘Jesus ( peace be upon him) is the god or son of god. Jesus ( Peace be upon him) he HIS is ‘NOT’ the god or a son of god, ‘ DO NOT WORSHIP HIM’, in ‘Islam we do not worship him ‘ jesus ( peace be upon him) in islam we dont say his the son of God or the god. we only say he is the messenger of god. Only believe in him and believe that he will come down to the ‘ Dunia/Earth with the Angels from the ‘ Paradis/Heaven’ to only his Believers, before the judgment day starts and that he is the ‘Messenger’ of God. we ‘Muslim we WORSHIP’ in ” Allah” / God, the creator of the earth an heaven and Creater of us ‘ ManKind/ humans. His the POWERFUL OF EVERYTHING, CAPABLE OF EVERYTHING. ALLAH/god, he was never born or gave ‘ BIRTH ‘ to anyone plus he does not have family, wife, son, brother, or any relatives. His all ‘ Mighty Allah “.
    So who ever believes in jesus that he is the messenger of god and also believe, have your fait to god and believe he is only ‘ one ‘ god, then u are his believer, do righteous stuff then you are ” 100%’ guarantee to Enter Paradise/Heaven.
    thank you Hop it helped. :)

    • claire flint

      well, he’s the son of god, thats it. its written down in the bible. us christians believe that and for me/us its true. of course you dont share my opinion bc you’re part of a different religion but try to respect that for us jesus is the son of god

      • King Cobra

        ok Jesus is the son of ‘ Mary’ mother right..’ Mary she never had a husband, so who is the father of jesus? when Mary never had husband. really think about it.. Jesus has no father. if God/Allah, was the father of Jesus that would make us the son of god two right because we were made exactly like how jesus was made. God/Allah he’s allmighty, he does not have any family, relatives or wife. how is jesus the son of god..?

  • yobhal

    To answer the original question: Why do Christians worship Jesus if Jesus didn’t want to be worshipped: well, Jesus didn’t stop people when they tried to worship Him. notice that? a few places in scripture, there are individuals, or in one spot, a group that it says worship Jesus (the man born blind in John ch 9 for instance) and Jesus never stops them. He is God and so why should he stop them?

  • Andrew

    He wasn’t addressing his followers. He was addressing the Jews who were seeking to kill him and their unbelief.

  • Michael

    Then why did Jesus tell his followers that they have never seen nor heard God at any time? (ex: John 5:37)

    • His Handmaiden

      @ Michael, the same way YOU’ve never seen nor heard God at any time.

      • yoyo

        He’s asking because of the quote in the text, which the bible says that whoever has seen Jesus has seen God

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