8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Some people wonder why it is that a person’s faith or lack of faith in Jesus is such a big deal. Isn’t it a rather arbitrary thing to assign a person eternally to damnation or to glory simply based on their belief in or trust in a homeless teacher from two millennia ago? Indeed, it would seem a rather obscure standard for God to use too determine one’s eternity were it not for one crucial fact: Jesus is not a mere teacher; he is God.
To prove the point does not take as much as one might think. In several verses, including those above, the Bible makes it plain that no man or angel is rightly worthy of the worship of another. We see in case after case, when a person accidentally or confusedly bows to worship someone who is lesser than God, that person, if they are righteous, will correct the confused worshiper. But look, Jesus offers no such correction. When Thomas bows to Jesus and calls Jesus God, Jesus tells Thomas, “Good for you, the Father has revealed the truth to you.”
While it may seem arbitrary to base a person’s eternity on whether or not they like a philosopher from centuries ago, it is not obscure at all for God to base your eternity on whether or not you receive him, God. If God himself comes to earth and makes a way, one way, for you to be forgiven of your sins, it is perfectly sensible for God to require you to come to his grace by coming to him through that one way. Because Jesus is God, to reject Jesus is to reject God. To receive Jesus, on the other hand, is to receive God and to place yourself in his merciful hands.
Whether or not Jesus is God is an issue of supreme importance. All in eternity hangs on this truth. If Jesus is not God, he cannot sufficiently pay the penalty for the sin of anyone. If Jesus is not God, he does not have the right to forgive anyone. If Jesus is not God, he is either a confused lunatic, insanely claiming to be God, or he is worse, a liar intentionally deceiving the world. If Jesus is not God, Christianity is useless and there is no hope for humanity.
However, Jesus is God. HE claimed that title. He proved his claim to it by rising from the dead and by doing myriad other things that only God could do. Jesus therefore has the ability to forgive all who come to him. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is of such worth to be able to grant forgiveness to all who will trust in him. Because Jesus is God, to come to Jesus is to come to God. To be forgiven by Jesus is to be forgiven by God. To reject Jesus is to reject God.
Today, as in any other day, people all over the world will make a crucial decision about Jesus. Either they will bow to him, acknowledging his identity and falling on his mercy, or they will reject him, and in doing so, will turn their backs on the God who created them and who is their only hope for grace. What will you do with Jesus this day?