Ravi Zacharias, an Indian-born, Christian Apologist. See link below]
This story might offend some people. That's alright. From what I see on TV and read here on the Internet, God's Word offends many. My opinion on why it offends is because it goes against what we ourselves have chosen to believe - whether right or wrong. Many are abandoning the One True God in favor of a "designer god" - someone we have created for ourselves.
The words I will be using here today are God's words and they are therefore true. All I am doing is writing them down and then asking a few questions . . . to make us think. This story has to do with The Pope and a single word from the Greek language - proskuneo.
The word "proskuneo" means "to kiss the hand, bow down before, show obedience, to worship." It is the word where the English language gets its word "prostrate" from.
I'd like you to take a look at my opening picture. You probably already saw it but please go back up and look at it again. I am sure that most people can recognize The Pope and former president George W. Bush, maybe even Condoleeza Rice. It's hard to tell who the woman is kissing the Pope's hand (it's Nancy Pelosi). She is proskeneo-ing the Pope. It doesn't really matter who it is that's kissing the Pope's hand. I am writing about the act, not the person. So let's start there, with the act and The BOOK of Acts, chapter 10. This is what God's Word says.
"25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stan
up; I too am a man.” - Acts 10:25-26
The Greek word for "worshiped" used in this particular text is proskunesen (meaning "he worships him"). What do you suppose Peter's reaction is to being worshiped? He tells Cornelius to "Stand up," saying "I too am a man." In other words, don't worship me. I am just a man. Keep that thought in mind as we read this next passage from God's Word.
Let's fast forward to the book of Revelation where John is relating his vision to us about what he saw in heaven.
"9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” - Revelation 19:9-10
An angel of the Lord told John not to "Proskunesai" (to worship) him saying, "I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers. Worship God." And this is an angel of the Lord!
Well? You have just read two passages from God's Word. It's time for a little quiz.
Question #1 - Based on what you have just read, do you believe we are supposed to worship angels?
Question #2 - If we would have been alive in Jesus' day and we met one of the disciples, do you believe that we should have bowed down and worshiped him?
Question #3 -If you met the Pope, or any other influential leader, do you think we should bow down to them or kiss their ring?
The correct answer to all three of those questions should be no. We are to bow down to no one but Jesus Christ.
I know what you're saying. When am I ever going to meet one of the disciples, an angel or the pope? That may be true. But what other "gods" do we have in our world that we bow down to. Did you watch any part of the World Cup? Do you think this fan is worshiping God or man?
We must be mindful of the things we hold high. There is only one God and it is to Him alone that we bow. If any of us should ever met the Pope perhaps we should just shake his hand as a gesture of friendship but I personally never, ever would proskuneo to him or ANY other man.
In God's word we read. . .
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:1-11
Acts 10 Greek Text
Leadership Seminar Workshop (Part 3) -Ravi Zacharias