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Is it okay to worship statues of Jesus?

Jesus is God and the Old Testament forbids the making or worshiping of any such likeness of God. Exodus 20:4 says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” The reason is found in the truth that the worship of God was and is to be spiritual, not material. The Lord Jesus stressed this in John 4 when He said, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Note that Jesus said, “must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” A statue can never truly represent the truth about Christ and of necessity must misrepresent what Scripture teaches about Him. Though He became man of very man, true humanity, He was at the same time, God of very God, undiminished deity. Having statues of Jesus or God result in two things, but of which are wrong. They easily slip into some from of idol worship and they must misrepresent the truth. There is no way anything made by man could even begin to properly represent the full essence of God. As such, it would dishonor His infinite person and essence.

After the resurrection, Mary went to the tomb and found it empty. There the Lord Jesus in His glorified body appeared to her. At first, she thought He was the gardener but when she realized that it the resurrected Lord, she wanted to cling to Him, but He said:

“Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her (NET Bible).

What the Savior wanted to impress upon her, upon the disciples, and upon us was not that “I have ascended,” but that “I will ascend.” The resurrection was verified by His appearances and the empty tomb. The resurrection was the authentication of His person and His work and thus the stepping stone to His ascension and exalted position in heaven as our forerunner and representative to open the way for us to God as Christ’s brethren and God’s children. He could not, therefore, remain with them as before. Not yet. And Mary and the disciples must not cling to Him as such—nor should we.

So what does this mean? It means our relationship to Him during the church age would not be physical, but spiritual. It would be a spiritual relationship with Him through the Word (see also 2 Cor. 5:15-16; John. 4:23-24; 17:17) and through the Holy Spirit (John 14:16f; 16:8f). It means we must cling to Him as the ascended Lord, but also as the One who is nevertheless our companion along the road of life through the Spirit and the Word (read Luke 24:13f). A statue that is supposed to represent Christ must of necessity totally fail to do that. Such things focus people on an earthly Christ, not the heavenly, omnipresent Savior.

Related Topics: Christology, Theology Proper (God), Worship