We saw in our last time together several instances when Jesus accepted worship. Now we might think that the apostles were by this time getting used to these claims of deity and accustomed to being witnesses of miracles, but that is not the way the power of God works when you are actually in its presence. In Matthew 14 we see the famous event of Jesus walking on the water and the understandable and appropriate response of the apostles as they came to Jesus and worshipped him and acknowledged him to be the “Son of God.” At this point, Jesus did challenge their lack of faith in the face of the wind and their attitude of doubt as they saw him on the water, but he did not challenge their worshipful attitude toward him. Again, faithful Jewish men worshipped Jesus and they all knew that this meant that either Jesus was God or they were sinning.
If we move to Matthew 15 we find a woman who is desperate to find help for her daughter. In this case, Jesus did not respond to her and so she took her plea to the disciples. The woman refused to give up and the passage seems to say she was pestering the disciples so much that they became weary. So the disciples asked Jesus to do something about her, but he used this opportunity to remind them that he had come first for the house of Israel, and this woman was not a Jew. Then, in the midst of this discussion, she returned to Jesus and worshipped him and he used the image of throwing bread to the dogs as a way of showing her his priorities. Some take a little offense that Jesus used the image of a dog, but the image is of a pet and would not have been seen as a criticism or a label. What this language did was cause her to show her faith and explain that she was not asking Jesus to change his priorities. She was just asking for a little of his grace to overflow to her daughter. Jesus had not yet been raised from the dead and so the distinction between Jew and Gentile talked about in Ephesians 2 was still in place. But as Jesus moved this woman to show her faith, and display that she was not presuming on the blessing of Israel, he also accepted her worship and gave no hint that such an act was unacceptable.
Now by this point, we might just say Jesus was just being compassionate. His humility would not let him reprimand these people for their false worship. But notice he was never alone in these situations and those around him could have called out the worshipers for blasphemy unless they also saw something special going on that filled them with awe. Notice also that humility is only humility if you actually are good at something. One is not humble for saying they cannot sing if they actually cannot sing. Jesus, in allowing these people to worship him if he was not God would not be humble, it would be deceit.
These encounters of worship continue on. In Matthew 20:20 the mother of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, came to Jesus and bowed down in worship even as she made a request that showed she did not understand the whole Kingdom of God thing just yet. In Matthew 28:9 we are not surprised when we see the women leaving the empty tomb of Jesus and then encountering the resurrected Jesus. They ran to him and fell down and worshipped him. He did not object to their worship but told them to go and tell the brethren. Once the women spread the good news the brethren came and also bowed down to worship (28:17). In all of these Jesus condemned no one for offering him worship.