“You shall have no other gods besides me.” Exodus 20:3
Jesus’ disciples were first century Jews. They knew the faith, the culture, and the belief system that only God was worthy of worship (Deut 6:13-16, Isaiah 8:13.) and Jesus himself quoted the scriptures (Luke 4:8.) Both the Old and New Testament was clear about this truth: to worship idols was a violation of God’s first commandment.
Amazingly, from birth, Jesus was worshiped: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matt 2:10-12)
He was worshiped by those he healed: “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.” (John 9:35-38)
He was worshiped upon his entry into Jerusalem: “Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”(Mark 11:8-10)
The astonishing implication is that Jesus’ humanity did not interfere with the disciples offering him worship that was due to God alone. The only explanation is that they recognized that he was more than just a man. How this recognition was formed in the minds of the disciples is hard to say outside of Jesus’ acts reported in the Gospels, but it is plain to see, as put by Princeton theologian John Murray, “But with varying degrees of awareness there must have entered into their consciousness the implications of the witness borne to him. In this connection it should be observed that his identity as the Son of God is of paramount importance. The import of his divine Sonship is no less than equality with God and Godhood (cf. John 5:17-18, 10:22). Matt. 14:33 is a noteworthy example of the relation that the intradivine Sonship sustains to worship: “And these who were in the boat worshiped him saying: Verily of God thou art Son.”
Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension (Matt 28:16-17) vindicated his radical claims. This cemented in the disciples that the worship belonging only to God was fit for Jesus. As God incarnate, Jesus was Lord, therefore, worship of him was worship of Yahweh.