Easter weekend presents itself at this time and is important to Christians. It should be important for the world as a whole also. What makes it important is knowing that as the result of Jesus sacrifice on the cross Salvation was made possible for everyone – unconditional salvation was available to all of humanity.
Jesus as Prophet
Jesus is a prophet, a prominent one in the Muslim world. Muslim’s believe in Jesus. In Sura 2:87 is states, …”We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear arguments and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit….” I am not sure how to interpret the term ‘Holy Spirit’ used here as the New Testament in John 14:16 has Jesus speaking with his apostles saying that after him there will be a ‘Counselor’, ‘Comforter’ or ‘Helper’ and for Muhammad that is Muhammad, but for Christians it is the Holy Spirit as the reference makes known. John 14:17-20 (NIV) tells us the Counselor is “the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you….I will come to you….On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” The Trinity is introduced with the linking element – that of Truth. The Holy Spirit is anticipated. Clearly Muhammad was not the one anticipated or seen, and thus not the Comforter as suggested. The Counselor, Comforter, Helper the Bible refers to in John is the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God as the truth that dwells within those having faith in Christ.
Christian v. Muslim Differences
Mary, Jesus’s mother, is honored by the Muslims. The Quran agrees to the Virgin birth of Jesus. As to a ‘virgin’ birth, Allah can do anything he wishes, even cause a virgin to bear a child, but Allah is not the father (nor is God). There are other essential differences between Christian and Islamic conception of Jesus.
- The Quran also says Jesus, he speaks the truth. Christians say Jesus IS the truth. John 14:6 quoting Jesus, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
- Muslims see Jesus as an ordinary mortal, created from dust, just as Adam, (Sura 3:39), “The likeness of Jesus with Allah is truly as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was.”
- Allah’s role is not as Father, and (Sura 5:75) “The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; messengers before him had indeed passed away. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food….” The sonship of God, god being Allah, is refuted in many locations of the Quran. (Sura 10:68) “They say: Allah has taken a son (to Himself). Glory be to Him! He is the Self-sufficient. He is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. You have no authority for this. Say you against Allah what you know not.” (Sura 18:4-5) “And to warn those who say: Allah has taken to Himself a son. They have no knowledge of it, nor had their fathers. Grievous is the word that comes out of their mouths. They speak nothing but a lie.”
- The see Jesus as a servant, (Sura 43:59) “He was naught but a servant on whom We bestowed favour and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.” He was considered an example of virtue for the Jews. He was honored not because he was God, but because as a servant of Allah, Allah bestowed Jesus favors.
- Christ’s death on the cross is denied, (Sura 4:157) “And for their saying: We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah, and they killed him not, nor did they cause his death on the cross, but he was made to appear to them as such. And certainly those who differ therein are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge about it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for certain.”
- They do not accept the Resurrection. They claim he died a mortal, natural, death. (Sura 3:144) “And Muhammad is but a messenger – messengers have already passed away before him….” (also 5:75 noted above)
- Jesus is not god, not Allah
Triumph of Jesus
Easter represents the Triumph of Jesus over the dominating culture of those in power, as a humble servant in direct contrast to the kings and high priests. Yet Jesus triumph was over man’s godlike posture, his sinful nature, his affinity towards worldly elements, and provided clarity and understanding as to the spiritual realm towards which mankind should strive to be. Not of this world, but transformed, a renewal of the mind, knowing God’s will and acting accordingly. We, as Christians then have different gifts, “according to the grace given us.” (Romans 12:6)
Triumph of Islam
Chapter 61 of the Quran, The Ranks, Section 1, is entitled, The Triumph of Islam. This is not anything like Christ’s triumph on Easter. It makes statements such as, “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks, as if they were a solid wall.” “And when Jesus…said: O Children of Israel, surely I am the messenger of Allah to you, verifying that which if before me of the Torah and giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad. But when he came to them with clear arguments, they said: This is clear enchantment.” Ahmad is the ‘Comforter’ addressed previously in the notation about the Holy Spirit and John 14:16-17. The miss-interpretation of the ‘Spirit of Truth’ is problematic for Christians. Ahmad is Muhammad. Biblical truth is questioned by Islam’s denial of Jesus as the son of God, labeling Christians as ‘polytheists’ – liars. Thus Islam needs to prevail, (Sura 61:9) “He (Allah) it is who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the Religion of Truth (Islam) that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists (Christians, non-believers) are averse.” In Section 2, Establishment of Truth needed Sacrifices, more is said, such as “You should believe in Allah and His Messenger, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, did you know.” “O you who believe, be helpers in the cause of Allah….”
Slay the Idolaters
All this leads us to Sura 9:5: Except during Ramadan, “slay the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush….” The Islamist insists on defending this religious ideology with force, as necessary, gaining a position of dominance. It is not through love, but coercion, control and domination that Allah will be the power over the world – not a free world, but a world of Islam. If any that do not believe shall live among the Muslims they will do so as long as they pay for their protection – Jizya.
Live at Peace
Christians are taught to live at peace by the living and written Word of God (the Bible). The Bible has historical significance and was in use during the time of Muhammad. It has a history far greater and more extensive than the Quran, involving many kings, judges, prophets, disciples, apostles, women and followers of all kinds. It is not one man’s story of triumph, but a story of God’s triumph for man over the wrath of God for those who believe, God’s son providing that saving grace and mercy. Allah is not left to decide, ultimately, man’s fate for as a believer in the Trinity all humans can be saved.
This Easter is a day of celebration of salvation for everyone.
The concept of resurrection is foreign to us all. It is not an event that would occur in the normal course. Doubts as to it ever happening to Jesus is understandable, however, that does not make it less real. From my book, Wake Up! Wake Up! The Testimony of a Layman: “Jesus’s disciples walked with him before and after his death and resurrection to bear witness to his life, his miracles, and the actions he took in the name of his Father. They all doubted along the way but learned the truth and believed upon his resurrection.” (pg. 91) “Sightings of Jesus after his resurrection were reported often and recorded soon thereafter. The timing of the recording of the life and miracles of Jesus lends itself to the reality and credibility of the faith and the individual. Much has been written about Jesus. The Jews and Muslims do not deny the existence of Jesus. He lived. He was a man on earth living and residing among others. His travels have been recorded and accepted. Both religions see him as a prophet but not as God or the Son of God; that is the belief and the reality for Christians. However, the evidence is compelling.” (pg. 101)
“The resurrection is at the heart of Christianity. Easter is the resurrection. It was a unique event, never prophesied as so many other activities of Jesus were. Upon further study and review, the facts indeed gave great credibility to the actuality of this world-altering happening. It changed me…. It awakened me to being part of something as never before happened and something that made all my understanding more than that; it made it real; it made Christ real; it made God real. As real as God was before, he was made more so once the resurrection clicked; yes, Jesus, having given his life for me, arose in all his glory to walk with man, not now as a human but as a body that could eat and drink and as a body that could walk through walls, as a body that could be transported. Jesus was doing what God could do and thus was God. Jesus was God made man, living a life of perfection, dying and atoning for my imperfect nature, paving the way for my salvation, and born again as God, man no longer. What glorious proof! Everything in Scripture was made whole, was made more than a book; it was the Word of God and a living document that gave me (and you) direct access.” (pg. 118-119)
“Historians often debate resurrection and the timing of the writing of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), theorizing or raising doubts as to the facts and the reality of certain events—those events reflecting the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Historians do not debate the existence of Jesus—his divinity maybe, but not the fact he walked the earth and has had a great influence on billions. But the change that occurred in attitudes toward “resurrection” tells us so much, tells us more than writers or historians can possibly doubt. What engendered such a change in thinking and impacted multitudes was more than significant; it was and is incomprehensible, yet real. It happened and made people believers. It made the apostles go on to become martyrs, for the most part, in pursuing their acts of evangelism, telling the story of what actually took place, what happened to them that made them true believers. They doubted in the presence of Jesus when he was living, but upon seeing him in the resurrected state, so many of the statements he had made to them while alive and while they traveled with him, truths he told, became reality, became understood, and engendered their life-long faith in Jesus. The resurrection did it.” (pg. 123)
Did Jesus Rise Bodily From the Grave
Dr. Norman Geisler writes, his book, When Skeptics Ask, “The most outstanding proof that Jesus rose from the dead is that He was seen by more than 500 people on twelve different occasions.. The creed-like statements recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (read 3-7) are from very early in the life of the church being formulated within a few years of the death of Jesus.” (pg. 125)
Was the Resurrection mythological or historical?
Referencing Dr. Geisler again, he says that since it was tested (the resurrection), seen by others, it could hardly be a myth. If historical its higher meaning would be diminished. The evidence was proof of Jesus Christ’s divinity. Lee Strobel, his book, The Case for Christ, mentions a conclusion drawn by “British theologian Michael Green, ‘The appearances of Jesus are as well authenticated as anything in antiquity…. There can be no rational doubt that they occurred.’” (pg. 355)
Now you know more.
Come be saved, open your eyes, if you have not already, and let the light shine through the blindness caused by false claims. Be transformed. Grow with God. Accept by faith God’s gift of forgiveness provided by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).