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Christian Apologetics toward Islam and Missions to Muslims

Jesus Accused of Blasphemy – Part 1

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JesusWayTruthIn yesterday’s post I started talking about objections that Muslims have to the Gospel. If we are to win them to Christ we must have answers to those objections.

One of the major objections is the deity of Christ. Muslims are taught that Jesus was a prophet, but that He was just a man. They are taught that to make anything equal to Allah is the greatest of sins. This is called shirk.

Muslims believe that Christians are guilty of shirk because they believe that Christians make Jesus, a man, equal with God. What they don’t understand is that Christians don’t do that. It would be a blasphemous sin to make something human equal to Almighty God.

The God of Christianity is a God to be feared. When we contemplate His moral attributes, His nature, His goodness, His glory, His righteousness, His holiness, and His mighty power, it strikes fear in our hearts. He is a God too great for us to truly understand.

I want our Muslim friends to understand that the Christian message is not that a man became God, it is that God, himself, took upon Himself the form of man and came and dwelt among us in the form of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus, Himself, revealed these things through the things He said and did. He didn’t say specifically “I am God” but He did make it clear that He was God manifest in the flesh.

What I want to do today is lay out a compelling argument for the deity of Christ. I want you to be able to use these arguments with Muslims and others, like the Jehovah Witnesses, to cause them to reconsider and see Christ’s deity.

In my studies I have found five times where Jesus was accused of blasphemy. In all of these cases He was accused of making Himself God. In our time we may not see His statements and actions as doing this, but to the Jewish mind of the first century, it was clearly understood.

I want to start looking at these five passages in this article. This is part of the course I teach on engaging Muslims with the Gospel.

If you are a Christian and some one would ask you if you believe that Jesus is God you would answer with a yes. If they were to ask you to prove it from the Bible, could you do so? Most Christians could not.

The first incident where Jesus was accused of blasphemy is where He forgave the sins of the man with palsy. This is found in Mark 2:6-7, Matthew 9:2-8, and Luke 5:18-21. Lets look at the last one because it gives the most information.

Luke 5:18-21 “And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

A man forgiving another man’s sins was considered an act of blasphemy because only God can forgive sins. According to the Scriptures they were absolutely right.

In the verses that follow Jesus explains that He could have simply said “rise up and walk,” but then they would not have known that the Son of man has the power upon earth to forgive sins.

Let me illustrate it in this way. If I were to slap you in the face, and your neighbor said I forgive you, that would be strange because the offence was not against your neighbor, it was against you. Your neighbor has no right to forgive me for something I did to you.

If Jesus is only a man, how can He forgive the sins, the offences, which are against God? The Bible teaches that all sin is against God. This is why only God has the right to forgive us when we sin. You can see how the Jews understood His forgiving of this man’s sins as a claim to be God because only God has that right.

The point of this passage is that Jesus is God and has the right to forgive sins. Those who heard thought it was blasphemy for Jesus to take this right upon Himself.

Lets look at the next passage where Jesus is accused of blasphemy.

John 10:30-33 “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

The sticking point with the Jews was His saying “I and my Father are One.” Many have tried to explain this away by saying that it means they are one in agreement, and not one in the same. It is true that it could mean that, but what did those who heard understand? Their reaction shows that they understood what He meant. They were going to stone Him and their reason was “…thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

If Jesus simply meant that He and God were one in purpose He had every opportunity to correct their misunderstanding. Instead, what He said afterword confirmed that their accusation was correct, He was God!

Can it get any more clear than that? These people were going to kill Jesus because they though He was a man making Himself God. If Jesus was, in fact, only a man and made Himself God it would be blasphemy. On the other hand, if He was, as the Bible teaches, the virgin born Son of God, it is not.

Look at this from the Muslim point of view. They see Jesus as one of their great prophets. As such He is a holy man of God. His being accused of blasphemy is a serious charge.

Now lets look at the third of these passages.

John 5:16-18 “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

Jesus had just healed an impotent man. The Jews at first wanted to kill Jesus for healing a man on the sabbath. Then he called God His Father and they really got upset. They said calling God His Father was making Himself equal with God. For this they “sought the more to kill Him.”

Although the word “blaspheme” is not used in this passage, it is surly understood. Again, if Jesus is really just a man, He is really in error here by making others think He is God by what He is saying and doing.

You would think that if Jesus is not God, that God could be more clear by not allowing these passages to stand without explanation. Jesus is certainly giving the impression that He is God, and that would be blasphemy if it were not so. A thorough study of the Scriptures shows that Jesus is truly God so this is not blasphemy.

It is a really problem for Muslims if they have one of their prophets making mistakes like this. If one of their prophets is accused of blasphemy because he claimed to be God, they have a serious issue.

This is not a problem for Christians because that is exactly what Jesus was trying to communicate. He was God who made Himself a man though the virgin birth. As a man, He lived a perfectly sinless life so He could offer it on the cross to pay for the sins of all of mankind. Without Him there is no hope of salvation.

We will continue this study tomorrow.

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Updated: November 14, 2013 — 5:33 AM
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