Today I want to continue looking at one of the greatest objections that Muslims have to the Gospel. They object to the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ. Their Jesus, they call him Isa, is merely a man. As a man, he is a prophet who spoke for Allah and it is blasphemy in their minds to make him God.
If the Bible taught that Jesus was a man who became God I would agree with Islam. It would be blasphemy. That is not what the Bible teaches! The Bible teaches that God made Himself a man and came as the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Those who heard what Jesus taught understood claimed that He was God. He taught that He and the Father are one. He came to preach the message of God and to pay the sin debt of all of mankind.
Here is an illustration of what we are talking about. It is a little corny, but it does make the point. There was a little boy who had a puppy that he really loved. One day he was on the floor playing with his puppy and his dad was sitting in the armchair reading his newspaper. The little boy said, “Oh, I wish I were a little puppy.” His dad asked, “why in the world would you want to be a puppy? You would have to sleep on the floor, you would have to eat dog food, why would you want to be a puppy?” The little boy responded, “If I were a puppy I could tell my puppy how much I love him, I would be able to communicate in his language.”
What a great illustration. That is what God did. He came and took on human form and lived among us so He could communicate His love to us.
We have been dealing with the Muslim objection to the deity of Jesus Christ. We need to be able to teach, using the Scriptures, that Jesus was clearly communicating to the people that He was God.
He did not say directly “I am God.” He spoke in innuendos and parables. He did this for a reason. You may say that I wish He had been more clear, but we live in His world and in His wisdom He chose to do it the way He did. He could have painted it in the sky, in the clouds. He could have done it many ways, but this is the way He chose to reveal this truth.
He wants us to come to Him by faith. This is why He chose to express Himself the way He did. If you read what He said carefully, and consider to whom He was speaking, and what they would have understood, the truth shows through clearly.
Lets take a closer look at blasphemy. You may not have a clear understanding of its meaning. Here is the dictionary definition of the word:
- The act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God
- The act of claiming the attributes of deity
- Irreverence toward something considered sacred
The Bible makes it clear that blasphemy is a serious sin. Leviticus 24:16 and 2 Samuel 12:14 tell us that the penalty for blasphemy is death. We see an example of people being killed for blasphemy in 1 Kings Chapter 21.
The third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” is about that very thing.
In Islam the death penalty for blasphemy is still practiced. Yesterday I talked about why we, as Christians, don’t practice this today. In dealing with the woman caught in adultery, Jesus gave us the option of showing mercy.
Yesterday I mentioned the issue of shirk. This is the worst sin in Islam. It is the sin of making something or someone equal with God. This is what the Muslims think we have done with Jesus. They think we have taken a man and made him equal with God.
Yesterday we started looking at the five times Jesus was accused of blasphemy. In each case it had to do with His making Himself equal with God.
The third one was where Jesus healed the impotent man. He did this on the sabbath day and it greatly upset the religious leaders of His day. When they complained about His healing this man on the sabbath He told them He was doing His Fathers work. The took up stones to kill Him because they said that He was making Himself equal with God by calling Him His Father.
Was Jesus making a big mistake here by making people think that He is God? If Jesus is not God He is guilty of blasphemy, but if He is God He is only speaking the truth.
The fourth time Jesus is accused of blasphemy is in John 8:56-59.
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”
In this passage Jesus took the title that was God’s alone. This is the title that God claimed for Himself when Moses asked Him who should he tell them had sent him. God’s answer was tell them that “I Am” sent you. The Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying. They knew He was claiming a title that belonged to God alone. This is proved by their taking up stones to kill Him.
It was very clear to the Jews that Jesus was claiming to be God. He was claiming to have been with Abraham and to be the I Am which spoke to Moses. In the mind of the Jews this was blasphemy.
The last time we see Jesus accused of blasphemy is in Matthew 26:63-66.
“But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.”
In this passage they are questioning Jesus at His trial. They asked Him to tell them “whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God,” to which He responded, “Thou hast said.” He continues by telling them that they will see Him sitting at the right hand of God and that He would be coming in the clouds. They understood exactly what He was saying.
The High Priest understood this to be all of the evidence needed to condemn Him. He felt that they had now heard His blasphemy.
Either Jesus was a madman and had no idea of what He was saying, or He knew exactly what He was saying. I believe He knew and meant exactly what the Jews understood Him to mean. He was telling them that He was God in the flesh.
Let me give you a couple of other examples that prove the deity of Jesus Christ. These passages are what I believe to be some of the best to prove that Jesus is God.
If Jesus was not God He allowed one of His disciples, Thomas, to blaspheme in John 20:27-29.
“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
He allowed Thomas to call Him God and He did not rebuke him. It would have been blasphemy for Thomas to call Him God if He was not God.
I’m sure you remember the context of this passage. Thomas had not been with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them the first time. Thomas had said that he would not believe until he saw Him and put his hands in the wounds.
When Thomas did see the resurrected Lord he was convinced that He was both his Lord and His God. Did Jesus rebuke Him? Did He say, Thomas, don’t say that, it is blasphemy to say that, don’t make me God? NO! He said, “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
He didn’t rebuke him one bit for what he believed. What did Thomas believe? He believed that Jesus was his Lord and His God. He continued by blessing those who would believe these same things.
Let me close with this last passage. First let me remind you that Muslims believe it was the angel Gabriel who came to Muhammad and gave him all the revelations that we have in the Qur’an. How is it that the same angel that announced the birth of Jesus to Joseph, came to Muhammad 600 years after Jesus Christ, and said that God does not have a son and that it is blasphemous to say that Jesus is the Son of God and to call God a Father.
Listen to what the same angel said to Joseph some 600 years earlier:
Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
This is quoiting the great Old Testament passage of Isaiah 7:14
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The angel gives the meaning of the name “Emmanuel” as God with us. He is telling us that this Son would be God coming in the flesh and dwelling among us (1 Timothy 3:16).
Remember the titles given to a child which was to be born:
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Notice that the coming Son is to be called “the mighty God” and “the everlasting Father.” How can anyone read the Scriptures and not understand the Jesus is the Almighty God?
If one is wrong about Jesus it means everlasting condemnation in the Lake of Fire. Muslims have been lied to on this subject and it is our responsibility to be able to show them the truth.
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