"The Significance of Jesus in Islam"

by Elvin Gill

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth and His disciples turned the ancient world upside down. Since that point in history, the good news has reverberated around the globe, reaching in time as far as the 20th century.

Regardless of their religious beliefs or the faiths to which they ascribe, mot scholars who have studied the evidence acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as the greatest teacher, the greatest leader and the greatest influence for good the world has ever know. Some say He is divine. The sacred book of Islam, the Holy Qur'an refers to Him as "the greatest above all in this world and in the world to come."

Jesus Christ is the central figure of Christianity, but His eminence is also acknowledged by other religions. With the aid of qur'anic and biblical evidence, let us see what His role in Islam is.

Virgin Birth

The Qur'an points to many unique characteristics that set Jesus apart from all other men. Born of a virgin, and thus without a human father, He entered the world unencumbered by natural birth laws. The Qur'an reports that when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that a son would soon be born unto her, she replied, "How could this be, for I am a virgin and no mortal has ever touch me?" But as the account continues, "God breathed His Spirit into Mary and she believed the words of the Lord" and conceived a child.

If you are a Muslim by faith, it is important that you consider the biblical evidence concerning Christ as well as the Qur'anic, for the Qur'an itself admonishes, "If you (a Muslim) are in doubt concerning that which We (God) have revealed and shown you (in the Qur'an) then ask those (Christians) who read the Scripture (Bible) before you." In another place the Qur'an speaks of the Bible as providing "guidance and light," and claims to be a confirmation of biblical truth.

It is interesting to note also that the Bible was written by men who knew Jesus Christ personally, men like Peter, who could say, "...we were eyewitnesses of His majesty," or like John, who reported "what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled..."

As we look to the Bible, as indeed we must, we find here also, the virgin birth of Christ recorded. The New Testament reveals that before she had come together with her intended husband, Mary was found to be with child by the Holy spirit. This unusual situation fulfilled a prophecy that had been made 700 years before: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel..."

Perfect and Holy

The Qur'an claims that Jesus of Nazareth knew no sin, that He was perfect and holy, whereas all other men are imperfect. Gabriel told Mary that her Son would be "without fault." The Bible confirms this truth and further relates that though Jesus was tempted in all things just as we are, He never sinned.

According to surah Ya-Sin and Mary of the Qur'an, Jesus is the only One who can advise God concerning the fate of each individual on the day of judgment. The bible, too acknowledges that "He, (God) gave Him (Jesus) authority to execute judgment". and that "...we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ..."

In the Qur'an, Jesus is seen as a direct revelation of God. Although no one has actually seen God, Jesus declared Him for, as the Bible tells us, "He is the radiance of His (God's) glory and the exact representation of His nature..." The apostle John said that Christ came to help us understand and find the true God.

Now who is this man who Qur'anic and biblical evidence reveal to be the only One ever born of a virgin, who never yielded to temptation, whose judgment of mankind is respected even by God and who is, in fact, an exact representation of God's nature?

The Qur'an says He is the Word and the Bible says that the Word, which became flesh and dwelt among us, is God. Jesus claimed to be God when He said, "I and the Father are one."

Divine Actions

The bible and the Qur'an both ascribe to Jesus certain earthly deeds whose origin is obviously divine. According to the Qur'an only God can order living things to come into existence; mere man can't produce even a fly. And yet an account is given in which Jesus breathed life into a piece of clay to create a bird. The Bible tells us further that all things came into being through Him..."

The Qur'an states that only God can bring the dead to life. It further states that Jesus had the power to do this, and the Bible tells us specifically that Jesus called Lazarus from the grave when he had been dead four days.

Now if Jesus Christ really is God, and if His claims are true, doesn't it then follow that He has the power to change the course of your whole life--to give you a truly abundant life--no matter who you are or what you now believe? This is precisely what He wants to do, for He wants your existence on earth to be rich and happy and meaningful.

Man the creature was designed to have fellowship with god the Creator, but because of stubborn self-will, he chose to sever the ties and go his own way. This is what sin really is; what we consider "bad" or "immoral" acts are merely the result of active or passive rebellion against God.

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for our collective sins--past, present and future. Thus, in a wonderful and mysterious way, He made it possible for our fellowship with God to be restored.

Our part is simply to believe, to accept the forgiveness God offers through Christ Jesus. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name..."

God's Mercy

When we become children of God, our inheritance is nothing less than everlasting life with our Creator. The Qur'an states that Jesus was God's mercy toward man. The bible says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we also gain access to the abundant earthly life He promise to those who follow Him, and we become partakers of the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself"

This is the same message that shook the world in the first century. History has shown that wherever it has gone since then, new life, new hope and new purpose have curiously resulted.

Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me." Do you believe His words, or do you consider Jesus to be only a great moral teacher? If you think about it, such a view is not realistic.

In his book, Mere Christianity, former atheist C.S Lewis states, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level with the man who says he's a poached egg--or else He would be the devil of hell...either this was and is the Son of God, or else a mere man or something worse." You must decide.

When Christians tell others the good news, they are not asserting that the religion of Christians is superior to the religion of Jews, Muslims or Buddhists. They are simply delivering a message that has been entrusted to them--a wonderful message that was addressed from the start to all mankind.

Can anyone who knows the facts neglect so great a salvation? Can you?

(reprinted from Collegiate Challenge, Campus Crusade for Christ, Int'l)

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