Subject: Christianity and Islam Part 14 – The Physical Death of Jesus Christ
Luke 23:46 “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.’ And having said this, He breathed His last.
The legitimacy of the religion of Islam as promoting peace continues to be challenged as ISIS continues its brutality against the West (the latest carnage: the Brussels bomb attacks that murdered 31 people and injured over 340). Fathima Imra Nazeer, Assistant Prof. of Natural and Applied Sciences at Mount Ida College (Ph.D in Biochemistry from the City University of New York), shares her thoughts: “It’s time we take our blinders off and started openly talking about the connection between ISIS’s brutality and Quranic literalism. It has become far too dangerous to be polite and leave religion out of the discussion. Going by the numbers flocking to Iraq and Syria these days, it is clear that a small but significant number of religious Muslims consider the ideology of ISIS legitimate, honorable and worthy enough to give up their lives for.”
Many of my well-meaning liberal friends will challenge me with “but the Bible has violent and hateful passages too..”. I have written on this issue, comparing the Quran to the Bible. Now, I want to compare an area of both scriptures that clearly points out the reliability of the Bible and the misinformation in the Quran.
At the very heart of Christianity are the historical facts of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To confess to be Christian means that you have placed your life in the hands of Him who believe died on the cross for you, as God’s solution to provide you the only way for your sins to be forgiven. As the apostle Paul said to the early Christians in the church in Rome, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
The resurrection is the God’s exoneration of Jesus Christ, that He did not deserve to be executed because He was completely innocent of any crime. As Pontius Pilate Himself announced at Jesus’s sentencing, “I find no fault in this Man.” (Luke 23:4). This was actually the prophetic fulfillment of the Old Testament verse from the prophet Isaiah in 730BC: “They made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death. Because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9).
This means Jesus’s death by crucifixion was illegal – the Jews’ shouts to “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21) were not because He was guilty of a crime. According to the Bible, Jesus died on the cross voluntarily as the substitutionary payment for sinners who cannot enter heaven because their sin cannot be acceptable to God, who by His very character is sinless and demands justice for all wrongdoing. And Jesus, being sinless and being God in the flesh, is the only Person in history qualified to pay for your and my sin.
If it can be demonstrated that Jesus did not die on the cross, and if He did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is the greatest hoax ever created and the billions of people around the globe who ever placed their hope in Jesus Christ have been deceived and are without any hope in an afterlife in heaven.
The Quran, the sacred book of Islam, claims that Jesus did not die on the cross: “And because of their (the Jews) saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger- they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.” (Surah 4:157-158). Historical scholars agree that Jesus Christ died at the hands of the Romans by crucifixion. So why would Islam deny Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection?
Muslims believe God would not allow one of their most revered prophets to be killed by the unbelievers. Instead, God rescued Jesus from having to die on the cross. Since the crucifixion is an historical fact, how do Muslims deal with it? Most Muslim scholars today believe Judas Iscariot was made to look like Jesus and was crucified in Jesus’s place. Not only do Muslims believe God had someone else die in Jesus’ place, but for six centuries (since the Quran did not come to us until 632 AD) God allowed this error to go uncorrected. That means millions of people have died believing in the deception of Jesus’s death and resurrection as their hope for eternal life. And it wasn’t until the Quran that this deception (the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) by both biblical and secular authors was corrected.
With the historical evidence for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we have a clear case of why we can trust the Bible as God’s word and why we cannot agree with the claim of the Quran’s divine origin.