A Message to Muslims About Jesus

By Robin Schumacher

If you are a Muslim, could I have a quick conversation with you about Jesus? Maybe you've never been presented with the facts I'm about to share with you, but even if you have in some form or fashion, I'm going to ask for your patience to listen to what I have to say.

You see, I firmly believe that everyone's eternal destiny rests on what we believe and accept about Jesus and that includes you. So, let's get started.

What Your Book Says About Jesus

If you didn't know it, your holy book, the Qur'an, makes some pretty important claims about Jesus that dovetail perfectly with what the Christian Bible says about him. For example, your Qur'an says that Jesus...

...was proclaimed to be the word (or "a word") of God and the Christ/Messiah (sura 3:45)
...was born of a virgin (sura 3:47, 19:27-28)
...was confirmed to be righteous (sura 6:85, sura 3:46)
...performed miracles (sura 3:49)
...had disciples (sura 3:52-53, 5:111-118)
...was sent with a gospel (sura 5:46)
...words should be believed (sura 4:171)
...was taken into Heaven by God (sura 4:156-159)
...will have a second and visible coming to the earth (sura 3:55)

These are all incredibly important declarations about the man named Jesus, wouldn't you agree? If true (and I believe they are), then they describe Jesus in a way that is unique among all other men, even in regard to your prophet Muhammad.

But there's more I'd like to share with you. Your Qur'an makes other assertions about Jesus that I'd like to discuss; things that are very significant. It says that Jesus...

...was not crucified on a cross (sura 4:157)
...did not die (sura 4:156-159)
...was not resurrected (implied from prior point)
...should not be worshipped (sura 5:116)
...is not the Son of God (sura 19:35, 4:171)

Please give me a few moments to give you some facts detailing why I believe differently about these points, and how they are vital to your eternal future.

Why Believe Jesus Died?

While your Qur'an says Jesus did not die (sura 4:157), the claim that Jesus of Nazareth died of crucifixion is one that is supported by not only the historical documents that make up the New Testament, but also by historians that are both Christian and non-Christian as well as those who are actual enemies of Christianity.

For example, Lucian of Samosata, a 2nd Century satirist and critic of Christianity wrote in a personal letter to a friend: "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day — the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites and was crucified on that account..." [1] The same account is given by the Roman historian Tacitus, who said Jesus "had been executed by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate when Tiberius was emperor." [2]

I'm sure you'd agree that Jewish writings would not be kind to Jesus, but even they testify to his death by saying: "On the eve of Passover Yeshua was hanged...since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!" [3] Bart Ehrman, a religious agnostic historian has also said, "One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate." [4]

So I would like to respectfully ask you to consider that there are literally no historical grounds for claiming that Jesus of Nazareth didn't die. [5]

Why Believe Jesus Was Resurrected?

I know you have no problem believing that miracles are possible, so with that in mind, let me tell you why you should embrace the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead. The facts agreed to by all scholars who have studied the account of Jesus' resurrection are these:

Jesus was crucified and put to death.

Three days later his body went missing and remains missing to this day.

There were appearances of Jesus over the course of 40 days to various people, including His disciples and those who did not believe he was the Messiah.

Christ's appearance transformed His followers and some previous skeptics, and became the central focus of their teaching, with many of them being martyred for their unwillingness to deny his resurrection.

Again, no scholarly historian denies the above facts, but the question becomes: what best explains them? Is it easier to believe everyone who says they encountered Jesus had a hallucination (the top argument atheists put forward) or that Judas was somehow substituted for Jesus on the cross (which some Muslims believe because of statements made in the Gnostic gospel of Barnabas)?

I don't think so; I think it takes much more "faith" to believe those explanations than to believe that the God who gives life can restore it whenever He chooses. [6] But now let me take a few other steps and talk to you about some additional things Jesus claimed about himself.

Believing the New Testament

Before I do that, let me first say this: I know you likely think that the New Testament of the Bible has been corrupted and is not reliable. But I believe the facts of history say differently.

While it is impossible to cover here all the reasons why the New Testament accounts are historically trustworthy, I would like to direct you to a few resources that, when read with an open mind and heart, will give you the rationale and evidence that points you towards that conclusion.

Dr. Mark Roberts, who is a Harvard-educated New Testament historian and scholar, has provided a free and easy to read set of evidences on the historical reliability of the gospels. Please take the time to read through them; you will be well rewarded for doing so.

What Jesus Said About Himself

Jesus made some pretty extraordinary claims about himself that were recorded and circulated during a time when those who heard him speak could have easily disputed what was written down if they were false. But no one did.

What did he assert? In short, Jesus claimed he was equal to God. Just look at some of these examples of how he referenced statements made about God in the Old Testament and applied them to himself:

God in the Old Testament Jesus Comparison to Himself
The Sower (Jer. 31:27; Ezra 34:9) The Sower (Matthew 13:3-9)
The Shepherd (Gen. 49:24; Ps. 23:1) The Shepherd (John 10:11)
The Rock (Ps. 18:2) The Rock (Matthew 7:24)
The Bridegroom (Is. 54:5, Hosea 2:16) The Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1)
I AM (Ex. 3:14-15; Is. 48:12) I AM (Matthew 14:27; John 8:58; John 8:18, 24)
The shepherd (Ps. 23:1) The shepherd (John 10:11)
The light (Ps. 27:1) The light (John 8:12)
The stone (Is. 8:14-15) The stone (Matthew 21:44)
Ruler of all (Is. 9:6) Ruler of all (Matthew 28:18)
Judge of all nations (Joel 3:12) Judge of all (John 5:12)
The bridegroom (Is. 62:5; Hosea 2:16) The bridegroom (Matthew 25:1)
God's Word never passes away (Is. 40:8) Jesus' words never pass away (Mark. 13:31)

But there's more. Jesus not only claimed equality with God, he did things only God can do. For example, Jesus demonstrated God's sovereignty over birth defects (Matthew 12:9-13; Mark 3:1-5), disease (Matthew 8:2, Luke 7:1, Mark 3:1), nature (Mark 4:35, Matthew 14:25), creation (Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 9:12-17), Satan/demons (Matthew 8:28, Luke 8:26, Mark 1:34), and death (Mark 5:22, Luke 7:11) with his own authority. Never once did He say, "Thus says the Lord" or call upon God to perform a miracle, but instead He acted on His own.

Moreover, Jesus forgave sins (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:2021), said He was the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5), claimed he was God's Son (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:6162; Luke 22:70), allowed himself to be worshipped (Matthew 28:9, 17), said he sends forth "his" angels (Matthew 13:41; 25:31) as well as other prophets (Matthew 23:34; see God doing this in 2 Chronicles 36:15), made a direct claim to divinity as the Son of God and Son of Man as mentioned in the book of Daniel (Dan. 7:13-14; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:6162; Luke 22:70) and said he shares glory with the Father (Luke 9:26; God says He does not share His glory with anyone: Isaiah 42:8).

What Jesus Says About You

All of the above is incredibly important, but something just as crucial — maybe even more so — is what Jesus says about you. Don't worry; it's all good news.

While the Qur'an says that your good works may earn you salvation with Allah (sura 23:102-3), have you ever felt you might not measure up? That you can never be sure of your eternal destiny?

If so, you and I are a lot alike. I know I can never, ever reach the high standards God has. In fact, you and I are not alone because the Bible says everyone falls short of those standards (Romans 3:23).

But the good news is that we don't have to. Even though we don't deserve it, Jesus came to die for the punishment that we deserve from God. He took our place on the cross and the death that should fall on you and me. Further, he was raised from the dead to prove that death doesn't win. He beat death and gives that same wonderful gift to you and me. This is why it's so important to understand the truth about Jesus' death and resurrection.

Jesus said it this way: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:16-17).

Just One More Thing...

I know what it means for you to accept and believe the things I've written. But the way I see it, eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong, and I don't want you to be wrong where Jesus is concerned.

There's one last thing I'd like to ask of you. God promises to never ignore those who truly seek the truth from Him (Jeremiah 29:13; James 1:5). Would you pray and earnestly ask God to show you the truth about Jesus? If you are truly looking for the truth about Jesus, I have no doubt that God will show it to you.

Thanks for listening my friend. For more information, I recommend you read the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.

God bless!

1. Gary R. Habermas; The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ; 1996; pg. 206.

2. Annals, Book 15.

3. Jewish Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a.

4. Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: An Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings; Oxford University Press; 2011; pp. 261-2.

5. For a good treatment of historical references to Jesus outside the Bible, see Dr. Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament.

6. For a thorough treatment of the historicity of Jesus' resurrection, see Dr. Mike Licona's work, The Resurrection of Jesus, A New Historiographical Approach.

Published 7-20-2015