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Qur'an 3:169: Was Jesus crucified and resurrected?

The Qur’an is telling us that martyrs who were killed in the path of God are set apart from other believers:

"Do not think those who were killed in the path of God dead. They are alive and receive sustenance with their Lord." (Qur’an 3:169)

1. Context

This verse is in line with many other parts in the Qur’an. The Qur’an speaks that whoever changes this life for the life to come a great reward, see Qur’an 4:74, 3:157, 3:195, 9:111, 47:4-6 [1]. Qur’an 3:169 is addressing the emotional tendency to see someone who died too early and who followed the path of God, as a life wasted in vain. The verse is saying that someone who lived according to God’s will has not lost anything, but gained.

2. Martyrs exists with body and soul in paradise

Martyrs are those who die generally in the hands of others for their faith [2].
"Sustenance" in Qur’an 3:169 is connected with food and means that the martyrs have a body and a soul in heaven [3].

3. Immediate reward for martyrs in the Previous Scriptures

On the cross, one of the two crucified men with Jesus, makes a formal request to Jesus: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Jesus answers: "In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). According to the Gospel, there is immediate reward for those who suffer in this life [4].

4. Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus’ body

The Gospel is telling us that Jesus was crucified: “The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs” (John 19:32-33). The death of Jesus Christ cannot be isolated from the event that the righteous Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead: “The Lord has risen indeed.” (Luke 24:34) When Jesus Christ appeared to a meeting with the disciples, they thought he was a ghost. It was for the disciples hard to understand he had a physical body (Luke 24:39-43, John 20:27). The martyrdom of Jesus Christ is the greatest victory over death (Matthew 27:52, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57). By his death, Jesus Christ demonstrated to all who witnessed his death, the grace that would flow from that death [5]. In this way Jesus Christ is blessing mankind with his example to die and by his resurrection.

5. Conclusion

The Qur’an confirms the Gospel that a martyr as Jesus Christ who was killed in the path of God is set apart from other believers.


Notes:


[1] Wim Raven, Martyrs, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, Volume Three J-O, Brill, Leiden, 2002, 282.
[2] Ibid, 281.
[3] Gabriel Said Reynolds, The Qur’an and Its Biblical Subtext, Routledge, Oxon, 2010,159.
[4] Ibid, 162.
[5] Mark Beaumont, Christology In Dialogue With Muslims: A Critical Analysis Of Christian Presentations Of Christ For Muslims From The Ninth And Twentieth Centuries, Regnum Studies In Mission, Paternoster, Carlisle, 2005, 85.

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