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How can Jesus be God when he submitted his will to God as Muslims do?

Muslims admit that Jesus is one of the greatest messengers in the Qur’an. They know that the Bible has much evidence that Jesus is more than a prophet or messenger, but they try to believe that Jesus did activities on the way of Islam. This assumption needs to be validated.

Claims that Jesus had an Islamic life

Muslims refer to the following verses in the Gospel to support the vision that Jesus lived the way Islam proclaims:

Matthew 5:17

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Muslim claim is that Jesus just followed the law as Moses and other prophets. However, the context of this verse is different. Law is not only obedience as way to Paradise (Luke 6:46), but a call to follow Jesus the Messiah to become his disciple with love [1]. From the context can be read in a later verse that Jesus as the Messiah changed the law: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment...“ (Matthew 5:21-22). So Jesus was not a straightforward law promoter in the Islamic way.

Mark 12:29

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Mark 12:29). For Muslims it is a denial that Jesus is God. But again, a context check will show that the Greek word εἷς is also used in Matthew 19:3-6 in “the two shall become one flesh”. Therefore “one” Mark 12:29 shouldn’t be translated in an mathematical way, but in as a spiritual term that the Father and Jesus are one God.

Luke 18:19

"No one is good - except God alone.” (Luke 18:19). Also Matthew 19:17,Mark 10:18. Not a denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ, because the intention is according to Jewish tradition that it is a compliment using titles is without a meaning.

John 5:30

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30). This means that Jesus said he did what the Father is also doing, making him equal to God: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). “God was his Father, making himself equal with God”. (John 5:18). It can be called a unity between Jesus as the Word of God (Qur’an 3:45, 4:171) and Jesus as the Spirit of God (Qur’an 4:171, 5:110).

John 7:28, 8:42, 17:3

Muslims claim that Jesus is only a messenger of God: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). From the rest of the Gospel it will become clear that Jesus says he is God: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in you sins” (John 8:24) and “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).

Mark 3:35, John 7:16

“Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35) and "Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me’" (John 7:16). It means that Jesus’ will to God is no denial of his divinity. The sentence of Jesus is a reaction to Jews who accused him not to be a certified teacher from a Jewish leader. Jesus told them his teachings are divine. Jesus explained that his education is revelation from God [2].

Luke 22:36

“Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one” (Luke 22:36). The Greek word for sword can also mean the emblem of judicial vengeance or punishment, or of authority and power [3]. Jesus Christ mentioned spiritual warfare. Jesus preached peace, was against violence and violent jihad: “Put your sword away!” (John 18:11).

John 13:10

“Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you’” (John 13:10). Jesus Christ used Jewish rituals and Islam did not exist in the time of Jesus, 600 years before Islam.

Matthew 4:2

“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matthew 4:2). Fasting like Moses (Exodus 34:28) and Elijah (1Kings 19:8). The Torah, written by Moses was earlier than Islam. Jesus followed Jewish practices and no Islam.

Matthew 26:39

“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed …" (Matthew 26:39). It was in a very difficult situation, just before Jesus was executed. There is no evidence that Jesus always prayed with his face on the ground.

Luke 10:5, John 20:19

“When you enter a house, first say, "Peace to this house” (Luke 10:5) and Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19). This practice of Jesus goes back to the Torah: “And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks …” (Genesis 43:23). Jesus used oriental habits from the Torah, not Islam.

Jesus’ guidelines for submitting to God

Jesus gave us a description about submitting to the will of God. Jesus calls God “My Father”:

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

Jesus gives requirements for submitting to the will of God (Matthew 5:3-12):

- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

- Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

- Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

- Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

- Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

There are not the requirements for submitting to the will of God in the Qu’ran. Neutral readers confirm that the moral standard above is the highest ever found. Jesus fulfilled all requirements for submitting to the will of God, from his conception till his last moment on earth. By his perfect behaviour, he reveals the Perfect God inside of him. So he can claim:

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Conclusion

The Muslim claim that Jesus submitted his will to God as Muslims do can be evaluated. We can analyse from the Bible that Jesus lived according to the Jewish lifestyle practices. Therefore Jesus was not a Muslim. With his teachings, miracles and dialogues, Jesus the Messiah showed that he has a divine nature.

Notes

  1. John Nolland, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 35A, Luke 1-9:20, Word, Dallas, 1989, 309.

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