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Adventist International Institute of Advance Studies Theological Siminary

A COMPARATIVE STUDY ABOUT CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS CONCEPT ABOUT JESUS IDENTITY AND HIS MINISTRY

In Partial Fulfillment in the Requirement of the Course

Seminar in Christian Theology

by Luther Bendanillo

TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1. Introduction Statement of the Problem Purpose of the Study Significance of the Study Limitation and Delimitation of the Study Methodology 2. Christian Evidences Concerning Jesus The Messiah

The Birth of Jesus His Teachings and Ministry Jesus Death and Resurrection The Reliability of the Gospels The Honesty of the Disciples Selected Titles of Jesus in the Bible The Messiah The Word The Son of Man The Son of God 3. Evidences in Muslim on Jesus Identity The Birth of Jesus His Teachings and Ministry His Death and Resurrection: Is it Real? Or Illusion Jesus and Prophet Mohammad Jesus Titles in the Quran The Messiah The Prophet of Allah The Messenger and Apostle of Allah The Servant of Allah

4. Christians and Muslims Views of Jesus Identity and his Ministry The Birth of Jesus His death and Resurrection Jesus and Prophet Mohammad Selected Jesus Titles in the Bible and in Quran Jesus is a Prophet Jesus is the Word of God Jesus is the Spirit from God Jesus is the Messiah 5. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chapter 1 Introduction Jesus enjoys a unique and a very special status in the beliefs of Islam. Muslims honor him so greatly that some of the Muslims were named after him. They

treat him as one of the greatest prophets of God. He is even mentioned several times with specific titles in Quran.1 However, for Christians, Jesus Christ is the center of Christianity and also the center of Christian religion.2 Christian religion would never make any single sense without the person of Christ where it is first and foremost committed. It is whom this religion based its foundation. 3 Though Jesus plays a very important role in the shaping of Muslim beliefs, there are still opposing ideas between Christians and Muslims. If there is one substantial difference which matter most as utterly irreconcilable that will always cause debate between Christians and Muslims, it is certainly Jesus Christ.4

Statement of the Problem The problem addressed in this study is to find out the similarities and the differences in the views of Christians and Muslims concerning the identity of Jesus and the impact of his ministry. This has particular reference to the life and teachings of Jesus here on earth particularly enough about his death and resurrection. And also touches his titles or given names in both the Bible and the Quran.

Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christianity and Islam in Dialogue ( England, Nothingham: Inter- Varsity Press, 2007), 127
1

Raoul Dederen, Christ: His Person and Work. Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, ed. Raoul Dederen (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2000), 160.
3

Ibid., 160. Chawkat Moucarry, p. 127.

Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to compare the descriptions of both Christians and Muslims understanding about the identity of Jesus. This would also examine and provide an explanation about the topic presented on this paper. Significance of the Study While this study is significant to the enlargement of the authors knowledge in this topic, the result of this paper may also be significant for others who are seeking clearer understanding on the similarities and differences of Christians and Muslims about Jesus identity and ministry. Limitation and Delimitation of the Study This work is limited only to the study of Christians and Muslims concepts of Jesus identity, particularly problems stated in the statement of the problem.

Methodology A historical and Biblical investigation will be used in this research by identifying and describing the key primary sources. Also, this research will attempt to find similarities and differences by analyzing and evaluating their views. This study is organized according the following structure:

Chapter 1 is the introduction to the study. The problems which are shown in the Statement of the Problem will become the main framework of the study. Chapter 2 utilizes primary and secondary sources to come up with a description and identification of Christians concept of Jesus identity and his ministry. Chapter 3 utilizes primary and secondary sources to come up with a description of Muslims concept of the identity of Jesus and his ministry. Chapter 4 compares the similarities and differences of both regarding the identity of Jesus and his ministry. Chapter 5 presents the summary and the key analysis of the study.

CHAPTER 2 The Christian Evidences Concerning Jesus the Messiah Thousands of books have been written about him which Christians evidently portray Jesus; his life, his ministry, and even his death and resurrection that are

significant and true though we admit to the fact that all are inadequate to convey the mystery and the depth of who Jesus is. Yet Christian witnesses are of great help pointing us toward recognition of who Jesus is.1 The birth of Jesus The birth and the childhood of Jesus the Messiah were all but the fulfillment of the Old Testament (OT) prophecy in which God spoke concerning the Son He promised to send into the world.2 The book of Isaiah says For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (Isa. 9:6). The Bible speaks clearly that God had promise of an eternal King to arise from David.3 And during the earthly period of his life no one came forward to dispute the well-known fact that He was of the house and lineage of David, because his ancestry was in the public records that all had access to. When Jesus asked the Pharisees, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he? they replied, The son of David (Matt. 22:42). The book of Mathew says Jesus Christ, the son of David (Matt. 1:1). Luke says, The Lord shall give unto him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32). The NT has much to say that Christ is the seed that comes out of David.4 To fulfill the amazing

prophecies of the birth of Christ, God performed a biological miracle. Among humans what happened to Mary is impossible; however, Mary also had to learn Badru D. Katerega and David W. Shenk, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue (Scottdale, PA : Herald Pr., c1997 ), 161.
1

Herbert Lockyer, All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 59. 3 Micah 5:2, 4 ; Jer. 23: 5 & Zech. 12:8; cf. 13:1. 4 Luke 2:11; cf. 2: 4, Matthew 22: 42, cf. 1:20; Revelation 22: 16, Romans 1:3.

that, with God nothing is to be impossible.1 The Narrative of Jesus miraculous birth is clearly recorded in the book of Matthew and Luke. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee (Luke 1:31, 34, 35). Then Mary was espoused to Joseph, before thy came together, she was found with a child of the Holy Ghost and shall bring forth a son, and call his name Emmanuel (Matt. 1:18, 23). Lockyer asserts, that all the prophecies relating to Christ were accurate and their performance exact. Predictions and fulfillment are in perfect agreement.2

His Teachings and Ministry The event which considered as the mark of the beginning of his ministry was his baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. According to these texts, after being baptized, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the desert. During this time, the devil appeared to Jesus and tempted him. Jesus having refused each temptation, the devil departed and angels came and brought nourishment to Jesus (Luke 4:1-13). Then he began his ministry by calling of the disciples and his ministry centers on teaching and
1

Herbert Lockyer, All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 61.
2

Ibid., p. 62-63.

healing which brought him to the notice of others and his coming has a especial concern to the poor though there were some converts who are prominent,1yet Luke says Blessed are the poor (Luke 6:20, 24). Jesus is a great teacher.2 A great teaching material found in the book of Mathew especially the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. chs. 5-7). He also taught in the Synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 13: 10). He is a miracle worker, he performed The Miracle of Cana where he turned the water into wine (John 2:1-11), The Miracle of the First Draught of Fishes (Luke 5:1-11; Matt. 4:18-22), and also The Miracle of the Feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14: 13-21; Mark 6:31-44). He has also the miraculous power to heal the sick and even to bring people back to life. One of the Miracles Jesus performed is The Healing of Woman with the issue of Blood (Matt. 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34). We can also refer to Jesus healing the sick while he was teaching in the Synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17). And one of the Miracles Jesus performed in bringing the dead back to life is the life of Lazarus (John 11:1-46). Jesus Death and Resurrection The chief export of the Christian faith is Jesus Christ and the cross. In other words the Christians claim that faith is rooted in the validity of an event, a particular event, namely the death and the resurrection.3 Moucarry believes that for Jesus, death is to be

E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (London: Penguin Pr., c1993), 112.

Ibid., 132. Scot Mcknight, Jesus and His Death: Histography, the Historical Jesus, and the Atonement (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Pr., 2005), 48.
2 3

the path of life, and being brought low to be exalted.4 Now let us examine historically, looking at the evidence of Jesus death and resurrection. The Reliability of the Gospels The Death and the resurrection of Jesus is recorded in the four Gospels. The culminating events are reported in the Gospels in detail and a realism that only an eyewitness could relate.1 Bauckham asserts, that the Gospels is the embodiment of the eyewitnesses testimonies because the four agrees on the scope of the story.2As Howard Marshall confirms that the Gospels is the good reason to believe though they were not written by scientific historian but they incorporate reliable information that portrays about Jesus based on historical facts.3 In the book of Luke it says that there were many who gathered to see what was going on (Luke 23:48). And two of his disciples, Joseph of Arithmathea and Nicodimus buried Jesus body (John 19:38-42). And also some of the women who knew Jesus well followed them and saw the tomb and how Jesus laid in there (Luke 23:55). John, Jesus disciple known as the one whom Jesus loved, is the only one of the twelve present at his masters crucifixion. Four women from among Jesus friends are also there (John 19: 17-42).

Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christianity & Islam in Dialogue (England: inter- Varsity Pr., 2007), 148.
1

Ibid., 157.
2

Richard Brauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 114.
3

Howard Marshall, I Believe in the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 235.

The third day after Jesus death, some of the women go to the tomb to embalm his body, but find the tomb empty and go away dismayed to report their discovery to the disciples (Luke 24:1-12). Jesus appears to Peter (Luke 24:34) to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18) and to his disciples (John 20:19-23). The Honesty of the Disciples The flight of Jesus disciples at that time of his arrest is reported in all four Gospels. Moucarry thinks that, being close to Jesus, the disciple could have not been under any illusion about what had happened, yet they all agree to the fact that Jesus was crucified.1 The disciples, however found it hard to accept and to believe such teaching and they were deeply troubled upon hearing Jesus (their master) saying that he had to die and rise again (Matt. 17: 22-23). They did not understand his words, but did not dare ask any questions about the meaning (Mark 9:32). The evidence of Jesus death was such that the disciples had to accept its reality. They couldnt do otherwise. Finally, what could have made the disciples say that Jesus had been raised from the dead if he had simply been taken up to heaven? Selected Titles of Jesus in Bible Jesus has many titles in the Bible with their corresponding meaning. Examining their meaning in Christian traditions will enable us to understand of who Jesus is for Christians. Jesus The Messiah

Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christian and Muslim in Dialogue (England: inter- Varsity Pr., 2007), 158.
1

Isaiah predicted the birth of The Messiah and gave a name Immanuel (God with us) that his birth would be miraculous (Is. 7:13-14). Isaiah announced that the new born king would preside over an eternal kingdom of peace and justice: Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on Davids throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever (Is. 9:7). During the time of the disciples the Jews were eagerly awaiting the coming of the Messiah. They were under the domination of the Romans so their messianic hope had taken on a political emphasis. They were looking for a liberator who would set them free from the Romans.1 According to Edersheim, whatever view maybe taken of the genealogies in the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke, there can be no question that both Joseph and Mary were of the royal lineage of David.2 The Gospel of genealogies exactly presents Jesus as being prophesied: as the son of David as stated above in the birth of Jesus. He was born in Bethlehem as prophet Micah prophesied (Luke 2:1-7). His birth is Miraculous: Mary gave birth to a child and named him Jesus and would set to the throne of David. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end (Luke 1:30-33). And even Jesus himself acknowledge it in which he warned his disciples not to tell anyone of his messianic identity (Matt. 16:13:20), as Moucarry asserts, to avoid any popular misunderstanding.3 Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christian & Islam in Dialogue (England: inter- Varsity Pr., 2007), 181-182.
1

Alfred Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), 8. Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christian & Islam in Dialogue (England: inter- Varsity Pr., 2007), 181-182.
3

The Word of God According to Moucarry it should be interpreted in the light of Jesus miraculous birth. He further explains that since Jesus has no father it was even proper in his case to trait his existence to Gods creative command.1 The Gospel of John speaks of Jesus in this way: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. v-2 The same was in the beginning with God. v- 3 All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made by Him. As Moucarry explains, Jesus is therefore the Word of God in the sense that he is the incarnation of the eternal Word of God, the personified revelation of God.2 The Seventhday Adventist Bible Commentary (SDABC) further explains that the Word being mentioned is the identification of Christ as the incarnate expression of the will of the Father. 3

The Son of Man In the Synoptic Gospels the son of Man title is used frequently. It appears in the Gospels some 80 times. In Mark 2:10 (Matt. 9:6; Luke 5: 24) says, But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath the power to forgive sins. Here the Son of Man refers to Jesus Himself, as the SDABC affirms that this is Christ favorite title for Himself.4

Ibid., 177
2

Ibid.,176
3

SDABC vol 5.
4

SDABC

And it also further explains that this title was understood among some of the Jews as a name for the Messianic ruler of the new kingdom to be established.1 In Matt. 16:13 (Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18) Jesus asked his disciples: Who do men say the Son of Man?, and in Matthew and Luke it say . . . that I am?. As Vermes explains, the variant in Mark and Luke and in some Matthean manuscript, as well as the question, And you, who do you say I am? in Mattew 16:15, leave the meaning of Son of Man in no doubt, [Jesus himself].2 The Son of God Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God, reconciling the world unto God. It further explains that this title refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as God the Son.3 Throughout the NT the phrase Son of God4 is applied repeatedly, in singular, only to Jesus. In mainstream Christianity the title of Son of God is used to describe Jesus as a
1

Ibid., 581.
2

Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew: A Historians Reading of the Gospels (London: Fontana, 1973), 181
3

Ellen G. White & Howard M. Lee, The Incarnation of the Son of God ( Payson, AZ: Leaves-of Autums Bks. ), 4. 4 The Gospel of John calls Jesus God's "only begotten son" (John 1:14, 3:16 3:18, 1 John 4:9), and Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans, in different words, states that God sent his own son (Romans 8:3). It is disputed whether the original Greek word for "onlybegotten" , monogens should be translated as "only begotten," since another usage for it in the Septuagint is special son, one-son-of-a-kind (Heb 11:17) where Isaac is described as although he was not Abraham's only son according to the Old Testament. It also refers to Jesus simply as the son in contexts in which the Father is used to refer to God the Father. Even Satan used the title Son of God when he tempted states that if thou be the Son of God command that these stones be made bread (Matt. 4:3; Luke 4:3 KJV), see also Matt. 4:6 and Luke 4:9. As SDABC further explains that Satan addressed the One against whom he had spoken so bitterly in heaven before he was cast out see (SDABC vol. 5, Washington: Review and Herald).

divine being and a member of the Trinity.1 And even Jesus himself accepted the name Son of God. On one occasion, he asked his disciples who they he is. We read, Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 16:16-17).

Chapter 3 Evidences in Muslim Concerning Jesus Identity Muslim gives a special treatment regarding the life of Jesus in which Christianity had founded. Christians are offered in Quran great treasure of biblically accurate information concerning Jesus Christ.2 This is expressed, for instance, in the Nicene Creed, which refers to Jesus as God's only Son, true God from true God, who took human form in the flesh. This view interprets the New Testament as referring to or implying the deity of Jesus in, for example, Hebrews 1:8, which quotes Psalm 45:6 as addressing him as God, and in John 8:58, where Jesus states, "Before Abraham was, I am", seen in this view as referencing God's name "I am", revealed in Exodus 3:14. Also in John 5:18, John writes "but he [Jesus] was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God". Bill Musk, Kissing Cousins?: Christians and Muslims Face to Face; In a World Marred by Religious Conflict, Can Christians and Muslims Discover More Positive Views of One Another? (Oxford, UK: Monarch Books), 349.
2

The Birth of Jesus Christ Jesus birth is a divine decree by Allah. He is referred to in Quran as the son of Maryam (Mary). The Quran teaches that the birth of the coming of the Messiah was a glad tiding. The Quran 3:45-51 and 19;16-21 describes his birth this way: Behold! The angel said: O Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, held in honour in this world and in the age to come, and he will have his place among those who are brought near [to Gods Throne]. He will speak to the people in childhood and in his mature years, and he will be among the righteous. As Moucarry claim that the name of Jesus from the Arabic equivalent Isa is used twenty-five times in the Quran and on sixteen of these occasions in the phrase Isa bin Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary).1

On the other hand, Kateregga and Shenk asserts that Muslims are genuinely opposed to the belief of Christians that Isa (Jesus) was a divine or Son of God. They based their belief in the Quran that states, Allah says, It is not befitting to (the Majesty of Allah) that He should beget a son ( Quran 5:75).2 Teachings and Ministry of Jesus In Quran 3: 49-50 it says that Jesus is a Messenger unto the children of Israel, saying, Lo I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. And I come confirming that which was before me of the Torah. As Musk confirms that in Quran not much is said about what was taught, although he is described as confirming the scriptures that came Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christian & Islam in Dialogue (England: inter- Varsity Pr., 2007), 128-129. 2 Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue (Scottdale, PA: Herald Pr., 1997), 166.
1

before him. He further explains that he warns his discples against worshiping idols then promised them the assurance of paradise if they died fighting in the way of God.1 His Death and Resurrection: Is it Real? Or Illusion The evidence that we can find talking about the death of Jesus is being express this way: And [the Jews] plotted and planned, and God too planned, and the best of planners is God. Then God said: Jesus, I am causing you to die and I will exalt you to Myself, vindicating you from the unbelievers over whom your follwers will have the victory at My hands and then, at the resurrection, is the homecoming of you all. I will be arbiter of all your disputes, (Sura 3: 54-55).

In the Quran, as Musk seems to suggest that, a prophet will not be allowed not to be successful in their ministry who are sent by God.2 The traditional Islamic understanding is that Jesus did not die, but that God raised him to himself; Jesus will come back to earth and, having completed his mission, will die a natural death.3 Two interpretations have been suggested regarding this verse. (1) The verse does not refer to Jesus death at all but to his ascension to heaven. God recalled Jesus to himself by lifting him up. (2) Jesus was raised to heaven alive and will come back and die at the end of time. Moreover Moucarry notes that this interpretation of tawaffa (God calling to Bill Musk, Kissing Cousins?: Christians and Muslims Face to Face; In a World Marred by Religious Conflict, Can Christians and Muslims Discover More Positive Views of One Another? (Oxford, UK: Monarch Books), 337.
1 2

Musk, 343.

Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Fatih: Christianity and Islam in Dialogue (England: inter- Varsity Pr., 2007), 132.

himself a person in bodily form) is nowhere in the Quran. And he added that the verse used for the ascension of Enoch to heaven is rafaa.1 Another verse that traditional Islamic understanding of how Jesus was rescued by God is based primarily on Sura 4:157-159 which express this way: They claim, we [Jews] killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the apostle of God. But they killed him not, nor did they crucify him. They were under the illusion that they had. Those who differ about this matter are full of doubts. They have no real knowledge but follow only conjecture. Assuredly, they did not kill him. On the contrary God, raised him himself, and God is all powerful, all-. And there are none of the people of the book who will not believe in him before his death. On the day of resurrection he [Jesus] will be a witness against them. (4:157-159) So the response to the boasting of the Jews, the Quran contends that, contrary to what they thought, they had not succeeded in killing Jesus of crucifying him. As Razi affirms that Jesus was not killed by the Jews, instead they killed someone whom God had made to look like Jesus.2 Moreover, Moucarry states, many Muslim theologians interpret in different way not that God turned the likeness of a man into that of Jesus. As the Jewish leaders could not find Jesus (because he was lifted up to heaven), they seized a man and crucified him.3 Jesus and Prophet Muhammad For Muslims, the attitude of Christians to Muhammad seems unjust, incomprehensible, and even sectarian in nature. We Muslims believe in Jesus and in all Gods prophets. We make no difference between them at all. So why dont you Christians
1

Ibid.,132.

Qouted by Moucarry from Razi (Opera Minora, vol. 2, pp.532-536) Faith to Faith. P 133.
2

Ibid., 135.

believe in Muhammad as Gods prophet?1 This claim seems to suggest that Muslims believe in Jesus the way Christians do which is not the case. Moucarry states that Jesus is certainly seen as one of the greatest prophets of Islam.2 Kateregga and Shenks states that Jesus is one of the twenty-five names prophet listed in Quran like Adam.Though Muslims respect Jesus the Messiah profoundly but they do not believe that Jesus is superior to all other prophets. 3 Jesus is considered in the Quran as the one who foretold the coming of a great messenger (Muhammad ) after him which is considered the last prophet of Allah (Quran 61:6). Titles of Jesus in Quran The Quran gives great titles to Jesus than any other figure in the history. He is called The Messiah, The Prophet, The Apostles, The Servant of Allah, The Messenger of Allah, Word and Spirit of God.4 The Messiah The title Messiah (al-Masih) is given to Jesus eleven times in the Quran. Majority of Muslims believe that this is not the name of Jesus but a title. One of the many verses in Quran about Jesus Messiah is found in sura 5: 75 which says The Messiah, son of Mary, is nothing but a messenger. Also in sura 4:172 which says, The Messiah will not disdain to be a servant of God.
1

Chawkat Moucarry, The Prophet and the Messiah, as quoted in Rhazis exegesis in sura 2: 143, in II:IV, pp. 88-97.
2

Ibid., 219.
3

Badru Kateregga and David W. Shenk, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue (Scottdale, PA: Herald Pr., 1997), 64. 4 Geoffrey Parrinder, Jesus in the Quran (New York : Oxford University Pr., 1977), 16.

The Prophet of Allah Jesus is once called Prophet alone in the Quran (sura 19:30, 31), but he is often named in company with other prophets and figures of old.1 The Quran speaks of the prophets as appearing only among the People of the Book2 (ahl al-kitab). There are some verses in Quran that support Jesus as the prophet as the succession of the great Hebrew prophets and patriarchs like sura 6: 84 and sura 57: 26. The Messenger of Allah The title Messenger or Apostle"3 (in Arabic rasul) is used many times that speak of Jesus as a messenger in Quran.4 Jesus enjoys a unique treatment as a messenger in Quran. He is one of the messengers which they gave pre-eminence [or they have preferred] over the others which God spoke (sura 2:253, 254). He was the messenger to the children of Israel (sura 3:43, 49; 61:6). He is a messenger of God (sura 4: 156).It is also stated in Quran that God himself says Believe in me and my Messenger which

Ibid., 37.
2

In the Quran it refers to the followers of monotheistic Abrahamic religions that are older than Islam. This also refers to those books that predate Quran; they are seen as the divine guidance to man that has been corrupted, it is not extended to followers of similar text claiming divine guidance after the revelation of the Quran, as the Qur an is seen as the final revelation and therefore any following are necessarily false. Accessed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_of_the_Book. 3 In Encyclopedia of Islam, Messenger or Apostle in a certain sense is distinct entity with an Apostle and yet in certain sense has a common identity. Apostle or Messenger is at the same time a prophet, but a prophet is not at the same time a messenger or and apostle, Enclopedia of Islam Geoffrey Parrinder, Jesus in the Quran (New York : Oxford University Pr., 1977), 42.
4

according to Parrinder, directly refers to Jesus.1 And as Parrinder asserts, that being a prophet is distinct, with a special prophetic revelation from God.2

The Servant of Allah Jesus is called Servant of God in the Quran. There are some references we can find from the Quran speaking Jesus as Servant of God. In sura 4: 170- 172 which expresses that the Messiah will not disdain to be a servant of God, nor will the angels who stand in his presence. Even Jesus himself claimed as a servant of God is written in Quran (sura 43:30, 31). The Quran also says that Jesus is a righteous servant of Allah on whom he had bestowed his favors (sura 43:59).

Ibid., 43.
2

Parrinder, p. 43.

Chapter 3 Christians and Muslims View of Jesus Identity and His Ministry Christians and Muslims have similarities and differences and even conflicting views about Jesus identity. Generally, Muslims are quite ambivalent or uncertain about Christ. They desire to honor him as they do Abraham and Moses.1 Whereas, Christians (at least nominally) ascribe Jesus more than prophethood and more than that, most of the Christians declare Christ to be God Himself.2 The Birth of Jesus Phil Parshall, Inside the Community: Understanding Muslims through their Traditions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1994), p. 160.
1

Ibid.

For Christians the birth of Jesus is viewed as the incarnation of the eternal Word of God (John 1: 1-3).1 And Robert Stein states, that throughout its history the Christian church has confessed that Jesus of Nazareth was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. As he further states, it is a supernatural birth that would play a special role in Gods plan of salvation. The conception of Jesus was simply the means by which God brought about the incarnation of His Son. 2

For Muslims, the birth of Jesus is a Miracle like many others, that is, interference by God with the ordinary laws of nature somewhat similar to the conception of John the Baptist by Elizabeth in old age. However, the manner of Jesus conception and birth does not in anyway imply divinity.3 Moreover, the Quran insists that the virgin birth of Jesus does not mean that Jesus was a divine origin.4 Jesus and his Teachings and Ministry Jesus the Messiah began his ministry by proclaiming in the synagogue in Nazareth that the Spirit of the Lord was on him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom to the captives, to give sight to the blind and liberty to the oppressed

Badru D. Kateregga and David Shenk, A Muslim and Christian in Dialogue (Scottdale, PA: Herald Pr., 1997), p. 167.
2

Robert H. Stein, Jesus the Messiah: A Survey of the Life of Christ (Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Pr., 1996), 79. 3 William Montgomery Watt, Islam and Christianity Today: A Contribution to Dialogue, for. Shaikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani (Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Pr.,1970), p. 101.
4

Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Fatih: Christianity and Islam in Dialogue (England: inter-Varsity Pr., 2007), p. 167.

(Luke 4:18). As Katteregga and Shenk state that, this was the announcement that the kingdom of God was perfectly extended into human history.1 Moreover, Katteregga and Shenk further state, that the ministry of Jesus is viewed by most of the Christians as a set of example of a kind of service for the humanity and to be followed by the established community of faith here on earth.2 More than that, they viewed Jesus as the Gospel or Teachings himself which is the Living Word of God in human form.3

His Death and Resurrection As Moucarry noted, that the death of Jesus and resurrection takes us to the heart of the debate between Christians and Muslims.4 For Christians they understood the death of Jesus as necessary part of his mission. They consider the idea that the mission of Jesus should end in suffering and death.5Moucarry further noted that the death of Jesus accomplished Gods will and had been carried out through it. Additionally, the death of
1

Badru D. Katteregga and David W. Shenk, p. 198.


2

Ibid. p. 202.
3

Ibid., p. 205.
4

Chawkat Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christian and Islam in Dialogue (England: inter-Varsity Pr., 2007), p. 127.
5

Ibid.

Jesus and his resurrection was not his defeat but His greatest victory. By his death and resurrection Jesus has forever conquered death. Moreover, Most of the Christians believed that the death and resurrection of Jesus is redemptive in purpose, something unquestionably necessary to solve the sin problem in human beings.1 It is a decision motivated by his love for us and in perfect harmony with Gods will.2 As Moucarry noted, the death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead is viewed in a completely different light in Islam. That for Muslim, the death of Jesus and its moral implications are unacceptable and that they are out of the line with Gods moral standards. Muslims object that it would have been immoral for Jesus, who was not defiled of sin or sinless to suffer to death in behalf of others.3

Ibid. p. 153.
2

Ibid., p. 163.
3

Ibid.

Jesus and Mohammad

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