“But why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which
I say? Whoever comes to me, and hears my sayings and does them, I will
show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug
deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the
stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it
was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man
who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the
stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house
was great.” —Jesus Christ (Luke 6:46:49)
Who was the historical Jesus?
Throughout history, that question has haunted all
who wished to know him. Jews have one concept, Unitarian Christians another,
Trinitarians yet one more; and these viewpoints are well known. What is not so widely understood is the Islamic perspective.
Most Christians are pleasantly surprised to learn that Muslims recognize Jesus as
Messiah and a Word of God. Most Jews are … well … not so positively impressed.
Translation of the Holy Qur’an, surah (chapter) 3, ayat (verses) 45-47, reads,
Behold! The angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in
honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;
He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he
shall be (of the company) of the righteous.”
She said, “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has
touched me?” He said: “Even so: Allah creates what He wills: when He has
decreed a Plan, He says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is!”
In a theological nutshell, Muslims believe Jesus to be a Word of Allah (unlike
Christian who regard him as the Word), a Messiah, born by virgin birth to Mary (Maryam) and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. Muslims believe he performed miracles
from the cradle, conveyed revelation to mankind in fulfillment of previous scripture,
healed lepers, cured the blind and raised the dead, all by the will of Allah. They also
believe Allah raised Jesus up at the end of his ministry to spare him the persecution of the people, and substituted another to be crucified in his place. Muslims further believe a
time will come when Jesus will be sent back to vanquish the Antichrist. Following this, he will eradicate deviant beliefs and practices in all religions, which will include correcting those who consider themselves to be following his teachings as Christians, but who in fact are astray. He will then establish submission to God’s will (again, the definition of Islam) throughout the world, live an exemplary life, die, and shortly thereafter will come the Day of Judgment.
Given the complexity of the issues, each point warrants separate discussion. No doubt, the reader hopes that once the picture of the scriptural Jesus is blown up for
examination, detailed analysis will reveal a profile consistent with one’s expectations.
However, in seeking the truth, we must be prepared to encounter a Jesus at odds with two thousand years of false preconception and canonical corruption, the real Jesus in conflict
with popularized notions, media profiles and modern Christian teaching. Could Jesus be
so contrary to personal and societal constructs that he will openly oppose the churches built around his existence? If so, then popes and priests, parsons and pastors, bishops and cardinals, evangelists and monks, ministers and messianic pretenders may all find Jesus
condemning them just as he condemned the Pharisees in his homeland. In other words, a Jesus may surface who will disown those who claim to follow in his name, just as he said he would, as recorded in Matthew 7:21-23:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the
kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
This passage clearly predicts a time when Jesus will disown seemingly pious
“followers,” despite their impressive prophecies, wonders, and exorcisms. Why? Because, as Jesus said, they practiced “lawlessness.” These are the followers who, despite
their miracles of ministry, disregarded “the Law.” What law? God’s law, of course—the Old Testament Law Jesus upheld. The same Old Testament Law Paul negated. The same Paul from whom Trinitarian theology took root. The same Trinitarian theology founded largely upon nonbiblical sources.
“Hey, wait a minute,” the reader may say. “Who did Jesus say he would disown,
and why? ”Let’s take a closer look.