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Jesus was a Prophet

Reader comment on item: CAIR: 'Moderate' friends of terror
in response to reader comment: The Jesus I know is not a mere prophet

Submitted by Abu Deedat (United Kingdom), Nov 22, 2006 at 15:30

At least we can agree that (1) Muslims view Jesus as a prophet, and (2) many of Jesus' own contemporaries viewed Jesus as a prophet, according to the Christian gospels. This was exactly my point. My point was that Jesus being a prophet is not an invention of Muhammad's; rather it is a resurrection of an idea that already existed and can be traced all the way back to Jesus' time, as recorded in the gospels themselves. I'm glad that we can agree to at least that much.

What you quoted in proof of Jesus' divinity was very interesting. Notice how according to the Gospel of Matthew 16:16, Peter says that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the Living God", yet the same story narrated in Mark 8:29 has Peter saying that Jesus is "the Christ", with nothing mentioned about "Son of the Living God." Now modern-day biblical scholars generally hold the view that Mark was the earliest of the gospels (contrary to the Augustinian hypothesis). So what we see is Mark reporting Peter as saying, "You are the Christ [only]", while the later gospel (Matthew) has reviewed the report and added, "Son of the Living God." This text-- "Son of the Living God"-- would then appear to be an interpolation. In any case, the report fails the test of multiple attestation, while the reports that Jesus was called a Prophet and Messiah (Christ) pass the test of multiple attestation and are thus more likely to be authentic.

As for the other statements which you quoted... John 10:30 also fails the test of multiple attestation. Although if we put secular scholarship aside and simply view the statement for what it is, it is Jesus claiming to be in *oneness of purpose* with God, much in the same way as a judge in a court of law could declare, "I and the law are one!" It is a statement made in the context of mysticism, not metaphysics. The internal scriptural proof for this can be found in the same gospel, in John 17:20-23, in which Jesus prays to God ("the Father") that he (Jesus) and the disciples may become "one", as Jesus and God are also "one". In fact, the same Greek word is used for "one" in both these instances. In other words, Jesus prays, "God, just as you and I are one *in purpose*, let the disciples and I also become one." If Jesus and God are metaphysically one and part of one godhead, then Jesus' prayer in John 17:20-23 should be interpreted as a prayer to God that the disciples also become gods, or at least additional persons attached to the same one godhead. Yet no Christian is ready to entertain such a ludicrious idea.

As for Jesus' claim (also in the Gospel of John, interestingly, and mysteriously absent from the three synoptic gospels) that he is "the way, the truth, and the life", this too cannot be viewed as some unmistakeable claim of divinity. First of all, it is no different to Moses stating to his people, "I am the way to God. If you wish to follow God, follow me. I am the only way to God." It is meant to be interpreted within a limited context of time and place. Had Moses made such a claim, no Jew, Christian, or Muslim today would fault him, nor would we interpret such a claim as a claim to divinity. Rather all the prophets of God showed us the way to God, how to worship Him, how to please Him, etc. In this, I find that Christians are misrepresenting Jesus' views and disobeying him. Jesus claimed to be "the way", and Muslims are happy with that. He represented *the way to God*. But Christians seem to think that Jesus' words aren't good enough. "Jesus isn't the way", they say, but rather the destination itself! Muslims however say, "Jesus is the way, not the destination." The Destination, afterall, is God Himself. The Christians, it appears, think that Jesus' words weren't good enough.

"The Father [God] is greater than I"-- Jesus in Gospel of John 14:28

"I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God"-- Jesus in John 20:17

"Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, *a man approved by God* to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him..." -- Paul in Acts 2:22

The Qur'an confirms the above perceptions of Jesus, when it says:

"O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes in your religion and do not say anything of God except that which is true. Indeed, Christ Jesus the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger of God, and His Command which He bestowed upon Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers. Do not say "trinity". Desist-- it will be better for you. For your God is One God. Glory be to Him. [Far exalted is He] above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on the earth. And God is sufficient as a Disposer of affairs." Holy Qur'an 4:171

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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