In Mark 12:1-12, Jesus teaches about the Parable of the Tenants.
Please read this passage and think carefully about what Jesus is saying.
This is the story of a man who plants a vineyard and then rents it out to some farmers/tenants.
Later on the man sends his servants one by one to collect the harvest. But they are all beaten or treated shamefully or killed.
What does this story really mean?
The man in the story represents God. The servants represents His prophets that He sent. They were abused, shamed and killed by those very people He sent them to.
So what did the man do? Let’s look at the following 3 verses:
Verse 6: He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all saying, “They will respect my son.”
Verse 7: But the tenants said to one another, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and the inheritance will be ours.”
Verse 8: So they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
(bold emphasis mine)
What do we learn from Jesus’ parable? Three truths.
1. After sending all the prophets, God sent His Son, Jesus, last of all.
2. No other servant or messenger was sent after Him
3. The Son was killed
[You can read the rest of the parable Mark 12:1-12 to see what God does next.]
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”
“I (God) will raise up for them (Israelites) a prophet like you (Moses) from among their brothers (the 12 tribes of Israel). And I will put my words in his mouth, and he (the prophet) shall speak to them (Israelites) all that I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18; words in parentheses mine)
WHO IS THIS PROPHET MOSES WROTE ABOUT?
Jesus said: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say.”(John 5:46-47)
HE WROTE ABOUT ME!
Jesus Himself is declaring and admitting that Moses wrote about him!
In fact all the prophets wrote about Jesus.
“Then Jesus took them (disciples) through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)
Jesus is the ONE. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life.
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM HE and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. (John 8:28)
If you do not believe that Jesus is who He claims to be, this is what will happen to you…..
Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:23-24)
God is Spirit. He is eternal, infinite and unlimited. He is not bound within the confines of time and space like you and me.
He created time and space but He exists beyond it. He encompasses everything over and above the dimension of His creatures. He is beyond every dimension we humans can perceive and He is beyond past, present and future. he is not limited by time. He is eternal. He is not limited by space, He is omnipresent.
The question is: Can such an omnipotent, omnipresent God, cause Himself, by His Word and His Spirit, to be incarnated as a limited HUMAN BEING to walk and talk among humans on earth?
Nothing is impossible for God. If anyone says God cannot do this, then you are limiting the Creator’s ability.
Christians believe He can and He HAS! Through Jesus Christ.
Remember that while He incarnated on earth, coming from outside time and space into human time and space in the form of finite human being in , the infinite God, who is eternal Spirit still exists, as He always has, outside of time and space! The eternal and infinite Father depositing His own essence as a finite Son in a human body on earth. He didn’t transform into a human being.
How this can happen is, essentially, the eternal God, added HUMANITY to His DIVINITY. In this way, He is limiting the very essence of who He is within a human body and within the confines of time and space and become and do all that a human being can do, EXCEPT sin, since He is perfectly holy and sinless.
A God who can do this is more awesome and superior and powerful compared to a god who cannot or will not step into his own creation in this manner.
Only a God of absolute love would go to such an extent to reveal Himself in such a way to His own creation so they would know Him in a way that is impossible in any other way.
Yes, any “god” can send prophets and holy men to teach his words to man, but which deity would come personally Himself for you and me? Not one who is too lofty or proud but only One who loves unconditionally.
Let me give you an illustration. Any of you watched the movie, Ant-Man? In it, a man is shrunk to the size of an ant and able to interact with ants, to walk with them and communicate with them.
Interesting story but it’s only fiction. Man does not have the ability to do this.
But please imagine with me for a moment though. What if I did have the POWER to do this? To take the essence of my being, and add the DNA of an ant to it? I could incarnate as an ant and be planted into an ant colony and be part of their community!
Note that I did not transform into an ant. I exist as a human being, even watching the ant colony from the outside, as myself! My tiny incarnation though, is right in the midst of the ants and communicating with them, as one of them.
Is there two of me? Not really. I am still me. Still one. Taking on the form of an ant is an extension of who I AM but existing in the very limited world of the ants.
My presence and existence, as an ant, in the colony is limited to what my ant body can do physically. I eat like them. I walk like them. I look like them. I function as an ant, although in essence I know who I AM really and where I came from. The world outside! Would I crawl around boasting to all the other ants “I am really a human being. Worship me!”
Who is in control while I’m in the ant colony? I AM. I didn’t completely transform into an ant. I am still me, existing on the outside watching everything.
As the ant, I could say to the other ants that “I and that human being out there are ONE.” I could also say, “That human being is greater than I.” Would this be confusing? Yes, I suppose so, but only to those who don’t understand what I have done to come to be among them. Many of them might even laugh at me and call delusional.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. John 3:13
He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. John 8:23
“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity. (Ezekiel 18:20)
The punishment for sin is death.
Some people point to this verse as proof that Jesus did not and cannot die for our sins.
But wait. Is this verse referring to Jesus Christ?
Did Jesus Christ die for His Father’s sins? Did Jesus Christ die for His son’s sins? Nonsense. This verse does not apply to Jesus Christ at all!
Who is this verse in reference to? It applies to YOU and ME! This verse is simply saying the truth that you and I cannot die for one another or anyone else because we ourselves are guilty of our own sins. We are to bear our own punishment and die for our own sins!
An illustration to understand this clearly:
Imagine that a father and son are sentenced to hang for a crime they committed. Can the son say to the judge, “I will take my father’s sentence and die for him. Let him go.”
Does the judge say, “Oh OK. Since you’re bearing your father’s punishment, then he’s free to go”? Of course not.
Rather the judge will say, “Sorry, you are going to be hanged for your own crime. And your father will be hanged for his own crime.”
You cannot bear someone else’s punishment. That applies to every human being because WE ARE ALL SINNERS.
The point is only someone who is sinless and perfect could possibly take our punishment, because he would not need to die for his own sins.
Is there any human being in history who is completely sinless? Everyone born from Adam has his blood and the same ability to sin that Adam had.
That is why someone who can be a savior from sin has to be born outside of the natural human line. If he is born from a man and a woman, like everyone else, he will carry that same corrupted sin nature and will fall into sin just like every one has since Adam.
The only way would be if someone could be born miraculously, not in the natural way, in a way that would bypass human intervention. Like through a virgin, for example. This person would not inherit the tainted blood of Adam like all human beings. He would not have a corrupted sin nature like you and I and he would be perfectly sinless.
Only such a one, could bear our punishment of sin and save us from death.
But this is nonsense, isn’t it? How can a virgin give birth? Do you know anyone who was born of a virgin in all of earth’s history? If you do, only that person can be your savior!
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning’ God with us’).” Isaiah 7:14
Satan hates God. He would do anything to oppose God.
When God created Adam and Eve, satan showed up to deceive them and caused them to disobey God and fall into sin.
There were consequences to both Adam and Eve because of that sin. They were cast out from the garden and fell under satan’s domain of sin and death.
What many miss or overlook is, there was also a very disastrous consequence for satan.
In Genesis 3:15, God speaks to satan:
“And I will put enmity between…your seed and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
God was promising that SOMEONE would come and crush satan! Satan had won a huge victory against man, Adam but, another man, the seed of the woman, would come and defeat satan but it wold not be without a cost.
Who was this seed?
Who did satan think it was? He didn’t know. All he knew was it would be a man, and it would be the seed of a woman.
When Eve gave birth to her first son, satan must have been convinced that Cain was the ONE.
So satan had his hands in Cain’s life, planting the seeds of sin, anger, jealousy, hatred in him so that satan could control him. Even when Adam and Eve had their second son, Abel, satan probably was not even interested. He was focused on his plan to destroy Cain’s life so Cain would not “crush his head” and destroy him.
Then one day, something unexpected happened. When Cain and Abel sacrificed their offerings to God, He rejected Cain’s offering and accepted Abel’s offering! What a shck this must have been for satan! Something he had not foreseen at all!
While satan had thought Cain was the one that was going to destroy him, this incident where God accepted Abel’s sacrofice and rejected Cain’s was a sign (or so he thought) that Abel was the ONE that God had promised would crush him. This was a sudden and dangerous situation for satan. He had no idea what kind of threat Abel posed. So satan had to act immediately. He used Cain, whom he already had control over to murder Abel so he could get rid of the threat to him.
Now satan thought he had defeated God and destroyed His plans. But he soon realized that Abel was not the ONE after all!
There was SOMEONE else still to come. But who?
When you read the Bible beginning from Genesis, you will see satan’s desperation throughout the centuries in trying to find out who the ONE was and his attempts to destroy those he thought was the ONE.
Satan knew from the prophecies that the ONE would come from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. Therefore he kept a close eye on this family line.
Joseph was born around 1750 BC. He was the favoured and special son of Jacob and Rachel. So satan now thought that Joseph was the ONE. Satan incited Joseph’s own brothers to kill him, and they eventually sell him off as a slave to a foreign country. Satan was content with that and tried to ensure that Joseph would rot in a prison in Egypt for the rest of his life and pose no threat to him. But God rescued Joseph. Not only preserving his life but elevating him to the position of Prime Minister of Egypt, shaming satan!
Of course, satan was furious. Satan knew the line of Jacob was continuing to grow and soon the day will come when the ONE will appear! He then pushes the pharoah to order the killing of all Hebrew baby boys born in a desperate attempt to wipe out any future seeds of Jacob’s family!
He fails again. Moses is born and survives. And God uses him mightily to bring the enslaved Hebrew people out of Egypt, symbolizing how the ONE would would come one day to also lead His people out of slavery to sin and satan just like Moses did. This was getting serious for satan.
For the next 500 years satan goes after individuals, one after another, whom he thinks would be the ONE, trying to corrupt them, to turn them away from God and to destroy their lives. Read the accounts in the Bible.
David was born around 1150 BC. The prophet Samuel prophesies that God will see to it that it would be one of David’s descendant who will have the throne forever! Satan realizes if he could kill David, then David would have no descendants and the ONE he dreaded would never be born!
Satan uses King Saul to try and kill David many times but fails. Even the giant, Goliath, was no match for him. Satan was so desperate that he even uses David’s own son, Absalom, to try and kill David. In the end, both Saul and Absalom and all of David’s enemies die but David lives and takes the throne of Israel and becomes the greatest King of Israel.
Satan tries everything but God protects the lineage of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob from the hands of satan and God fulfills His purposes in their lives. Satan could do very little to stop God’s plans.
Time and time again satan fails to identify the ONE who would be coming to crush him.
Around 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah declares,
“The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a SON and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). Isaiah 7:14
Then, another prophet Micah prophecies exactly where the ONE would be born:
“Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.” Micah 5:2
Satan sees this and gets some very important clues! Now he knows The ONE must be born of a virgin! In Bethlehem! He had been targeting the wrong ONES for thousands of years! Now he knew what to look for. He can relax for now…and then….
Seven hundred years later, Mary, a virgin, gives birth to a son in Bethlehem.
Satan rouses up, excited and scared at the same time. The ONE had come! The ONE he had been dreading was finally here! All the signs were fulfilled. Born of a virgin. Seed of a woman. Born in Bethlehem. A descendant of David. Everything had fallen into place.
Satan wanted to strike early and fast before this baby could even grow up and crush him. Satan uses King Herod to order the killing of all baby boys in the region! Many babies are slaughtered but satan fails to touch Jesus.
As Jesus grows up satan realizes that Jesus is no ordinary man. He was perfect. He was sinless unlike any man since Adam sinned. But no one is sinless except GOD. Could it be???
His worst fears are realized. He sees the signs and Jesus ‘ own words confirms it. God didn’t just send any man!
He came Himself in the form of human man!
This revelation shakes satan to the core. This was something completely unexpected! But satan feels that as long as God had limited Himself in a human body, he will have a chance to kill Jesus.
For the next 3 years satan works furiously to find ways to kill Jesus ~ the crowds, the Jewish authorities, Jesus’ enemies, the attenots to stone him, the attenpt to throw him off a cliff; everything fails until he manages to make use of one of Jesus’ own disciples, Judas, to betray Him.
There was no one happier than satan when Jesus was crucified on the cross. His plans had succeeded! He had killed Jesus, the ONE who was supposed to crush him! He had won! He had defeated God Himself! God’s promise to crush satan seemed to lie in shambles.
What satan failed to realize was that it was not over yet! Satan seemed to have won but was about to lose the WAR. Big time!
Jesus was killed but it was merely a “strike at his heel”. You see, Satan had thrown his ultimate and final weapon at Jesus. DEATH. Jesus, as a man succumbed to it but Death was not powerful enough to keep Jesus dead like every other human being! Jesus, the Divine Son of God overcame Death! “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15:54). With Death’s defeat, satan was now powerless! He had been stripped of all his authority including his last and most feared weapon! Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded! Where Adam had surrendered his authority to satan, Jesus regained it back!
But there was something else too that God accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus. No one saw this coming. Not satan. Not even the angels. Not a single human being. This was God’s perfect plan and victory. This was specifically why Jesus had come ~ “…to give His life as a ransom for many…”(Matthew 20:28)
The Bible says, the punishment for sin is death, even if it is just one sin. That is what happened to Adam and Eve. So who can make it without sinning? No one except Jesus. He alone, as the sinless ONE could take our punishment of death. This is what happened on the cross. Satan had not anticipated it at all! It sealed his eternal fate! That’s why, it is written: “(Satan) has not understood it; if he had, he would not have crucified our glorious Lord.” (I Corinthians 2:8)
Now anyone, including you and I, who choose to stand behind Jesus and trust Him as Saviour would receive Jesus’ victory over satan. This means we’re saying YES to Jesus’ Kingdom and NO to satan’s defeated kingdom. Satan has no more power over anyone who chooses Jesus. We’re no longer sons of Adam. We’re now sons of God through Jesus Christ. If you choose to remain a son of Adam, you will be cast out like he was. if you choose to be reborn as a son of God, you have a new life.
Satan now only has power over those who continue to reject Jesus because their sins are still unpaid for, because they have refused Jesus’ offer of salvation and forgiveness! Death still hangs over them.
Satan now only has one potent weapon left. DECEPTION. That’s what he used against Adam and Eve in the beginning. Now until the end of the world, he will use it again and again to deceive. He is the greatest deceiver and Jesus said, satan is the father of lies.
Satan’s greatest regret might be not understanding God’s plan of salvation. What satan thought was his greatest victory at the cross was actually his ultimate defeat! That’s why he hates the cross. Because it is a reminder of his defeat and failure there!
Now satan must continue to use deception to try and wipe out the memory of his blunder. How?
By denying what happened at the cross! And denying that Jesus died!
Satan must create a lie so he can continue to deceive people all over the world, so they will say, “Jesus did not die on the cross.”
Are you one of those who say this today?
If you don’t know what really happened at the cross, you will have no chance at salvation.
If you believe that Jesus did not die, there is no chance of forgiveness of sins for you.
You will remain a sinner and when you die, satan takes you to hell. As long as you don’t make it to heaven, it’s satan’s small act of revenge and rebellion against God who loves you and wants you saved through His Son.
This is satan’s final agenda now until the end comes.
Jesus says to us, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I AM he, you will indeed die in your sins.”John 8:24
In John 14:16-17 – Jesus says to His disciples, Peter, James, John and the others:
1.“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
Muslims claim that the Comforter that is addressed by Jesus in this verse is Muhammad.
Let’s examine if this could be true.
In John 14:16-17, Jesus us speaking to his disciples.
The Father will send another Comforter (“Ahmad”). Another? Was there a previous Ahmad that Jesus asked the Father to send? Who was it?
Th Spirit of Truth. Is Muhammad a spirit?
The world cannot receive, because the world cannot see him or know him? Why not? Was Muhammad invisible? The world did see Muhammad. The world did know him. The world cannot receive him? Hundreds of millions of muslims have received him.
You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. Remember Jesus was speaking to His disciples. Did Peter and John know Muhammad? Did they write about him? Did Muhammad dwell with them? Was Muhammad IN the disciples?
2. John 14:26 – But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
This verse clearly says that the Comforter is the Holy Spirit but let’s just ignore that.
The Father will send the Comforter in Jesus name. Was Muhammad sent in Jesus name?
He shall teach all things and bring to remembrance all things that Jesus said to His disciples. Did Muhammad remind and teach Jesus’ disciples of what Jesus had told them? When did Muhammad meet them? Is that Muhammad’s message in the quran?
3. John 15:26 – But I will send you the Comforter — the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.
I will send you the Comforter. Did Jesus send Muhammad?
The Spirit of Truth. Again is Muhammad a spirit?
He will come to you from the Father. Did Muhammad come from the Father? Wasn’t he a just man born on earth? Wouldn’t this be shirk to associate Muhammad had been with God before he came?
4. John 16:14 – Jesus is speaking: He (Comforter) will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.
He will bring me glory. Did Muhammad give Jesus glory or did he give Allah glory? This Comforter would seem to be blaspheming Allah.
The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me. Did Muhammad tell the disciples what he received from Jesus? Or did he tell what he received from Allah?
All that belongs to the Father is mine. Jesus is basically saying that He is equal with the Father, and that is why what the Spirit receives from Jesus is the same as receiving from the Father.
5. John 16:13 – When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.
He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. This is clarified in verse 14, that He will only speak what He receives from Jesus. What did Muhammad receive from Jesus that he spoke?
He will tell you about the future. Did Muhammad make any prophecies about the future?
6. John 16:7 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Muslims see this verse and question, “Wait a minute, the Holy Spirit had already come, so why would Jesus say that the Comforter would only come to you after Jesus departs?”
In the Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit only came upon prophets, kings and priests to guide them in their service. But now Jesus was promising the Holy Spirit would come EVEN to them, the disciples. See the prophecy in Joel 2:28
I will send him to you. Did Jesus send Muhammad? Why didn’t Muhammad ever mention this? Did Jesus send him to His disciples, Peter, John and others? If Jesus sent Muhammad, why did Muhammad know or say nothing about Allah and followed the multiple pagan gods like his parents for 40 years of his life?
7. John 7:39 – Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
This verse confirms what I said above. Jesus is saying that the disciples and believers would receive the Holy Spirit. They had not received the Holy Spirit yet at that point in time. They would receive the Spirit after Jesus had ascended to heaven.
8. Luke 24:49 And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
This was spoken by Jesus after His resurrection and before His ascension. He was telling them to wait in the city of Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes.
If this reference is to Muhammad, the disciples would have had to wait in Jerusalem for a mighty loooong time. More than 600 years! And even then Muhammad didn’t come to Jerusalem, did he? The disciples obeyed Jesus and waited in Jerusalem. 40 days after Jesus had ascended to heaven, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit did come as promised! (You can read about it in Acts 2)
9. Acts 2:33 – Peter said: “And the Father, as He had promised, gave Jesus the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.”
Here is Peter acknowledging what had just happened. They received the Holy Spirit just as Jesus had promised (as in the verses recorded in John).
10. John 16:8-9 – Jesus is speaking: And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin….The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me
One of the things which the Comforter will do is to convict the world of sin. What is that sin? The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Jesus.
Did Muhammad do that? Did he convict the world of the sin of refusing to believe in Jesus or refusing to believe in Allah?
Finally, let’s see what happens when one receives the Comforter, Holy Spirit…. Romans 8:16 – For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
Galatians 4:6 – And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
Does Muhammad join himself to our spirit? Does Muhammad affirm we are God’s children? Does he prompt us to call God as Father?
It is the Holy Spirit that enable Christians to call God Father.
Is Muhammad the Comforter that Jesus promised? No, Jesus was clearly speaking about the Holy Spirit and not a human being.
In trying to force Muhammad into the role of the Comforter, you are dishonoring Muhammad. He would never say or do any of these things that is described and spoken of for the Comforter.
Why do Muslims claim that the Comforter that is addressed by Jesus refers to Muhammad? Why? Because they say in the original Greek the word used is “Periklytos” which means “praised one” referring to Muhammad.
Let’s see if there is historical basis for this claim.
When we look into the original Greek text, the word used is NOT Periklytos but PARAKLETOS. Παράκλητον
Parakletos means advocate, ‘the one called alongside to help’ or comforter. Not “praised one.”
Could “Parakletos” be a corruption? Did someone change the word sometime in history to remove this reference to Muhammad?
Well, let’s look at history then. Examine the manuscript evidence. The Codex Sinaiticus (http://www.codexsinaiticus.com) is dated 350 A.D. If you study the word in this manuscript, you will find that it is “PARAKLETOS” Παράκλητον not periklytos as alleged!
Notice the screenshot of the manuscript on the left and the RED underlined word.
Remember, this document precedes Muhammad by more than 300 years; way before the advent of Islam and centuries before Muhammad was even born! No one knew who Muhammad was. Why would anyone change words that they knew nothing about?
There are actually numerous references in the Bible of Jesus showing Himself to be divine. If you would like to read one example for yourself right now, go to John 8. Please read the whole chapter to see and understand it in context.
Anyone who claims that Jesus never claimed to be God has never read the Bible nor understood it’s message. Does Jesus have to say it in those exact words, “I am God?” Think about this. Would anyone really take seriously the words of a man who comes in the desert and say , “I am God.”? People would call him a lunatic.
Jesus may not have said those exact words but He showed it and proved it in many way. If I point to a woman standing next to me and say, “This is my wife”, would you say, “You never said, ‘I am married.’ If you don’t say it in those exact words, it doesn’t count.”
Now if you’re ready to take a more detailed look at Jesus’ claims to be God, let’s explore further. First of all, Did Jesus THINK He Is God?
Whenever any of the prophets in the past spoke they always said: “This is what the Lord God says…” or “Thus says the Lord…”, etc. They knew they that they only ought to speak what God told them to. But whenever Jesus spoke, He said, “I say to you…” or “I tell you the truth….. ”
Never once did Jesus say, “This is what God says…” like all the prophets before Jesus.
In Matthew 7:28-29 – “When Jesus had finished speaking, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”
We get a clue to Jesus’ thinking, by how He referred to Himself. The most common titles He acknowledged for Himself are:
i. Son of Man
ii. Son of God.
Notice I said these were TITLES. Some mistakenly imagine that “Son of God” is a biological description. That is wrong. “SON OF MAN” and “SON OF GOD” are titles for Jesus, describing His spiritual position.
If we go down to the very basics, Son of Man means “man” and Son of God means “God”; meaning Jesus was fully man and fully God. In other words, He is God that had come in the form of a man.
The gospel tells us that our Creator has become our Redeemer. Because this conviction is the central theme of Christianity, denying the deity of Jesus Christ places a dagger into the heart of the Christian message.
– J. I. Packer
Jesus acknowledged being the “Son of God.” Again, this title does not mean Jesus is God’s biological Son. The title “Son of God” refers to likeness, or having the same divine essence and characteristics. Jesus was asserting His deity and His equality with God.
Question: But there were others who were referred to as sons of God. e.g. David, Adam, etc. Was David and Adam also God?
Answer: No. Clearly, David never thought he was God, neither did Adam. SON means a spiritual relationship. As a believer and a follower of Jesus, I too am a son of God. That does not make me God. I know and understand that sonship is a position of special relationship with God, my Father.
Jesus came to reveal to us what that SONSHIP really means in relation to the Father. Jesus called God, “Father” and taught His followers to do the same.
If God is my heavenly Father, what does that make me? A son! This is not a physical or biological position but a spiritual position in terms of relationship with my God and Father.
Question: So how is Jesus being the ‘Son of God’ different from someone else being a ‘son of God’?
Answer: The original Greek word used to describe Jesus’ sonship is “μονογενῆ” (or monogenes) which means “unique” (or one and only; or the only one of it’s kind; a less accurate translation is ‘begotten’). Meaning, there is no other Son like Him. There are many “sons of God” but only one “Son of God”, i.e. Jesus.
All other ‘sons’ are created. Jesus, being the Son of God means, God manifesting Himself in human form on earth and doing and speaking the things only God can do and speak. I’m a son of God but I don’t work miracles as Jesus the Son of God did, nor do I make other claims that Jesus made.
When applied to Jesus, ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’ are divine titles. And Jesus was clearly aware of this.
Question: But didn’t Jesus say that the Father is greater than Him?
Answer: Jesus’ statement here does not imply inferiority. Let me give you an example. I share my father’s DNA and characteristics. If I say my father is greater than I, does that mean he is more of a human being than I am? Although we’re different, we’re both equal as human beings and as men. In nature and essence we’re equal but in position and rank, my father is greater than I. This is the meaning of the word “meizon” (greater) than is used in the original language. The Father is greater than the Son in position. In essence and in being, Jesus is co-equal with God.
Question: I can understand Son of God possibly being a divine title but how is Son of Man a divine title?
Answer: When Jesus referred to Himself as Son of Man, He had in mind a prophecy written by Daniel more than 500 years earlier.
Daniel 7:13-14: “……Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. …….. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language worship Him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
Also in Mark 14:62, when the high priest asks Jesus if he was the Son of the Blessed One. Jesus said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Does this Son of Man sound like any ordinary man or prophet? It is made clear in these verses that the Son of Man was One who has all authority and power; He will come from heaven. He will rule eternally; everyone will worship Him. Seated with God means He was in a position that was equal with God! This is not any ordinary man or prophet. Son of Man, therefore, is a divine title.
Has any prophet ever dared to claim such a position for himself?
Where Did Jesus SAY He Is God?
First of all, we need to understand what Jesus’ words meant to his Jewish listeners and see how they reacted to his claims. We have to remember that the Jewish people understood their scriptures very well.
If you had read John 8, as I had recommended at the start of this post, you would have come across this verse:
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” – John 8:58
Perhaps you did not catch the significance of this saying.
“I AM” is the very name of God! Revealed to Moses in the Torah, Exodus 3:14 and the Jews were well aware of this in their scriptures. Jesus had used the same sacred name, I AM, “ἐγὼ εἰμί” (ego eimi).
The name, I AM means, God has always existed and will always exist ~ i.e. ever existing, ever living God. Right here,, we have Jesus claiming this holy and divine Name for Himself. He’s actually saying that He existed before Abraham; therefore claiming to be ever existing, ever living, and therefore eternal and divine!
In the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, the verse sounds like this:
“Yeshua said to them: “Timeless truth I speak to you: Before Abraham would exist, I AM The Living God.” John 8:58
This is how it would have sounded like in Aramaic.
Question: Isn’t this blasphemy for a “man” to claim to be God? Punishable by stoning?
Answer: Well, that is exactly what the Jews decided when they heard Jesus saying this statement!
In the very next verse we see: “Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him”. John 8:59
Why? Because the Jews who heard Him knew exactly what He was saying and exactly WHO He was claiming to be! He was claiming to be God! That is why they were ready to stone Jesus!
Still in John 8, Jesus also said, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” John 8:23-24
There’s the “I AM” again! Jesus was saying unless you believe that “I AM HE”, you will DIE in your sins!
Are these the words of just another prophet? Can a mere prophet make such preposterous claims? “I am from above!” Jesus was saying He came from heaven. Aren’t all human beings, even prophets, born on earth?
And listen to this: “You will die in your sins unless you believe who I AM!” You will die in your sins, meaning you will go to hell as sinners, UNLESS you believe who He claims to be! Who does He claim to be? We really have to find out if we do not want to die as sinners!
This is a shocking thing to say, isn’t it? Did Adam or Abraham or Moses or David or any other prophet ever say such controversial things?
In case you missed it, let’s look at this verse in the Aramaic Bible in Plain English to enhance our understanding.
“I said to you that you shall die in your sins, for unless you shall believe that I AM THE LIVING GOD, you shall die in your sins.” John 8:24
This is how it would have sounded like in Aramaic.
According to Jesus, if you want to escape hell, you need to know and believe who He really is! Do you?
On another occasion, in John 10:30-38, we see this conversation taking place between Jesus and His Jewish listeners…..
Jesus: The Father and I are one.
(Once again the people picked up stones to kill him.) Jesus: I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me? Jews: We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.
It it is. very clear. Jesus was claiming to be God and the Jews were angry with Him. If Jesus was not God, why didn’t He correct them and say, “Look guys, you have misunderstood what I said. I never claimed to be God.”
He never changed His original statement but rather, listen to what He says next in this conversation…..
Jesus: Why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’….believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
Do you follow what is going on here? Jesus is saying: “It is NOT blasphemy for Me to claim to be God.” He’s saying: “If you find my claims hard to believe then, at least, believe because of My miracles.” Believe what? Believe that ‘the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.’
By claiming to be the Son of God, Jesus is claiming to be God. And the Jews clearly understood it as seen by their reaction.
My question to you is: Has any prophet or man of God ever dared to say these things? Did Muhammad ever say, “I and Allah are one. Allah is in me and I am in Allah”. What else can such statements by Jesus that “I and the Father are one” and “The Father is in Me and I am in the Father” mean? Except that He was clearly claiming Himself to be equal with God! The Jews clearly understood it. This would be blasphemy worthy of being stoned to death!
In another verse John 5:18 – “So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill Him. For He not only broke the Sabbath, He called God His Father, thereby making Himself equal with God.”
Another time, Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, asks Jesus to let them see the Father.
Jesus replies: “You still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father! So why are you asking Me to show Him to you? (John 14:9)
Tell me please. Did Abraham ever say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen God”? Did Moses? David? Or any other prophet? What about in the Quran? Would Muhammad ever dare to say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen Allah”.
Anyone who reads these words of Jesus would have no doubts that Jesus was saying that seeing Him is the same as seeing God! Jesus was essentially saying to the disciples then and to us today, “If you want to see God, look at Me.”
Did Jesus’ Closest Followers THINK & SAY He Was God?
If Jesus said He was God, obviously this message would have caught the attention of His disciples whom He spent three years with. Skeptics claim that the deity of Jesus was an invention by Paul, years after the death and resurrection of Jesus and that even Jesus’ closest disciples never claimed that their Master Jesus, was God. Once again, these are claims by people who have never read or understood the Bible.
Let’s see what Peter, John and others said or wrote about Jesus. I have purposely not included any statements written by Paul.
Peter: The justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. (2 Peter 1:1)
John: The Word (Jesus) was God….and became flesh (human). (John 1)
Matthew: They will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us“). (Matt 1:23)
Luke: Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)
Thomas: “My Lord and My God”. (John 20:28)
If Jesus is not God, He certainly would have reprimanded Thomas immediately and corrected him. Jesus did not do that. In fact, Jesus commended Thomas, saying: “You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” (John 20:29)
Evidently, Jesus’ closest disciples were preaching and teaching that Jesus is God, even before Paul became a follower of Jesus. Paul taught what the disciples already believed, taught and preached. Also, remember that Paul lived in the time of the disciples. If he had preached something that was wrong and contrary to the disciples of Jesus, don’t you think all the disciples of Jesus would have come against him, denounced him and called him a liar. Rather they welcomed him and approved of him. (see 2 Peter 3:15; Galatians 2:9)
We can go back to 700 BC, even before Jesus was incarnated as a human and find the Prophet Isaiah saying: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(In case you have trouble with chronology and history, 700 BC is many centuries BEFORE Paul or any of the disciples were even born; Isaiah had prophesied that Jesus would be Mighty God .) So the disciples and Paul were not teaching or preaching anything that contradicted scriptures.
Other Evidence That Show Us Jesus is God
1. We all know that only God is to be worshipped.
One of the worst sins for a Jew is to worship something/someone besides God. Ever worse for someone who takes worship for themselves. However, many times in the gospels, we see that Jesus received worship. If Jesus is not God, why would He accept worship that is meant for God alone?
Refer to Matthew 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38.; Hebrews 1:6. Not once did Jesus rebuke anyone or stopped them from worshipping Him.
If Jesus was just a good teacher, shouldn’t He have taught them to do what is right? If Jesus was just a prophet, why didn’t He command them to direct their worship only to God and not to Him?
2. We all know that only God can forgive sins.
No prophet in all of history has ever claimed the right or authority of God to forgive sins.
In Mark 2:5, we see Jesus saying to a paralyzed man, “Son your sins are forgiven.” The teachers of the law were understandably shocked, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
See Jesus’ response in verse 10. “I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
And we have already seen this other verse earlier: Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24; meaning that if you believe who Jesus really is you will not die in your sins.
3. We all know that on judgment day God will raise the dead, judge the world and grant eternal life
In John 6:40: Jesus said, “I will raise them up at the Last Day.”
In John 5:21-23: Jesus said that He has absolute authority to judge.
In John 10:27: Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.”
4. We all know that miracles can only be done in the Name of God
However, we see that whenever Jesus healed the sick or cast out demons or did a miracle like calming a storm, He did it in His own Name (authority). He usually said, “I command…” or “Be healed…”. Never once did He say, “My God commands…” or “God willing, He will heal…”
In Luke 10: Jesus sends His disciples to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. And they did so in the Name of Jesus.
In Mark 9:38: When the disciples told Jesus that a stranger was casting out demons using the Name of Jesus, He answered them and said, “Don’t stop him.” if the man was doing something wrong, wouldn’t Jesus have corrected him?
In Acts 3:6: Peter and John heal a lame man in the Name of Jesus Christ. (this was after Jesus had resurrected and ascended to heaven.)
5. We all know that only God has all the glory and no one can share His glory
In John 17:5, Jesus says to the Father: “And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.”
Jesus was claiming He shared the same glory with the Father! Even before the world was created! How could Jesus have existed eternally with the Father unless He and his Father shared the same divine essence? Jesus existed as the Word of God before being incarnated as a man on the earth He created.
6. We all know that we should only pray to God.
John 14:14 Jesus said we can ask Him in prayer, in His Name.
Acts 7:55-60: Steven, the first martyr prayed to Jesus
1 Corinthians 1:2: The Church in Corinth is taught to call on Jesus in prayer
Other verses: Disciples prayed to Jesus (Acts 1:24-25); Jews and Gentiles praying to Jesus (Rom. 10:12-13); Paul prays to Jesus (2 Cor. 12:8-10) ; 2 Thess. 2:16-17; etc.
7. We all know that we should only have faith in God.
John 14:1 Jesus said, “Believe in Me.”
John 3:16: Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life
Before Jesus left the earth and ascended to heaven, He told his apostles to “baptize new disciples all over the world, in the NAME of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). By doing this, Jesus was putting both the Holy Spirit and Himself on the same level as the Father, signifying that they are equal. Did you also notice Jesus said NAME not NAMES, signifying oneness between Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
8. We all know that God alone is eternal, the Beginning and End.
The prophet Isaiah records in Isaiah 44:6 ~ “This is what the Lord says, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”
Yet, in Revelation 1:17, Jesus says: “I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”
Rev 1:8 : “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
You tell me who this PERSON is?
Referred to as “the Alpha and Omega,” “the beginning and end”, “the Lord God,” “the Almighty One”, “the living one”, “the who died but alive forever and ever”?
John prophecies about the second coming of this PERSON in Revelation 1:7 ~ “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see Him – even those who pierced Him. And all the nations of the world will mourn.
You tell me who was pierced on the cross?
Then John sees this PERSON on a throne, judging people from every nation. “And I saw a great white throne, and I saw the One who was sitting on it. . . . And the one sitting on the throne said . . . ’I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End.’” (Revelation 20:11; 21:6)
You tell me who is this JUDGE?
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who reigns from the great white throne. As shown earlier, Jesus had already told his disciples that He would be the final judge of the whole world.
Rev 21:6-7, John writes ~
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Numerous Other Times In Scripture Where Jesus Claimed To Be God (from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
In all these verse, Jesus was claiming the name of God, I AM, for Himself. Would anyone else dare to this?
But Yeshua immediately spoke with them and he said, “Take heart; I AM THE LIVING GOD. Do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27
“For they all saw him and they were afraid and immediately he spoke with them and he said to them, “Take heart, I AM THE LIVING GOD; do not be afraid.” Mark 6:50
“But Yeshua said to him, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, and you shall behold The Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Mark 14:62
“But all of them were saying, “You are therefore the Son of God?” Yeshua said to them, “You are saying that I AM THE LIVING GOD.” Luke 22:70
“Yeshua said to her, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, I who am speaking with you.” John 4:26
“But Yeshua said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, do not be afraid.” John 6:20
“I said to you that you shall die in your sins, for unless you shall believe that I AM THE LIVING GOD, you shall die in your sins.” John 8:24
“Yeshua said to them: “Timeless truth I speak to you: Before Abraham would exist, I AM THE LIVING GOD.” John 8:58
“Now I am telling you before it happens, that when it has occurred, you shall believe that I AM THE LIVING GOD.” John 13:19
“They were saying to him, “Yeshua the Nazarene.” Yeshua said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD.” But Yehuda the traitor was also standing with them. And when Yeshua said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD”, they went backward and fell to the ground.” John 18:5-6
Jesus also used “I AM” for himself on other occasions.
“I AM the light of the world” (John 8:12)
“I AM the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
“I AM the only way to the Father” (John 14:6)
“I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
“I AM the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11)
“I AM the door” (John 10:9)
“I AM the living bread” (John 6:51)
“I AM the true vine” (John 15:1)
“I AM the Alpha and Omega” Rev.1:7,8)
Want More? Consider These Scriptures.
Isaiah 44:6 – (God is the Redeemer)
2 Peter 1:1 (Jesus is the Redeemer) – “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ”
Isaiah 44:24 – (God created the world by His self alone)
John 1:3; Colossians 1:16 – (Jesus created all things)
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
John 5:23 – that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 20:28 – (God purchased us with His own blood)
Revelation 1:5,6; Revelation 5:8-9 – (Jesus’ blood purchased us)
Philippians 2:5-7 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men.
1 Timothy 3:16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
Titus 2:13 – looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ
Hebrews 1:8,9 – But to the Son He (God) says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
The real question you should be asking is not “Did Jesus ever claim to be God” but “Why Did God Become A Man?”
When you discover the answer to this, it will change your life. I guarantee you that!
Let’s play a game. It’s called: WHAT DID JESUS SAY.
There are 10 questions. All you have to do is pick the right answer, either options (A) or (B), for what Jesus actually said.
All the questions are based on CONVERSATIONS that Jesus had with people.
Each answer you get right, you score 10 points. If you get 100%, you really do know know who Jesus is. If you score anything less than 100%, then you need to learn the truth about Jesus.
Q1. A man with leprosy approaches Jesus and kneels before Him.
Man: Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.
A. No, it is not about my will. It is whether God wills or not. God willing, you may be healed.
B. I am willing. Be healed! (and instantly the leprosy disappeared).
Q2. A Roman centurion comes to Jesus and asks for help.
Roman officer: Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.
A. Have you tried camel urine?
B. I will come and heal him.
Q3. Jesus and His disciples are in a boat. There is a fierce storm
Disciples: “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
A. Let’s all pray. Perhaps God will hear us. He alone is in control of nature.
B. Why are you afraid? You have so little faith! (Then he silenced and stilled the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.)
Q4. A wild demon possessed man sees Jesus from a distance, runs and bows low to Jesus and shrieks.
Demon possessed man: “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”
A. Look, I’m just minding my own business here.
B. Come out of the man, you evil spirit! (and the man was healed and became perfectly sane.)
Q5. A paralyzed man is carried to Jesus
Jesus: My child, your sins are forgiven.
Religious teachers: This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!
A. You are right. Only God can forgive sins. I can’t.
B. I will prove to you that I have the authority on earth to forgive sins. (then he turns to the paralyzed man and heals him.)
Q6. Jairus, leader of the synagogue, comes to Jesus to seek help.
Jairus: My daughter has just died but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.
A. It’s too late. She is in hell now awaiting the day of judgement.
B. Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed. (and Jesus raises the girl back to life.)
Q7. Jesus is with His disciples and asks them a question.
Jesus: Who do you say I am?
Simon Peter: You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
A. No, I’m not. I’m just a prophet and a messenger.
B. Blessed are you, Simon. This was not revealed to you by any human, but by my Father in heaven.
Q8. Some parents brought their little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.
Disciples: Go away. The Master does not have time for them.
A. Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, I’d like to see if there are any cute 6 year olds.
B. Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
Q9. Ten men are healed of leprosy. Only one of the healed men returns to Jesus to give thanks.
Man healed of leprosy: Praise God (and he falls to the ground at Jesus feet)
A. It’s not me you should be thanking. I’m only a servant. I didn’t heal you. Thank God alone for your healing.
B. Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one else returned to give glory to God except you?
Q10.After Jesus rises from the dead, He appears to the disciples.
Thomas: My Lord and My God!
A. For the last time, Thomas, stop that! How many times do I have to tell you that I’m not God!
B. You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.
note: scripture verses are from the NLT. Some verses are paraphrased for clarity.
[cheat sheet: Q1-3 from Matthew 8 ; Q4 from Mark 5 ; Q5 from Mark 2 ; Q6 from Matthew 9 & Luke 8 ; Q7 from Matthew 16 ; Q8 from Matthew 19 ; Q9 from Luke 17 ; Q10 from John 20]
In Luke 8:26-39, we read about how Jesus healed a demon-possessed man. And then, the man, now sane, healthy and full of joy and gratitude, says that he wants to follow Jesus.
In verse 39, Jesus tells the man,
“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”
Wait a minute. Did you catch that? If you missed it, please read that verse again.
Was the man confused? Did he misunderstand Jesus? Was he out of his mind?
On the contrary, this man was in his right mind (see verse 35). He was sane, probably for the first time in many years! Jesus had healed and restored his sanity to be perfect. Jesus set him free from satan’s bondage over his heart and mind and body.
His mind was clean and crystal clear. The man understood Jesus perfectly. He recognized who Jesus truly was. And he knew exactly what to do.
Jesus is God. That is why when Jesus told him to go and tell others about God, he went and told everyone about Jesus!
Do YOU know who Jesus really is?
If you don’t, then maybe you need Jesus to come and heal you too, like He healed that demon-possessed man and find out who Jesus is.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. (John 1:10 NLT)
This week Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid-ul Adha.
They commemorate Nabi Ibrahim’s (Abraham) sacrifice in demonstrating his faith in God.
Both Muslims and Christians are familiar with the story but many do not know the deeper significance of the event. Sacrifice didn’t just begin with Abraham. It goes way back.
When Did Sacrifice Start?
Remember when Cain and Abel sacrificed to God? (You can read about it in Genesis 4 and Surah 5:27.) One of the sacrifices was accepted by God and the other was rejected. Why? Cain offered fruits (vegetation) as sacrifice while Abel offered an animal (probably a ram or a lamb).
God rejected Cain’s offering because the fruits (produce of the land) represent the labour/work of his own hands. In other words, Cain was coming to God by relying on his own works. In God’s eyes, that is insufficient. Cain’s own efforts and good deeds could not gain God’s acceptance and forgiveness. Cain’s sacrifice was rejected.
Abel sacrificed an animal. When an animal is sacrificed, the animal is slain and blood is shed. And we learn that God accepted Abel’s blood sacrifice! Who did Abel learn this from? His parents, of course. Adam & Eve.
Remember when Adam & Eve sinned, what did they do? They tried to cover themselves with leaves (vegetation!) to hide their shame and their sin-guilt. But what did God do? In His mercy, God made them a covering of skin. Adam & Eve’s own efforts to remove their guilt were insufficient. Their works were not accepted by God. He had to intervene. And where did the skin come from? An animal. An innocent animal had to be sacrificed. God showed the way. This was passed on from Adam to Abel. [We read that other prophets also sacrificed ~ Moses, Noah, etc.]
The Momentous Sacrifice
Now let us come back to Abraham and his son on the mountain. Abraham is ready to sacrifice his son. But God stops him and his son is saved. (The story is in Surah 37:99-111 and Genesis 22.)
This would have been a wonderful story of Abraham and his son and their faith in God, even if it ended right here. But there is more.
God did something else remarkable. He provided a ram for sacrifice, as a substitute, to ransom and save the boy’s life. Why did He need to do that? God was revealing how and why Abraham’s son was saved. A sacrifice of blood was required.
In Sura 37:107 it says Abraham’s son was “ransomed by a momentous sacrifice”. This ayah uses two unusual words. ‘Ransom’ and ‘Momentous Sacrifice’.
Two things we can learn from this verse.
This means the ram provided by God Himself became a substitute, dying on behalf of Abraham’s son, as a ransom.
2. MOMENTOUS SACRIFICE
Other translations of the Quran use the words: “great sacrifice”, “tremendous (noble) victim”, “magnificent slain”. Wait a minute! Who are these words describing? Abraham? His son? No. The Ram!!!
The question we would then have to ask is what was so great and magnificent and tremendous about a mere animal, the ram, that it is described in such a manner!
If you read it in Arabic, it becomes even more astounding. The Arabic word used for “momentous” is “al-Azzim“. This is one of the 99 names of Allah! It means “the Magnificent” or “the Great One.”
Why is the very name of God used to describe the sacrificial ram???
Because the sacrifice is a representation of something great, momentous, magnificent, that is to come, from God Himself!
The whole incident was pointing to God’s plan to eventually ransom, not just Abraham and his son but the whole world, with the greatest sacrifice of all! Jesus Christ!
The Lamb of God
Now we know why, 1800 years later, when the prophet, John The Baptist (Yahya ibn Zakaria) saw Jesus, he exclaimed, “This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29)
Muslims, if you’re still reading this, I believe it’s because you are not far from the kingdom of God. Please do read on right to the end….
But why does God require and accept a sacrifice? Because God wants us to understand something….
…”Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Leviticus 17:11 ; Hebrews 9:22)
This is the reason for the Jewish ritual of animal sacrifice that we read about in the Old Testament – for the forgiveness of sins as required by the Law of Moses.
A Muslim’s annual pilgrimage to Mecca always ends with remembering the sacrifice of Ibrahim (Abraham) by sacrificing animals. If the whole pilgrimage is performed correctly including the animal sacrifice, the pilgrim’s former sins are forgiven! (Hadith Bukhari, Vol. 2, Bk 26, No 596).
Compare this Islamic sacrifice ceremony and the Jewish ritual of animal sacrifice.
If you look at the Jewish tradition, you will find that according to the law of Moses, the Jews had to bring an animal sacrifice for their sins. (Leviticus 1:2) They put their hands on the head of the animal as a sign of the sin being transferred from them to the sacrificial innocent animal. (Leviticus 1:4) The animal dies instead of them as a RANSOM, as a substitute in their place.
These animal sacrifices had to be repeated, as it only acts as a temporary cover for former sins. A Jew has to go back to the temple every year to perform this sacrifice. In the same way, a Muslim could clear his sins in pilgrimage, but he will need to go back to perform it again to clean up his new sins accumulated after the pilgrimage.
This is the significance of a blood sacrifice. But can the blood of a mere animal which is perishable redeem and ransom a human? (Hebrews 9:9, 10:1,10:3) No, it is only a temporary cover.
The only blood which truly has power to take away sins is imperishable, sinless blood. If God comes in human flesh, He would have imperishable blood, which alone is sufficient to take away the sins of the world. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is a death He did not deserve since He did not commit any sin in His entire life. Like Adam & Eve, we all deserve death for our sins. But this punishment of death was carried by Jesus.
How Can A Person Die To Save Others?
According to Islam’s teachings, a martyr could intercede for 70 other people and lead them into paradise the moment his blood his spilled.
The Prophet said: The intercession of a martyr will be accepted for seventy members of his family. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 14, Number 2516). Also, intercession is accepted by prophets for their followers.(example see Hadith Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0378).
If a martyr could intercede for other people because of his sacrifice for God, why can’t the sinless Jesus Christ who was killed on the cross, also intercede for those who follow Him and put their trust in Him?
Whether you agree or disagree with the requirement of sacrifice is besides the point. The issue is: this is God’s requirement.
Whether you accept or reject it is your choice. But I appeal to you to learn more about this before you decide to reject it.
God’s ultimate plan was to require only one final sacrifice. This is the new covenant. Jesus said that His blood represents the new covenant and is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 22:20; Mark 14:24).
God had given us a peek into this plan long ago in Abraham’s sacrifice. But many of us have not recognized it’s purpose, meaning and fulfillment.
Muslims deny the death of Jesus on the cross and yet every year, they faithfully remember Abraham’s sacrifice which actually was a foreshadow and symbolised the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God for man. It was God revealing His love, justice and mercy for mankind. The Messiah’s death and resurrection perfectly fulfilled God’s plan of salvation. This is exactly what the prophets wrote about. That is why when Jesus resurrected from death, He had to teach His disciples what was already prophesied about Him. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
Jesus death eliminated the need for continued animal sacrifices.
Only a perfect sacrifice can redeem and ransom us. Through the blood shed of Jesus Christ, anyone who follows Him and accepts His sacrifice is redeemed and reconciled with God. (Hebrews 10:19). Jesus Himself has become our intercessor (Romans 8:34) for the forgiveness of our sins and complete acceptance with God towards salvation.
“You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness.” Hebrews 12:24
“That is why He is the One who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15)
“When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means He has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date…” (Hebrews 8:13)
Jesus last words on the cross was, “It is finished.” In the original Greek i is “Tettelesttai” which literally means “Paid In Full!” This signifies that the ransom for sin was fully and finally paid!
When He returned three days later, ALIVE again, He proved that sin and death and satan had been defeated because they could not keep Him dead! Jesus is alive today and still offers forgiveness and salvation to whoever is willing to repent of their sins and follow Him, mot by doing good deeds but by accepting what He has already done for us!