Muslims and the Koran teach that Jesus was never actually crucified. They think someone else took his place and perhaps everyone was fooled into thinking they were killing Jesus.
That would be one amazing miracle. Of deception.
I think the reason why Muhammad couldn't imagine that Jesus would actually be crucified may be the same reason why the Jewish religious leaders who were behind his crucifixion imagined it would sideline him forever. They thought that the humiliation and scandal of crucifixion might convince everyone for good that he was cursed or crazy or somehow had it coming.
How could God have stood off and let this happen?
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians says that Christ crucified actually baffles both Jews and Greeks (or Gentiles). On the one hand, he says, Jews wanted signs of power and Greeks wanted evidence of astounding wisdom, but Christ crucified, so Paul writes, is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
So many have said so many different kinds of things about Jesus. This myth may be the one thing that pretty much everyone outside of Islam agrees upon. The universal ancient witness about Jesus of Nazareth is that he was crucified.
Why? Why's that so important for us? Identifying with a crucified Savior? I can think of several reasons:
- God identifies with our pain and weakness in the cross.
- God experienced the pain of rejection and the curses of people like we can in this life.
- God glorifies Christ in our eyes and makes him more beautiful and powerful because he underwent the torturous death of the cross.
- God demonstrates and even more intense love for us by letting his Son die on the cross.
- God makes the cross the ultimate intersection for all people who would be otherwise cut off from one another. The cross is the means for all kinds of reconciliation--racial, ethnic, interpersonal, marital, family, national, international, etc.
- God reverses the judgment of the world that crucified Jesus by raising him up and making him the object of ultimate praise, worship, and glory.
These are just a few reasons why the cross makes beautiful sense and brings those who can see it's true meaning through the Holy Spirit's illumination closer to God and more full of praise to God for the cross.
Give me the cross. Never take that away! Perhaps Muhammad sensed the power and glory of the cross and that it was a radically different approach from his own military campaigns to gain power, but I'll take it over power that comes from defeating others and making them do my will any day!
Share this post today to help people in your life who are resisting Jesus by repeating this old myth about him. You can learn more about the 21 Myths in 21 Days blog series by clicking here!
Check out these other posts on the following myths: no historical proof of Jesus' life, that it's possible to follow Jesus and check out of the Church, that Jesus taught the same thing other world religious leaders have, that Jesus is soft, easy, and accepting, that there are natural explanations for the supernatural miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the idea that Jesus wants his followers to be rich, the denial of the divinity of Jesus, the myth that the Bible teaches theological truths about Jesus, but not historically reliable ones, the myth that the Bible's story about Jesus has changed over time, as well as the myth that Jesus was an only child.
Labels: 21 myths, cross, Islam, reconciliation, soteriology