Jesus

Jesus, the Jesus of the Qur'an and the Jesus of Islam

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler — Hoffman

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler — Hoffman

Gabriel Reynolds, professor of Islamic studies and theology at the University of Notre Dame explains the difference between Jesus, the Jesus of the Qur’an and the Jesus of Islam.

Many Christians and other non-Muslims who want to understand the Christ of Islam turn to the Qur’an, yet the Qur’an won’t tell them much about Jesus. It mentions his miraculous birth. It refers to miracles such as raising the dead and bringing a clay bird to life. It speaks of his disciples, although it does not give them names.

Otherwise the Qur’an has precious little to say about Jesus’ life. There is nothing in the Qur’an, for example, of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, his confrontations with the scribes and Pharisees, his entry into Jerusalem, or the Last Supper.

As for his death, the Qur’an relates laconically that the Jews “did not crucify or kill Jesus” and in a following verse that “God raised him up to Himself.” Whether Jesus was killed by someone else and then rose again, or whether he escaped death entirely, is left for the reader to ponder. The Jesus of the Qur’an, in other words, is a figure shrouded in mystery.

Muslim scholars, however, have not left him that way. Instead they record a great variety of stories about Jesus, some of which describe episodes the Qur’an never mentions and others of which offer definitive explanations for things the Qur’an leaves ambiguous.

This history of storytelling, more than the Qur’an itself, shapes the common Islamic understanding of Jesus today, by which Jesus is a prophet who emphasized the spiritual life above all, who valued austerity, and who taught his disciples always to think about the fate of their souls on the Day of Judgment. Any serious appreciation of the Christ of Islam—and in particular of how Muslims think about Jesus today—must involve this history of storytelling. The Christ of Islam, in other words, is not simply the Christ of the Qur’an.

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Give me the Jesus who did and said not the Jesus who would

Prostituteweepingatjesusfeet

I believe Jesus would [approve gay marriage]. I don't have any verse in Scripture. . . . I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that's just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don't see that gay marriage damages anyone else.

Former President Jimmy Carter

Our modern-postmodern generation prefers WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) to WDJD (What Did Jesus Do), every time.

With WWJD,

What purports to be moral guidance might be nothing more than subjective thought, opinion, or sheer imagination, taken as divine wisdom.

There’s a difference. With WDJD, Jesus revealed in Scripture is our guide rather than the Jesus of our imagination.

Here’s an example, when we train how to do Discovery Bible Study we often use the story of the woman who wept at Jesus feet (Luke 7:36-50). One of the discovery questions is, “What do we learn about Jesus in the story?”

Most people respond, he unconditionally accepts the sinful woman. That’s all.

But that’s not the whole story. Jesus announces to a room of Pharisees, who are sitting in judgment on her, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven.” No one ever points out that Jesus saw this woman as a sinner in need of salvation.

We’re uncomfortable with the reality of human sinfulness and the holy love of God which must judge and punish sin. Even in the life of this poor woman. Here’s the point, we have no right to sit in judgment of who God is. We have no right to shrink Jesus down to fit our preferences. He is Lord.

Once we’ve removed the holiness of God from the picture, the next thing we can do is remove the necessity of the Cross for our salvation.

To quote Robert Hart again,

…. the love of God is associated most closely with the cross of Christ (Rom. 5:8). The sight of Christ crucified was very terrible—indeed, it was so ugly that, in the words of the prophet, "We hid as it were our faces from him" (Is. 53:3). It was a violent, bloody sight, where the Man of sorrows was poured out like water, and all his bones were out of joint (Ps. 22:14). At once it was God's judgment on sin and the manifestation of his love, where he paid our debt in full ("Teleo," John 19:30).

Jesus came to save the world, to seek and to save the lost, to pour out his soul unto death as the "propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:2). He came for that, not to usher in an era in which lust and carnality, and "the releasing of our desires," take the place of repentance and of taking up one's cross to follow the Son of Man. Give me the real Lord Jesus, who paid my debt, who commanded me to repent, and who forgave my sin.

Give me the Jesus who did and who said, not the other Jesus, the one who would.

Jesus as theological educator

Jesus rich ruler

Jesus chose not to found a school (even though schools existed in the ancient world) or to establish a structured curriculum leading to a degree. Further, even after their three years of education at Jesus’ side, Peter and John were still identified as ignorant and untrained, but nonetheless feared and honored and able to turn their world upside down (Acts 4).

Linda Cannell

I don’t think Jesus saw his role as “educator” as though the accumulation knowledge was sufficient to change the human heart.

Jesus made disciples who learned to follow and obey him.

How can we reshape what we call theological education so that it aligns with making and multiplying disciples who are faithful in head, heart and hands discipleship?

Keith Ferdinando has some good suggestions in the latest edition of Themelios.

[I’d like to track down the name of the artist to credit for the image above.]

UPDATE: Thanks to Peter we’ve identified the painting as Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann.

Jesus as theological educator

Jesus rich ruler

Jesus chose not to found a school (even though schools existed in the ancient world) or to establish a structured curriculum leading to a degree. Further, even after their three years of education at Jesus’ side, Peter and John were still identified as ignorant and untrained, but nonetheless feared and honored and able to turn their world upside down (Acts 4).

Linda Cannell

I don’t think Jesus saw his role as “educator” as though the accumulation knowledge was sufficient to change the human heart.

Jesus made disciples who learned to follow and obey him.

How can we reshape what we call theological education so that it aligns with making and multiplying disciples who are faithful in head, heart and hands discipleship?

Keith Ferdinando has some good suggestions in the latest edition of Themelios.

[I’d like to track down the name of the artist to credit for the image above.]

UPDATE: Thanks to Peter we’ve identified the painting as Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann.

The pro-same-sex marriage Jesus

Andrew walker ERLC

Movements are renewed by continually returning to their Biblical heritage in innovative ways. They die when innovation betrays that heritage. 

Andrew Walker has written the best response to the same sex marriage debate that I’ve read.

Whatever one feels about organized religion or Christianity writ large, Jesus remains a highly favored cultural icon of compassion, charity, and love. Even most atheists and avowed non-Christians will acknowledge that Jesus is someone worth admiring and imitating.

Because of his enduring attraction, Jesus is continually summoned to support causes, regardless of how rooted those causes are in the words and deeds of Jesus himself. So there’s “Take Back America for God” Jesus; pro-universal healthcare Jesus; free market Jesus. With the ascendancy of same-sex marriage, a recent and popular incarnation is the pro-same-sex marriage Jesus. Proponents of same-sex marriage have wisely attached their cause to the Son of God.

read on ….

7 Laws of Leadership Selection

Leadership selection was so important that Jesus spent a whole night alone in prayer before he chose the twelve.

Floyd McClung reflects on the lessons we can learn.

The law of harvest based leadership training.

The law of discerning prayer.

The law of selection.

The law of inspiration.

The MAWL law – the law of modeling, assisting, watching and leaving.

The law of investment.

The law of trust.

more. . .