Fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the Light of the Gospels
by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din
Jesus, a Human Being and an Apostle of God: Jesus was not God, but Man
“And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour save in his own country, and in his own house” (Matthew, 13:54–57).
A study of this sacred text discloses the hard fact that people looked upon and believed Jesus to be a man and the son of a man, saying that Jesus was born of his mother Mary, in the house of a carpenter, and that his parents had children, both boys and girls other than Jesus, and that it was odd that, being a man, a human being like themselves, he should put forth such big claims. Jesus said in reply: It is true that I am a human being. But it is also true that the Most High God picks up, from among the human beings, a man to be His prophet. I am also a prophet.
Prophets, in the past, had likewise been cruelly treated by their respective peoples. Instead of believing in them, the people deprecated and denounced them.
“And when he was come into Jerusalem [riding an ass], all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew, 21:10–11).
“The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet” (John, 4:19).
“For the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified. Many of the people therefore when they heard this saying, said Of a truth this is the Prophet” (John, 7:39–40).
These texts point out very clearly that Jesus was not God, but he was sent by God.
Jesus remained on the Cross for a short period of three hours. He had fallen into a state of complete unconsciousness, and was not dead, so that when his side was speared (John, 19:34), blood rushed out of his body. One Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor of the State, who was also a disciple of Jesus (John, 19:38), took and carried him in that condition to his garden, and placed him in a room (John, 19:41) hewn for him in a rock, above the surface of the ground, and a huge stone was rolled to the entrance of the room. Blood had already started circulating in his body; the fresh air of the garden further helped him regain consciousness. Jesus got up and went into the garden, but for fear of being apprehended again, he dressed himself as a gardener (John 20:15). And it so happened that two men went that same day to a village, and they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass that Jesus himself drew near, and walked along with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him (Luke, 24:13–16). Jesus asked them what things they had been talking of, one to another, as they walked. One of them said to him in reply that he was the only stranger in Jerusalem who knew not the things that had come to pass there in those days:
“And he [Jesus] said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Luke, 24:19).
Jesus heard this talk, and, finding it correct and true, contradicted it not; for, a prophet he was, of a truth, and prophets, not gods are crucified and slain.
“Then he [Jesus] said unto them [his disciples], O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke, 24:25).
Admonishing his disciples in this way, Jesus called himself a prophet, in whom prophecies were fulfilled.
“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew, 12:39–40).
Describing his resemblance with Prophet Jonah, Jesus made it clear that he was also a prophet, and that he would face the same situation as fell to the lot of Jonah. Jonah was swallowed alive by the whale, and alive was he vomited out. Jesus, thus outlining his resemblance with Prophet Jonah, proclaimed that he was also a prophet and, like Jonah, he would be put into the grave alive and alive he would come out from there. Accordingly, the angels had informed the women in a vision that he was alive. Jesus did not confine his comparison to one prophet alone; he repeated his comparison with Solomon as well (Luke, 11:31). Jesus claimed that he was one of the prophets.