Even More Proof that Jesus is God Incarnate! Pt. 1
The Muslim Debate Initiative (MDI) has posted a brief article titled, “More proof that people didn't believe Jesus was God” (*; *), where they try to use the Holy Bible to undermine the Deity of Christ.
Although no author’s name is given, I suspect that this was actually written by Sami Zaatari due to the similarity in writing and argumentation. However, I don’t blame him for not ascribing his name to this piece since I would also be too embarrassed to have such a shallow, inconsistent and dishonest butchering of God’s Word associated with my name.
After quoting Mark 6:14-15 where the people around Herod thought that Jesus may have been Elijah or John Baptist risen from the dead, or a prophet like the prophets of long ago, the MDI team write:
Not a single one of these persons claimed Jesus was God, what’s very interesting as well is that Christian apologists often point to Jesus’ miracles as proof of his divinity, yet for these people the miracles he performed was in fact proof that he was a prophet, and for one of the persons proof he was John the Baptist. Nobody was viewing the miracles of Jesus as something unique, or something that made him divine, it seems that only Christian apologists have this understanding.
So what we have here is yet another clear case of people alive during the lifetime of Jesus, who did not believe he was God, despite the miracles and wonders he performed, and rather believed that he was a prophet of God instead, with the miracles and wonders he performed proof of that (that he was a prophet).
In the first place, the responses given by these individuals end up proving too much since their understanding of who Jesus was/is would mean that he could not be the virgin born Son of Mary, the Messiah, or God’s Word and Spirit which proceeded from him, since none of these persons explicitly confessed that he believed that Jesus was any of these things.
Therefore, if we base our understanding on what these unnamed individuals are reported to have believed and thought, and ignore the rest of what the NT teaches concerning the Person of Christ, then we would have to conclude that Muhammad was a false prophet (which he was, but for other reasons) for teaching that Jesus was more than just a prophet of God. Muhammad believed that Jesus was the virgin born Son of Mary, the Messiah, as well as the Word and Spirit of Allah which proceeded forth from Allah himself:
When the angels said; o Mary, verily God sendeth thee good tidings, [that thou shalt bear] the word, [proceeding] from himself; his name shall be Christ Jesus the son of Mary, honourable in this world and in the world to come, and [one] of those who approach near [to the presence of God]; and he shall speak unto men in the cradle, and when he is grown up; and he shall be [one] of the righteous: She answered, Lord, how shall I have a son, since a man hath not touched me? [The Angel] said, so God createth that which he pleaseth: When he decreeth a thing, he only saith unto it, be, and it is: S. 3:45-47 Sale
O ye who have received the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion, neither say of God [any other] than the truth. Verily Christ Jesus the son of Mary [is] the apostle of God, and his word, which he conveyed into Mary, and a spirit [proceeding] from him. Believe therefore in God, and his apostles, and say not, [there are] three [Gods]; forbear [this]; it will be better for you. God is but one God. Far be it from him that he should have a son! Unto him [belongeth] whatsoever [is] in heaven and on earth; and God is a sufficient protector. S. 4:171 Sale
In light of the above, does MDI really want to base their case solely on the testimony of people who obviously hadn’t spent enough time with Jesus to know who he really was? If so, then are they willing to turn their backs on Muhammad for saying that Jesus was much more than a mere prophet of God?
If they are going to be honest and consistent, then they have no choice but to condemn Muhammad as a false prophet (which indeed he was but for other reasons).
Now let us see what the rest of the chapter has to say concerning Christ, which the MDI team conveniently forgot to mention:
“And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes. Wherever you go,” he said, ‘stay in the same house until you leave town. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.’ So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.” Mark 6:7-13
Here Christ grants his disciples the authority to perform miraculous healings and exorcisms, something which he did on more than one occasion:
“He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was. Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, giving them authority to cast out demons.” Mark 3:10-15
In this example, Christ not only grants his followers the ability to perform exorcisms in a similar manner to him, he even receives the worship and reverence of demons, since they clearly recognize his true identity as the unique Son of God.
Now lest MDI accuse us of relying on the testimony of demons, here is what God himself says concerning the Lord Jesus:
“One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, 'You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.'” Mark 1:9-11
On a related note, Muslims inform us that Islam means to submit to God’s will, which precisely agrees with what Jesus himself taught:
“Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35
And yet true Islam according to God himself is to listen to and obey his beloved Son, since the Son gives everlasting life to all believers and shall be the One that resurrects them at the last day!
“Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, ‘Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.’ Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.” Mark 9:2-8
“‘For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.’ Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, “I came down from heaven”?’ But Jesus replied, ‘Stop complaining about what I said. For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up… But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.’” John 6:38-44, 54
Getting back to the issue of the disciples performing miracles, the following reference gives us an idea of how they did so:
“John said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.’ ‘Don’t stop him!’ Jesus said. ‘No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me.’” Mark 9:38-39
This shows that believers went around performing miracles in the name of the Lord Jesus, something truly remarkable since the Hebrew Scriptures are quite clear that it is Yahweh’s name alone that has the power to save, heal, and deliver!
This brings us to the next point, which we will pick up in the second part of our rebuttal.