Saturday, December 10, 2011

What does the Qur’an says about Jesus: The Messiah…

Al-Masih Isa - "the Messiah Jesus". We read that when the angels first appeared to Mary they said of the holy child they had been sent to announce: Ismuhul Masihu Isabnu Maryam - "his name shall be the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary" (Chapter 3.45). Even before the conception of Jesus, therefore, the angels gave him the one title that is applied to him on no less than eleven occasions in the Qur'an, namely Al-Masih - "the Messiah".

Jesus alone is called the Messiah in the Qur’an. No other prophet, patriarch or priest is given this title. In Arabic it is simply al-Masih. The Qur'an's acknowledgement that Jesus was indeed the Messiah comes, therefore, as something of a surprise. He is not only called Al-Masih Isa but on some occasions the title Al-Masih appears by itself (Chapter 4.172), and on others he is called Al-Masihubnu Maryam - "the Messiah, son of Mary" (Chapter 9.31). What is most significant is that the title is applied solely to Jesus in the Qur'an and that its definitive quality is carefully defined by the use of the article - Al-Masih, namely, the Messiah. Indeed the title is never used in the Qur'an without the definite article. This rules out any possibility that the title can be applied to anyone else. No one else in the Qur'an is, or accordingly possibly could be, the Messiah. Jesus is not a messiah or one of the messiahs, he is Al-Masih - the Messiah. This leads to the third feature that must occupy the attention of all who seriously consider the use of this title in the Qur'an, namely that it is obviously used in a particular sense.
Over 300 Old Testament prophecies speak of the coming Messiah (Christ) and describe him as a man that stands above all other men, including the other messengers of God, and that he would have a regality, majesty, splendor and excellence above all other men. Indeed, he would have divine attributes. Jewish believers in Jesus used the term Messiah and Son of God interchangeably. For example, Peter, one of the first Jewish followers of Jesus said, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16)." Nathaniel (John 1:49), Mark (Mark 1:1), and Martha (John 11:27) are examples of others who used the terms Messiah and Son of God interchangeably. Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest also used the terms Messiah and Son of God together. When Jesus was on trial, Caiaphas asked Jesus, "I adjure you, by the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 26:63)."

Thus, by saying that Jesus is the Messiah, the Qur’an has duly given Jesus a title -the Son of God.

“The Qur'an again and again speaks of Jesus as the 'Messiah', and thus tacitly admits his superiority over all other prophets. It gives him the title, but fails to give any reason for the honour thus put upon Jesus; but in the Bible we learn more fully who this great one was who was thus honored by God”. (Goldsack, Christ in Islam, p. 12).

In the Qur'an that Jesus was indeed the Messiah; People of the Book have a golden opportunity to witness meaningfully to Muslims. The Qur'an attempts no explanation of the title, yet its very inclusion in the book and we read at least in 15 verses that the Qur’an confirming the Bible. Such as in 3:3 “He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture with truth, CONFIRMING that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel” and 5:48 “To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, CONFIRMING the scripture that came before it, and GUARDING it in safety: …”  (See also 2:41, 6:92, 10:37, 35:31 etc.) If the Qur’an CONFIRMING the scripture that came before it, and GUARDING it in safety then it means the Qur’an confirming the Old Testament prophecies speak of the coming Messiah and also it conform the New Testament which is all about Jesus Christ, Isa Al-Masih.

The sacred Scripture of Islam opens a wide door for effective witness. The common testimony of both the Christian and the Muslim Scriptures to Jesus as the long awaited Supremely Anointed One provides a platform on which Christians can build the message of the Gospel and show Muslims the real meaning and implications of the title.

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