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I love Jesus, even more than you!

Nimo

25 Jun 2024

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I love Jesus, even more than you!

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Muslims will often say they love Jesus. But what does the Qur'an really say about him and how can we point our Muslim friends to the real Jesus? Missionary Nimo share his experience.

I’ll never forget what Muhammad said to me. I’d only been a Christian for about six months, but I had a growing passion for evangelism.

I would see Muhammad being pushed in a wheelchair up and down the main road leading up to Enfield Town by his wife. He was a paraplegic, having damaged his spine in a diving accident back in Morocco when he was a teenager. One day I finally got to say hi to him, and shortly after, I got an invitation to his house to drink tea.

Arriving at his home, I was ushered into the back garden where an old military bus was parked up. He hoisted himself up into the driving seat of the bus, invited me to sit in the passenger seat.

As we chatted, he proudly told me he was having the bus modified so he could drive it himself. “One day, I plan to drive to Mecca so I can do the Haj” said Muhammad as I sipped on my tea brought to the bus by his wife.

His plans to drive to the Middle East in a battered up old bus wasn’t what really surprised me.

It wasn’t long before the topic of Christianity came up. Muhammed was probably the first Muslim I had spoken to as a new Christian. What he said next, left a profound impression on me and started me on a journey to reach Muslims with the gospel.

“Nimo”, he said, “you know, as a Muslim, I love Jesus. In fact, I love Jesus even more than Christians do”.

"The Muslim claim to love Jesus, is actually very common."

At that time, I had little idea what was in the Qur’an. I certainly didn’t know that Jesus is mentioned many more times than the prophet Muhammed.

The Muslim claim to love Jesus, is actually very common.

In London, Muslim dawah teams are active, often setting up book tables offering copies of the Qur’an and other literature with big signs saying things like, “We love Jesus because we are Muslim.”

So, how can we respond to a Muslim friend or colleague if they tell you this?

Well, it’s a good start to know what the Qur’an actually says about Jesus. If he is the same as the Jesus of the Bible, that surely would be a wonderful thing and point of common ground that should be celebrated. Sadly, whoever the Jesus is that Muslims claim to love, he is not the Jesus that New Testament presents to us.

The Jesus of the Qur’an, however, is a very different Jesus. Here’s just three significant differences.

Not the Son of God

The Qur’an describes Jesus as “created from dust”, only a messenger, not the Son, as Allah is “exalted above having a son”. The Qur’an accuses Christians as being “deluded” for believing such a thing. Interestingly, here the Qur’an misunderstands what it means that Jesus is the Son of God. It assumes that if Jesus is the Son, Allah would therefore need a wife.

Not part of the trinity

He is not one with the Father and the Sprit in Trinity either. The belief that, “we worship one God in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity”, as Athanasius put it 200 years before the Qur’an was said to be written, is flatly denied. “Do not say three”, exhorts the Qur’an, yet when describing the Trinity, gets it wrong.

As for God becoming flesh and living among us, again this is denied, as Allah, “He neither begets nor is born.”

Not crucified

Perhaps most significantly, the idea that Jesus came to suffer and die on the cross in the place of sinners is also rejected in the Qur’an. It seems to pick up on the Second Century gnostic idea that someone got swapped for Jesus at his crucifixion, “they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them”

"The Qur’an describes Jesus as “created from dust”, only a messenger, not the Son."

No Jesus, No Hope

It’s this last difference which gets to the heart of the insecurity that Muslims live with on a daily basis.

A friend of mine recently walked past a poster in Tower Hamlets advertising a charity car wash around the time of Ramadan. “Wash your car and wash away your sins,” was the promise to customers.

It may sound almost amusing, and it may have been written tongue-in-cheek. But the sad fact is it’s true. Muslims believe that they can be saved through their good deeds. But at the same time there’s no guarantee from the Qur’an that these good deeds will be enough when they come to the end of their lives.

And so it’s no surprise then that the idea of salvation as a free gift of grace is missing from the Qur’an, “And those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will surely remove from them their misdeeds and will surely reward them according to the best of what they used to do.”

This is the real tragedy of mistaking the identity of Jesus.

As I drunk tea with Muhammad, I didn’t have the understanding to know how to answer him – that was about 25 years ago. A few years back, I did try and make contact with him again, but he had moved on. Of course, I don’t doubt for a moment that he or the many Muslims living in London are sincere in their love for Jesus. They do love Jesus – very devoutly. Sadly, they are in love with the wrong Jesus. A distorted, small Jesus who is far removed from reality.

Our Jesus is the Lord of glory who made the universe, and who came to this earth to give his life as a ransom for many. That is the real Jesus, he is the one we know and love, and only because he first loved us.

And this, wonderfully, is the Jesus we can introduce our Muslim friends and neighbours to.

For practical tips for how you can connect with people of other faith backgrounds, check out Episode 9 of our Everyday Evangelism podcast.


Written by: Nimo

"Nimo" is an LCM missionary partnering with churches in north London to reach out to the Turkish-speaking community

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