The Bible states, “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).
The sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the core message of Christianity. In Islam, however, Muslims do not believe Jesus was crucified. The Qur’an says, “And [for] their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain” (Sura 4:157).
There are several explanations of the crucifixion of Christ in Islam. These include:
- People saw an illusion of Jesus being crucified, but the event never happened.
- Someone else was substituted for Jesus. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet, but that Jesus did not die on the cross, because Muslims do not believe a prophet of Islam can be killed in such a terrible way as crucifixion. Many Muslims believe Judas or Simon of Cyrene actually died on the cross, not Jesus.
- Jesus was crucified, but did not die, he fainted.
The Biblical account of Jesus’ death is clear. Jesus said that he would be killed (Matthew 16:21; 20:17-19, 20:28). Each of the gospels describe the crucifixion (Matthew 27:34-35; Mark 15:22-24; Luke 23:32-33; John 16:19-20). In addition, the crucifixion and death of Jesus are spoken of throughout the New Testament (Acts 2:23-24; Romans 5:6; 1 Corinthians 1:23; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
Since Islam denies the crucifixion of Christ, they also deny the resurrection of Christ.
We enter this holy week by recognizing the death and burial of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead on Sunday morning. As Christians, we celebrate all our Lord Jesus has done for us. Pray for the Muslim community; that they will desire to see and understand what His death on the cross truly means. Ask God to bring people across their path to share the gospel of Christ or have them tune in to a video, a story, or something that will give them the actual truth of what has happened because of the cross of Christ, opening their eyes and hearts to the One who is Truth.