Christ's death on the cross
Q3. The Bible clearly explains that Christ died on the cross, but yet the Muslims seem to deny it. What is your explanation about that?
Well, let us read what the Quran says about the cross of Jesus Christ. This is in surat (Al Nissa), the first surat in the Quran. In verse 157, "And because of them saying we killed Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah. But they killed him not, nor crucified him. But the resemblance of Jesus was put over another man. And they killed that man (the man who was changed to resemble Jesus Christ, acc ording to the Quran). And those who differ there, are full of doubts. They have no certain knowledge. They follow nothing but conjuncture for surely they killed him not, Jesus, son of Mary." Well, reading these verses in the Quran, we will come to this conclusion. Was there a crucifixion? Positively, absolutely. The verse says that there was a crucifixion, but the man who was crucified was not Jesus Christ, but someone else whom God changed his face to the face of Jesus, his voice to the voice of Jesus, and he was crucified in the place of Jesus Christ. Then crucifixion was reality. But who was crucified? This is what the Quranic verse is now discussing.
Now, if we believe that Allah changed the face of that man, whoever he is, some people say it is Judah the Iscariot, and God changed his face to be like Christ. If we believe that, then God is a great deceiver because he deceived generations of men believing that the one who was crucified on the cross of Calvary was Christ, while he was not. And after 600 years he sent Mohammed to say, "They crucified him not." Well, what is the whole story? The whole story is the misunderstanding of the Muslims of the holiness of God, and of the corruption of men. These two issues are the central issues why the cross, the holiness of God, the corruption of men.
Well, we have to realize something of great interest. The plan of salvation did not take place when Christ came and was born of a virgin. No. The plan of salvation was made in eternity, before the foundation of the Earth, before the creation of man. Because God was not taken by surprise when Adam failed into sin. You cannot surprise God. He knew that Adam will fall into sin. Before he created Adam, he made the plan of his salvation. Let me read for you a verse in 1 Peter 1:18-20:
"Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold, from your endless conduct received by tradition from your fathers;"
"But, with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;"
"For He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."
So this plan of salvation was foreordained when? When Adam fell into sin? No, before the foundation of the world. Why did we have the plan of salvation that way? Because God wanted to demonstrate His holiness; He wanted to demonstrate His love; and He wanted us to see that He is the only one who can save us.
Now man is corrupted by nature, and to tell me that we are born with good nature, obviously not. Crime is everywhere, in all the world. In Australia there are crimes, in Europe crimes, England crimes, US crimes, Africa crimes. Why? Because man is bad. Man is created, is born bad. He was born with falling nature. He took the falling nature from Adam, and that falling nature incline to do wrong, to sin. So because of that we cannot save ourselves. That's number one.
Now, could we save ourselves with works? Well, the Bible was very clear, the wage of sin is death. The Bible didn't say that the wage of sin is to fast; the wage of sin is to good to a pilgrimage to Mecca or Jerusalem; the wage of sin is to pay some money to the poor, to built a hospital, a mosque, or a church. No! The wage of sin is death. I have to die, or some other person to die. Well now, what was the plan? The plan was the Creator himself decided to come in the person of Jesus Christ and to die on the cross.
One time I had a man from Morocco, doing some work at my home. And we were talking about Christianity and religion. Then he looked at me and said, "I want to ask you a question. You say that Jesus Christ is the son of God." I said, "Yes." He said, "Is God so weak that He cannot protect His own son? If someone would attack my son, I would go and kill him. And God leaves His Son to be crucified? What are you talking about?" I said, "This is a good question, but you don't understand a thing. When Christ came, He came by His own choice, and He came to die. His purpose of coming to the world, be born of a virgin is to die. This is why He came." So if you understand that, it's not a matter of the Father not being able to protect His son. No! It's a plan. The son voluntarily said, "I am going to die for the human beings because they cannot save themselves. And my birth from a virgin is to die." So forget about God's protection. "Well," he said, "Another question. How come that one man will save the whole world. One man cannot do it. It's impossible." I said, "Yes, but who is that one man? You know who is that one man? In the gospel of John, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. By him all things were made." So He is God incarnated, and He is the creator. And of course, if we want to evaluate the Creator and the creation, the Creator face is still in His value above the creation. So, if t his one man is the Creator, He can pay for all creation." He said, "Oh, I see." I said, "This is one thing that you have to understand. God is holy and we cannot understand sin unless we the holiness of God. Well, if you slap, say, a homeless man. That's bad. It's very bad. And you have to apologize. And you might say, "Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry, man, sorry. Take these ten dollars and then be quiet." And he'd say, "Thank you, sir, thank you. Even you slapped me, but you gave me $10, thank you." But if you slapped a monarch, or the president of the US, oh, it's not a little thing. You cannot say, "Mr. President, I slapped you on the face, but see, here is $1,000 and keep quiet." That will not do. That will not do. When we sin against God, we destroy His law, we trample His law under our feet. And now we go and say, "We give you some fasting, some money for the poor, some good work?" Are you kidding yourself? God is holy! He cannot accept that. The only one who can pay the penalty of the sinner, is the one who is equal to God to satisfy His holiness and His justice. And because of that, the Son of God, Jesus Christ came and died on the cross of Calvary. And when they asked Him, "Why did you come?" He said, "The Son of man came to save and redeem that which was lost. I came in particular to redeem that which was lost."
And listen, redemption is mentioned in the Quran even though, the Muslim do not understand it. I want to tell you something. The story of Abraham when he offered his son. Of course, in the Old Testament, in the book of Genesis, the one who was offered was Isaac. Muslims say that the one offered was Ishmael. Not reasonable, because Ishamel, during that time was married and was living in his home. But we are not going to discuss that. When Abraham took his son, and he wanted to slaughter him. Then God said, "Hold it. Don't touch the lamb." Then he looked and he found a ram. And the Quran says about that ram, "And we ransomed him, (ransomed the son of Abraham) with a great ransom, a great sacrifice." A ram is a great sacrifice? What does that mean? A ram, during this time would cost a quarter of a dollar, or less than that. Is that a great sacrifice? No! The ram was a symbol of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And when Christ came He said, "Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it." And they said, "You are not here for 50 years yet, how did he see it?" He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." You see, He saw me in the ram when he offered that ram in the place of his son Isaac. Substitution! And the Muslim, when he thinks right, he should come to his senses and say, "Oh, yes. It is very plain that the son of Abraham was redeemed by a bloody sacrifice. That means something. That bloody sacrifice means something, that someone took the place of someone. An innocent animal took the place of Isaac, and was killed in his place. And that is what Jesus Christ did there. The innocent, the holy Son of God took our place.
And what is the result of the cross? Let me elaborate in that. You know the story of Barabbas in the New Testament. Barabbas was a murderer, and a thief. He was condemned to death by the cross. He had to be crucified. But one day, before his crucifixion, the Lord Jesus Christ was presented to Pontus Pilate, the governor. And Pilate said to him, "I want to free Jesus because He is innocent. He didn't do anything wrong." And he said, "The days of the Passover, and according to tradition, I used to free a criminal for the Jews in that day. I will ask them whom shall I free, Barabbas the murderer, or Christ, your prophet, the miracle worker. And I am sure, I am sure, they will chose to free Jesus Christ." But he was mistaken. He said, "Who shall I free for you, Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?" And they said, "Barabbas. Free Barabbas. Free Barabbas." The man was shocked. He said, "What shall I do with Jesus Christ?" "Crucify him!" Well, Jesus took the place of Barabbas. What happened? Some captain went to the prison, and he said to Barabbas, "Barabbas, I have good news for you. Good news." "You are going to take me to be crucified, aren't you?" "No. Good news, believe me." "What good news?" "You are a free man." "Me, a free man? I am a murderer. I am a thief. Free man, what do you mean?" "Someone by the name of Christ came and He took your place, Barabbas. He took your place." What happened to Barabbas after that? He was freed from the prison, and he was also freed from death because of the crucified Christ.
When we believe in the crucified Christ, we will be freed from the prison of sin, and we will be freed from the sentence of eternal death, and that is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, demanded by the justice, the holiness, the love of God the Father in heaven. If you deny the cross, then you deny the core and the heart of Christianity. And when the Quran comes and says they did not crucify Him, nor killed Him, that is a big lie. And anyone who has a brain who believed that, I think he deserves the justice of God. Because when you read the New Testament, you have all these witnesses, Matthew said Jesus was crucified. Mark said that He was crucified. Luke said He was crucified. John said He was crucified. Paul said He was crucified. Peter said He was crucified. So you have all these witnesses. And after 600 years someone from Arabia comes, "No, they didn't crucify Him!" Whom should we believe? These six witnesses who are honest, with great integrity, many of them died as martyrs because they believed in the crucifixion of Jesus, or Mohammed who came in the Arabia peninsula? You ask the question. The crucifixion of Christ is a fact. The holiness of God, the love of God, the justice of God demands the cross, the crucifixion of Christ for a plan of God before the foundation of the world.