A response to

John 14:6

Al-Kadhi says,

Actually, at first I thought, "Who are the people that see deity in this verse, or the Trinity? I don't." And actually, I have never heard anyone use this verse as a primary proof text for the doctrine of the Trinity.

But on reflection, we can see how it clearly shows that Jesus claims for himself the divine attributes. By saying "I am the life," Jesus is saying He is God. Who else is life? Is that not the prerogative of God alone? It is one of Allah's 99 names: Al-Hayy: The Living. Just as Al-Haqq: The Truth is only the attribute of God and none else.

By saying on the one hand, "I am God", by claiming his exclusive attributes, and on the other hand, "No one comes to the Father except through Me," Jesus is showing that there is another person in the Godhead. Even though this is only an implicit claim for the plurality of the persons in the Trinity, it certainly is a strong claim to be God. No prophet ever claimed to be the way. They all proclaim "This is the way: ...", but none ever claimed to be the way himself. All prophets of God point to him who is the life, but none ever claimed to be himself this life. And they say, God is the truth, and this message is truth, but none ever claimed that he himself is THE truth. This is an unambiguous statement of his identity with God.

Furthermore, Al-Kadhi does a very poor exegesis of: "In My Father's house are many rooms." Al-Kadhi's interpretation cannot be called other than a purposeful distortion of the plain text. Let us examine his claims:

With this tour de force Al-Kadhi managed to create a meaning which is the exact opposite message of the text. To understand any text, we need to look at the context.

John 14:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
You know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'?
Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

Could you find any verse corresponding to Al-Kadhi's claim that "Jesus was sent to guide to only one of them. The countless other rooms were reserved for other tribes and nations if they would obey their messengers." Yes, there are other rooms, and Jesus makes clear again that there is not only room with God for them, or for the Israelites only, but there is more grace of God for other nations. But in sharp contradiction to Al-Kadhi's claim, Jesus does not speak about other messengers. There are not many ways to God, despite Al-Kadhi's claims, and Jesus is not only the way "for his disciples". Jesus says the exact opposite. Jesus speaks about the mansions of his Father. And even though he says that there will be many mansions, he also states that there is only one way. He does not say: I am the way to the Father (for you ... but others will get there in other ways), he says "NONE will come to the Father except through me."

This cannot be localized or relativized. Jesus does not say "I am a way" or "the way for you", he says "I am the way" and he stresses in the second part of the verse that there is no other. None will come through any other way. He is the universal last messenger that Al-Kadhi would like to claim for Muhammad. In fact, he is much more than a messenger. Al-Kadhi does not have a problem with the concept of universality, but he tries hard to limit Jesus' clear universal statements. This is understandable. If he recognizes Jesus' universal claim, then there is no room left for Muhammad. Al-Kadhi's exegesis is motivated by self-defense but it is not an honest interpretation of the text.

In verse 2 Jesus indicates that he has talked about this topic of many mansions before. Using a different image he says this in John 10:

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

Here again, Jesus is very clear that there will be one true shepherd, not many shepherds, and though there will be many mansions in God's new world, all will be under him alone, they will all belong together and Jesus will be the shepherd. They will come others not from Israel (this sheep pen), but they will be brought by Jesus himself, not by others, and they will come to Jesus' flock not in other flocks. And Jesus lays down his life for the sheep. All the sheep, the sheep from Israel and the sheep from the other nations. This is again Jesus' universal claim and it leaves no room for some later, greater other shepherd.

Muhammad will not be a or the shepherd, he has only the choice to be one of the sheep or not in the fold at all.

Where did Al-Kadhi find that "Jesus was telling his followers that they need not worry themselves about the other rooms"? Isn't Jesus in fact telling them they don't have to worry about their own room since he is going to prepare it for them? They should just trust in him as they should trust in God.

And this question is put to all of us. Will we trust him? Will we believe him that he is indeed the life, our only way to eternal life?

Al-Kadhi says,

If that is what Al-Kadhi expects a prophet to say, why does Muhammad not say it? No honest reader, realizing that Jesus spoke this statement into a strictly monotheistic Jewish culture and against a history of 1500 years of revelation documented in the Jewish scriptures, can dismiss this claim of Jesus so lightly. None of the Jewish prophets has ever spoken this way. This is a startling claim. And Jesus means what he says. Al-Kadhi's construction is a desparate attempt to explain away the obvious.

It is the message of Islam that Jesus is the door? I have never found that on any Muslim webpage. Jesus does not say "I am one of the doors and you can come in through any of them", he says there is only one door: "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. ... I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." (John 10:1,9) Yet Al-Kadhi wants to get to the sheep without acknowledging the door. And then he wants to lead them to heaven around the door, but there is only one way in. Jesus is very clear.

It might help to realize that Jesus speaks his instructions to his disciples in John 14 only some hours before his arrest and crucifixion. He is about to leave them. But he makes it very clear in this last will, that there is no other way. He does not tell them to watch out for another prophet, he emphasises instead that he is the only way, for them and for everyone. He was not only the way when he was with them, but he is the way not only for them but for all who will come to believe in him through his disciples. His mission is not over.

After his resurrection he says it again, commissioning them with these words found in Matthew 28:

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Now Jesus universal mission and claim is to be carried to all nations. He has laid down his life for all the sheep and they need to know it. And this is the work of Jesus, since he is with them. In fact, the birth of the church and report of this mission begins in Acts 1 with these words:

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

Jesus life on earth as a man among men was only the beginning of his work and ministry. Now we live in part two of it. He is with us and Jesus still is bringing the sheep to his fold. He is and will forever be the one good and true shepherd.

Al-Kadhi concludes with the reminder which we fully endorse:

And this will of God contains one very important part which should not be overlooked:

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
Answering Islam Home Page