Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

What Does Christ Offer to a Muslim?

By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D.

1. Christ offers Himself, a relationship with Yahweh

Toward the end of his life Jesus told a parable to the Pharisees, “And he began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.' And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Surely not!" But he looked directly at them and said, "What then is this that is written: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'?"” (Luke 20:9-17)

This is a story about God sending his beloved Son. What greater love can there be than God loving you so much that He sent His Son? God had sent prophets to call the people back to Himself, and still they were rebellious. They beat the prophets, mistreated them in various ways, and God’s patience was so great. But what about the beloved Son? He was crucified resurrected, and is alive for you. He is still the Son. Facts do not become fictions regardless of who is talking about them.

Christ offers Himself and only in Him can you really experience God. “Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves."” (John 14:9-11)

You can have a relationship with God right now by asking Christ to come into your life. Christ is not a rule to follow, but a relationship of person to person. All the prophets are dead, all the great teachers of the world are dead except for Jesus who was crucified, was resurrected, and lives evermore for you and me. Do you really yearn for God? God loved you so much that He came. You will have to consider the issue here: Is the Qur’an right or wrong about Jesus being the Son of God? Read the Gospels to see what Jesus was like. Read the Qur’an to see what Allah and Mohammed are like. You have to decide the issue yourself, you cannot allow someone else to dictate your decision.

2. Christ offers forgiveness for you and forgiveness to others

One gift that Jesus offers is forgiveness. As He celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples, he went beyond the common practice and instituted what we know as the Last Supper. Matthew describes it:

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."” (Mt. 26:26-29 MKJV)

Before Jesus ascended into heaven he told his disciples, “And He said to them, so it is written, and so it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:46-48)

The message of Jesus to the world was repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed to all nations. Repentance means turning from the direction you were going and turning to God in Christ. Repentance is not accomplished by force, or jihad, or trying to win the favor of God. God wants a relationship with you so much that He sent His Son to die for you, make a new and living covenant with you, and there is the promise of forgiveness based on Christ’s death. There is no such good news elsewhere than in Christ.

There is an important application to God’s forgiveness. Since God has forgiven you then you must also forgive. Jesus declared, “but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Mt. 6.15) This passage destroys the basis for revenge, for honor killings, for the culture of shame. It is a call for forgiveness and mercy. If you are not willing to forgive, there is no basis for claiming that God should forgive you. Being willing to forgive is a result of your repentance from sin and turning toward God.

3. Christ offers everlasting life

What is jihad all about? What is martyrdom all about? Is it not the attempt to get to paradise? Jesus offers you something more glorious. He offers everlasting life in his presence.

Jesus was quizzed about a woman who was married to seven men, one at a time, and they all died. Whose wife would she be in the resurrection?

“And answering, Jesus said to them, The sons of this world marry and are given in marriage, but they who shall be counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. Nor can they die any more, for they are equal to the angels, and are the sons of God, being the sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:34-36)

Jesus gives no basis for a paradise orgy. The Muslim view of 72 virgins appears to be the height of Islamic hope. Jesus points to something higher and more wonderful than sexual fulfilment. It is the transformation that brings us to be like Him.

Sex is only one small part of God’s creation which involved the birth of children. There will be no birthing of children in heaven. Humans, particularly men, have become so fixated on sex that they rarely think of anything better or more appealing. But the presence of God who created it all is not to be viewed as dull, lifeless, and without joy. This is a fallen world, a sinful world, and one that is going to pass away. What is in store for us is the new heavens and new earth in which Jesus Himself shall be in honor. If you think that this world is awesome and wonderful, think again about the great creativity of God in preparing a place for us in his presence.

The Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2) Paul wrote concerning Jesus, “When Christ our Life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:3)

4. Christ offers a life of love

We have to define what is meant by love. Love is often equated with sex. There are four Greek words for love. Eros is the kind of love relating to sexuality. Phileo is the kind of love relating to friendship. Neither of these two are commanded since they happen spontaneously between friends, or between people who love one another. Storge is a family love which is usually natural. Parents love their children and hopefully the children love the parents. Agapao is the New Testament word for love, and for humans it is a commanded love. This is a love that bestows value and worth on others. This is the kind of love that God has for us. Agape love is patient, kind, is forgiving, it is not arrogant, rude, or envious. “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (I Cor. 13:3) One might think of jihadists who kill the infidel, but have not love, and they gain nothing.

Love is transforming. God’s love enables one to give up the old life and start being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Loving your enemy may sound like a contradiction. But Jesus said, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. And your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)

The problem some people have with these words is their conclusion that they have to like their enemies. You don’t have to like your enemies to love them. Loving your enemy means to recognize that the enemy is human, has common needs such as food, water, shelter, and one can recognize this need. If your enemy is in need, agape means that one should help.

Loving means that revenge is out. Loving means rejecting Muslim views of honor and shame for reaching out in friendship and transformation rather than revenge and hate.

5. Christ offers status for women

It should be noted that women were followers of Jesus. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes the women in the Gospels as follows:

“From the first, women were responsive to his teachings and devoted to his person. The sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, made their home at Bethany, his dearest earthly refuge and resting-place. Women of all ranks in society found in him a benefactor and friend, before unknown in all the history of their sex. They accompanied him, with the Twelve, in his preaching tours from city to city, some, like Mary Magdalene, grateful because healed of their moral infirmities (Luke 8:2); others, like Joanna the wife of Chuzas, and Susanna, to minister to his needs (Luke 8:3). Even those who were ostracized by society were recognized by him, on the basis of immortal values, and restored to a womanhood of virtue and Christian devotion (Luke 7:37-50). Mothers had occasion to rejoice in his blessing their children (Mar 10:13-16); and in his raising their dead (Luke 7:12-15). Women followed him on his last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem; ministered to Him on the way to Calvary (Matthew 27:55, Matthew 27:56); witnessed his crucifixion (Luke 23:49); accompanied his body to the sepulcher (Matthew 27:61; Luke 23:55); prepared spices and ointments for his burial (Luke 23:56); were first at the tomb on the morning of his resurrection (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1); and were the first to whom the risen Lord appeared (Matthew 28:9; Mark 16:9; John 20:14). Among those thus faithful and favored were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, Salome (Matthew 27:56), Joanna and other unnamed women (Luke 24:10). Women had the honor of being the first to announce the fact of the resurrection to the chosen disciples (Luke 24:9, Luke 24:10, Luke 24:22). They, including the mother of Jesus, were among the 120 who continued in prayer in the upper room and received the Pentecostal enduement (Acts 1:14); they were among the first Christian converts (Acts 8:12); suffered equally with men in the early persecutions of the church (Acts 9:2). The Jewish enemies of the new faith sought their aid and influence in the persecutions raised against Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:50); while women of equal rank among the Greeks became ardent and intelligent believers (Acts 17:12). The fidelity of women to Jesus during his three years' ministry, and at the cross and sepulcher, typifies their spiritual devotion....”1

As one reads through the various comments on the activity of the women you can see the freedom of movement they had, the freedom to make decisions, and the freedom to pursue their religious commitments. Nothing is said of domineering husbands.

In the Christian faith there is to be no favoritism based on birth, beauty, or blood. All of us are confessed sinners. All of us are saved by the grace of God in Christ. All are admitted to the same privileges in Christ. Women have been subjugated around the world as second class citizens and less. The message of the Gospel is that all are equal in Christ and should enjoy the privileges of personhood that men enjoy.

Christian faith does not condone the sexual mutilation of women. God created man and woman as sexual beings. To deprive a woman of sexual pleasure is to tell God he made a huge mistake that men are going to correct. Women were given a freedom to make a choice about a husband that was without parallel in the near east. Genesis 24:58 tells us that Abraham’s servant went to his ancestor’s home for a wife for Isaac. It says, “And they called Rebekah, and said to her, Will you go with this man? And she said, I will go.” (Gen. 24:58) This freedom of choice is still a right in the Christian faith.

The Scripture declares that husband and wife “always giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God. (Eph. 5:20-21) Then the comparison is made between Christ and the church concerning the relation of the husband to the wife. “Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Eph. 5:24-28

Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it. This is a call to honor, to cherish, to love in a way that is patient, helpful, kind. There is no basis for wife abuse, beating of wives, or even rape of the wife.

In conclusion, the fact that God loves you is wonderful and it brings joy to the heart. The word joy or rejoice is a frequent word in the New Testament. Paul reminded the church at Philippi “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4) Joy bubbles up in the heart as you encounter Jesus and learn of his love for you.



1 The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1929 Edition, available online from E-Sword. This quotation is taken from the entry "Women".

Articles by Dallas Roark
Answering Islam Home Page