For example, in Matthew 9:2, Jesus said to a certain
man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Because of this, some
say that Jesus must be God since only God can forgive sins. However, if you
are willing to read just a few verses further, you will find that the people “...praised
God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:8). This shows that
the people knew, and Matthew agrees, that Jesus is not the only man to receive
such authority from God.
Jesus himself emphasized that he does not speak on his
own authority (John 14:10) and he does nothing on his own authority, but he
speaks only what the Father has taught him (John 8:28). What Jesus did here
was as follows. Jesus announced to the man the knowledge Jesus received from
God that God had forgiven the man.
Notice that Jesus did not say, “I forgive your sins,”
but rather, “your sins are forgiven,” implying, as this would to his Jewish
listeners, that God had forgiven the man. Jesus, then, did not have the power
to forgive sins, and in that very episode he called himself “the Son of Man”
John 10:30 is often used as proof that Jesus is God
because Jesus said, “I and the father are one.” But, if you read the
next six verses, you will find Jesus explaining that his enemies were wrong to
think that he was claiming to be God. What Jesus obviously means here is that
he is one with the Father in purpose. Jesus also prayed that his disciples
should be one just as Jesus and the Father are one. Obviously, he was not
praying that all his disciples should somehow merge into one individual (see
John 17:11 and 22). And when Luke reports that the disciples were all one,
Luke does not mean that they became one single human being, but that they
shared a common purpose although they were separate beings (see Acts 4:32). In
terms of essence, Jesus and the Father are two, for Jesus said they are two
witnesses (John 8:14-18). They have to be two, since one is greater than the
other (see John 14:28). When Jesus prayed to be saved from the cross, he said:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but
yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).
This shows that they had two separate wills, although
Jesus submitted his will to the will of the Father. Two wills mean two
Furthermore, Jesus is reported to have said: “My God,
my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). If one of them forsook
the other, then they must be two separate entities.
Again, Jesus is reported to have said: “Father, into
your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). If the spirit of one can be
placed into the hands of another, they must be two separate beings.
In all of these instances, Jesus is clearly subordinate
to the Father. When Jesus knelt down and prayed he obviously was not praying
to himself (see Luke 22:41). He was praying to his God.
Throughout the New Testament, the Father alone is called
God. In fact, the titles “Father” and “God” are used to designate one
individual, not three, and never Jesus. This is also clear from the fact that
Matthew substituted the title “Father” in the place of the title “God” in at
least two places in his Gospel (compare Matthew 10:29 with Luke 12:6, and
Matthew 12:50 with Mark 3:35). If Matthew is right in doing so, then the
Father alone is God.
Was Jesus the Father? No! Because Jesus said: “And
do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in
heaven.” (Matthew 23:9). So Jesus is not the Father, since Jesus was
standing on the earth when he said this.
The Quran seeks to bring people back to the true faith
that was taught by Jesus, and by his true disciples who continued in his
teaching. That teaching emphasized a continued commitment to the first
commandment that God is alone. In the Quran, God directs Muslims to call
readers of the Bible back to that true faith. God have said in the Quran:
Say: “O people of the
Book (Christians and Jews)! Come to a word that is just between us and you:
that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall associate no partners
with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords beside God.” (Quran,