In this final section https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/islamic-theology-confirms-that-jesus-claimed-to-be-god-pt-2b/ we are going to look to the proclamation of the disciples of the Lord Jesus (whom the Quran identifies as Muslims [cf. Q. 3:52; 5:110]), and those sent before Christ in order to prepare for his coming. We shall see how even they looked to and worshiped Christ as their Lord, and as the Lord of all creation.
For instance, both John the Baptist and his mother broke out in praise at the presence of Christ’s blessed mother, as they were both filled with the Holy Spirit:
“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb… And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of MY LORD should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” Luke 1:15, 41-44
Mary had just conceived the Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit, and yet even at this stage the Spirit moved both Elizabeth and the six-month old baby in her womb to recognize that the unborn babe in Mary’s womb was none other than their sovereign Lord!
And immediately after his birth in Bethlehem, angels appeared to shepherds at night to announce to them that the Lord had been born:
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11
When we get to the Apostles themselves, we find them going around preaching that the risen and ascended Christ is none other than the Lord of all, being the Lord of both the living and the dead:
“The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)” Acts 10:36
“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Romans 14:9
“They are ‘the two olive trees’ and the two lampstands, and ‘they stand before the Lord of the earth.’… Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified.” Revelation 11:4, 8 NIV
To fully appreciate this confession we must keep in mind that according to the Quran it is God Almighty who is the Lord of all things, and therefore the only Lord that a believer can ever trust and hope in:
It belongs not to any mortal that God should give him the Book, the Judgment, the Prophethood, then he should say to men, ‘Be you servants to me apart from God.’ Rather, ‘Be you masters in that you know the Book, and in that you study.’ He would never order you to take the angels and the Prophets as Lords; what, would He order you to disbelieve, after you have surrendered? S. 3:79-80 Arberry
Say: ‘Shall I seek after a Lord other than God, who is the Lord of all things?‘ Every soul earns only to its own account, no soul laden bears the load of another. Then to your Lord shall you return, and He will tell you of that whereon you were at variance. S. 6:164 Arberry
The Quran further teaches that the only Lord that people are supposed to pray to and call upon is God:
And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell – in humiliation!”… He is the Living (One): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere devotion. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds! S. 40:60, 65 A. Yusuf Ali
And yet the very first followers of Christ (most of whom were Jews) would all call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, a practice that started in Jerusalem of all places!
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God… And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:55-56, 59-60
“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to THY saints AT JERUSALEM: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on THY NAME. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto ME, to bear MY NAME before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for MY NAME’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on THIS NAME IN JERUSALEM, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:10-21
“unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” 1 Corinthians 1:2
And the reason why Jesus’ own followers prayed to him is because he personally told them to do so while he was still with them on earth:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, THAT WILL I DO, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I WILL DO IT.” John 14:12-14
Last but not least, the Islamic scripture claims that God is the Lord who greets believers with the word “Peace”:
‘Peace!‘ — such is the greeting, from a Lord All-compassionate. S. 36:58 Arberry
Lo and behold, this is precisely how the risen Lord greeted his followers when he would appear to them over the 40-day period that he remained on earth after his resurrection. In fact, on one of these occasions a close, intimate disciple of Christ broke out in worship of his risen Master, acknowledging Jesus to be his very Lord and God, with the risen Lord accepting and blessing this astounding confession of faith:
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw THE Lord (TON Kyrion). Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen THE Lord (TON Kyrion). But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said UNTO HIM, My Lord and my God (HO Kyrios mou kai HO Theos mou – Lit. THE Lord of me and THE God of me). Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:19-29
With the foregoing in perspective, it is evident that both Christ and his followers explicitly identified Christ as God in the flesh by taking one of the very names of Allah (whom Muslims believe is the same true God of Abraham), namely “the Lord” (ar-Rabb), and ascribing it to Jesus himself. They further did this in contexts where they attributed some of the other divine titles to Christ, and even went as far as to apply some of God’s own unique functions and characteristics to the risen Lord of glory.
Lord Jesus willing, we will have more parts in this series appearing in the not to distant future.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.