A Message to Muslims About Jesus
By Robin Schumacher
Originally posted in the Christian Post
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If you are a Muslim, could I have a quick conversation with you about Jesus? Maybe you've never been presented with the facts I'm about to share with you, but even if you have in some form or fashion, I'm going to ask for your patience to listen to what I have to say.
You see, I firmly believe that everyone's eternal destiny rests on what we believe and accept about Jesus and that includes you. So, let's get started.
What Your Book Says About Jesus
If you didn't know it, your holy book, the Qur'an, makes some pretty important claims about Jesus that dovetail perfectly with what the Christian Bible says about him. For example, your Qur'an says that Jesus...
...was proclaimed to be the word (or "a word") of God and the Christ/Messiah (sura 3:45)
...was born of a virgin (sura 3:47, 19:27-28)
...was confirmed to be righteous (sura 6:85, sura 3:46)
...performed miracles (sura 3:49)
...had disciples (sura 3:52-53, 5:111-118)
...was sent with a gospel (sura 5:46)
...words should be believed (sura 4:171)
...was taken into Heaven by God (sura 4:156-159)
...will have a second and visible coming to the earth (sura 3:55)
These are all incredibly important declarations about the man named Jesus, wouldn't you agree? If true (and I believe they are), then they describe Jesus in a way that is unique among all other men, even in regard to your prophet Muhammad.
...was not crucified on a cross (sura 4:157)
...did not die (sura 4:156-159)
...was not resurrected (implied from prior point)
...should not be worshipped (sura 5:116)
...is not the Son of God (sura 19:35, 4:171)
Please give me a few moments to give you some facts detailing why I believe differently about these points, and how they are vital to your eternal future.
Why Believe Jesus Died?
While your Qur'an says Jesus did not die (sura 4:157), the claim that Jesus of Nazareth died of crucifixion is one that is supported by not only the historical documents that make up the New Testament, but also by historians that are both Christian and non-Christian as well as those who are actual enemies of Christianity.
For example, Lucian of Samosata, a 2nd Century satirist and critic of Christianity wrote in a personal letter to a friend: "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day — the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites and was crucified on that account..."  The same account is given by the Roman historian Tacitus, who said Jesus "had been executed by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate when Tiberius was emperor." 
I'm sure you'd agree that Jewish writings would not be kind to Jesus, but even they testify to his death by saying: "On the eve of Passover Yeshua was hanged...since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!"  Bart Ehrman, a religious agnostic historian has also said, "One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate." 
So I would like to respectfully ask you to consider that there are literally no historical grounds for claiming that Jesus of Nazareth didn't die. 
Why Believe Jesus Was Resurrected?
I know you have no problem believing that miracles are possible, so with that in mind, let me tell you why you should embrace the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead. The facts agreed to by all scholars who have studied the account of Jesus' resurrection are these:
Jesus was crucified and put to death.
Three days later his body went missing and remains missing to this day.
There were appearances of Jesus over the course of 40 days to various people, including His disciples and those who did not believe he was the Messiah.
Christ's appearance transformed His followers and some previous skeptics, and became the central focus of their teaching, with many of them being martyred for their unwillingness to deny his resurrection.
Again, no scholarly historian denies the above facts, but the question becomes: what best explains them? Is it easier to believe everyone who says they encountered Jesus had a hallucination (the top argument atheists put forward) or that Judas was somehow substituted for Jesus on the cross (which some Muslims believe because of statements made in the Gnostic gospel of Barnabas)?
I don't think so; I think it takes much more "faith" to believe those explanations than to believe that the God who gives life can restore it whenever He chooses.  But now let me take a few other steps and talk to you about some additional things Jesus claimed about himself.
Believing the New Testament
Before I do that, let me first say this: I know you likely think that the New Testament of the Bible has been corrupted and is not reliable. But I believe the facts of history say differently.
While it is impossible to cover here all the reasons why the New Testament accounts are historically trustworthy, I would like to direct you to a few resources that, when read with an open mind and heart, will give you the rationale and evidence that points you towards that conclusion.
Dr. Mark Roberts, who is a Harvard-educated New Testament historian and scholar, has provided a free and easy to read set of evidences on the historical reliability of the gospels. Please take the time to read through them; you will be well rewarded for doing so.
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