What to know
This is an exceedingly common question that Muslims ask Christians. Many Muslims have told that Jesus never claimed to be God, and that his original followers knew he was only a prophet. Many believe that Paul distorted the message of Jesus to include this lie, and in doing so, founded the false religion of Christianity. (They say that before this, Jesus was a Muslim, as were his followers.) Last, the specific phrasing of the statement, "Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say 'I am God, worship me' comes from some viral videos that Islamic apologists have made. Many Muslims have been told that this is proof that Christianity is false. (You can watch this video by David Wood to understand this more fully.) Because this topic is so critical, we've assembled an overview of six ways to engage in the question. Invite your friend to pursue God's answer to this question by reading one or all of the compilations of Scripture. (In essence, these are topical Bible-studies that engage in this question through different lenses.) Prayerfully consider where to begin, and be constant in prayer as your friend lets the Word of God speak about this incredibly significant topic. What to say Approach 1: The claims and signs of Jesus
Invite your friend to read the book of Jesus (Injeel) with you to examine his claims about himself and the signs that God gave to confirm these claims. If your friend is willing, begin a committed weekly study together, using the "Encountering Jesus" story-set! Ask to come back to this question after you've finished the entire reading. At that time, listen to your friend's reflections. As he or she engages, consider offering insights from the additional passages listed below.
Approach 2: The prophecies of Jesus as Shepherd who lays down his life
Read Psalm 23. What is a shepherd supposed to be like?
Read Ezekiel 34. Why was God angry with the prophets and shepherds of Ezekiel's day?
What did God promise he would one day do? (What prophecy did God give?)
Read John 10. What astonishing message did Jesus give?
How did Jesus identify himself within the prophecy of Ezekiel?
Read Matthew 26 together, emphasis on verses 51-54.
Even in the moments before his death, how do we see images of Jesus as both God and Adha? If your friend is willing, continue reading through the end of Matthew together.
Approach 3: Talk about the significance of Jesus as the "Word of God."
Islam agrees that God, his Spirit, and his Word are inseparable. Islam also agrees that Jesus is the Word of God. (It also says he is the Spirit of God).
Read John 1 together. The Holy Injeel says that the Word was with God at the beginning; the Word was God; and the Word became flesh. Jesus is the Word of God who existed at creation, and was born of a virgin.
Continue reading in John, this time in chapter 3. According to holy book, why did Jesus, the Word of God, come?
Approach 4: Examine the question, "Did Jesus accept worship?"
Read Luke 19:39-40 together. See also Matthew 2:11, Matthew 28:8-9, and Mark 16:1. Contrast this with Revelation 19:9-10.
How did the angels respond when a human tried to worship them? How did Jesus respond? Read the chapters in full together.
Consider: Did Jesus need to say "Worship me"? Or did those who come near to Him do this, without a command?
Approach 5 (My personal favorite): Ask your friend the question...Does the Gospel say that Jesus come to be received as God and to be worshiped? Or does the Gospel say that he came to be rejected (and crucified, to die as our Adha)? That is...if the Gospel is true, does this expectation (that Jesus announce he is God and demand worship) make sense? Or would that go against the purpose of his coming to earth?
Read John 12, emphasis on verses 37-41. Rather than announcing his identity as God and Masih, and (rightfully) commanding worship, Jesus chose the opposite. His identity was hidden, and humans' eyes were blinded from seeing; their minds were dulled from understanding...so that he would be rejected and crucified. That momentary "hiding" of his identity had the highest purpose: to save the very people who hated him. And to save us as well.
Read Luke 23, emphasis on verse 34.
Read John 3 (together with Numbers 21). Give emphasis to John 3:13-17.
Read Isaiah 53 together. (You might want to begin at Isaiah 52:13-15). According to the holy Taurat...what was the will of God for Jesus?
Read John 10, giving emphasis to verses 17 and 18.
Read Matthew 26, emphasis on verses 53-54. How did Jesus complete the will of God?
Read Revelation 5:11-14 together. God gave Yahya a powerful vision of angels and all humans and creatures worshiping Jesus. Although Jesus didn't receive the worship and honor and glory he was worthy of on earth, He will one day receive it. End by praying together: Ask God to reveal to your friend that Jesus is both God and our Adha. Pray that we would worship God "in spirit and in truth."
Approach 6: Talk about the significance of Jesus as the "Son of God" and "Son of Man."
Read Luke 1 together. "Son of God" was a name given to him by the angels to point to his virgin birth. "Son of Man" is a prophetic title seen in Daniel 7: An image of deity and worship. Read these passages together.
Revisit the discussion on the identity of Jesus here.
End with talking about Jesus's claims of being One (the same being) with God.
Affirm that Jesus taught that there is only one God. But his description of God (and claims of deity) showed a complex oneness. John 17 is a beautiful description of this. Sometimes we try to make God more like us – we try to make him exist in a box that we can understand. But the holy Bible says that his wisdom is higher. In Isaiah 55:9, God said through the prophet: “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” We can’t be in more than one place at once, and we can’t exist in more than one form at once. But God is all-powerful, and his wisdom and ways are beyond us. He is beyond our understanding. Ephesians explores this mystery in a powerful way. For further information, see The Nature of God in our Understanding Islam page.