In our days, a misguided sense of ecumenism tends to equate the main monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) as different ways to worship the same God. It is like saying that all Protestant denominations are OK as long as you mention the name of Jesus, regardless of the visceral doctrinal contradictions that afflict them. But the difference between Islam and Christianity is immensely more visceral and complete than those among the various Protestant denominations.
In Islam, there is one God, called Allah, who is “Lord” but is NOT called Father by his followers, and whose will determines al events, that is, Maktub: It is written! Whatever happens, Allah is the direct and sole author. There is no free will. And a camel-driver from Arabia was Allah’s prophet. But in Christianity, or Catholicism, to be precise, God created men in his image and likeness, and, after men’s original sin, sent His Son – as Divine as Himself – to redeem mankind, and adopted us as His children in His Church – hence we call Him Our Father. So, Jesus is not a mere prophet of God, He is God Incarnate. Therefore, there is nothing in common between Islam’s concept of God and Jesus’ teaching.
We Catholics must have this concept very clear in our minds, to avoid confusion and false ecumenism with blatant error. This is most important, especially in our days, when fellow-Christians are being murdered by Islamists for their faith in the ‘Nazarene’. Let us strengthen our faith in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
The first and easiest way to prove Jesus’ divinity is the fact that He performed miracles, in His own name. He modified natural elements, like changing water into wine and multiplying bread and fish; he gave health to the sick, hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, peace to those who suffered, even cleansed the lepers and brought the dead back to life, not to mention exorcizing demons, proving His absolute power over nature! And He did all this in the full view of the people, especially of his sworn enemies, who tried everything to eliminate him from the ministry He had started.
He challenged them to disprove His miracles: if they could prove that they had been fake, His mission would fall apart in the eyes of all. But they could not! He said to them that the very works they saw Him doing bore witness of His Mission that God the Father had sent Him (Mt. 11:45; Jn. 5:36; 10:37). But the more good He did, the more miracles He performed, the more His enemies hated Him. Their blind hatred was their undoing, as it happened in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed the Temple, the priestly records, and the Jewish people lost their election in the eyes of God and His Angels. Jesus’ miracles proved His claim of divinity, as God does not give divine power to impostors, in spite of the rationalists’ rage.
But being rationalists usually irrational, they do their utmost to disprove Jesus’ divinity. Several theories have been presented to explain away His miracles: they suggest delusion, hypnotism, and even diabolical power! Let us take these things, one by one:
To say that Jesus’ miracles were believed by the people because they deluded themselves into believing, because they wanted to believe, is utterly nonsensical, because His enemies believed that He did perform miracles and still were deadly against Him! They wanted to prove Him wrong, not right! As they could not prove that His miracles were untrue, they decided to get rid of Him…
Hypnotism may help cure some nervous diseases after a certain time of treatment, it is possible, but it will never instantly cleanse a leper from His leprosy or give sight to a man born blind, let alone bring a dead man back to life! Besides, Jesus sometimes cured people from a distance, sometimes they did not even know that they were being cured by Him. So, to mention hypnotism is just silly make-believe.
Diabolical power is the last – and most ridiculous – accusation I have ever seen. First of all, the Holiness of Jesus’ life was undisputed – even the Islamic Koran calls Him righteous, sent by God, and being now in heaven; and secondly, Jesus expelled demons from possessed people, showing that He was Satan’s enemy, not his friend.
The impressive record of Old Testament prophecies that were confirmed in the Life of Jesus Christ is astounding, and excludes any suggestion of falsification. Just a few examples will suffice to prove our point: the prophet Micah (5:2) that the anointed one (Messias) would be born in Bethlehem (I never heard of anyone picking his own place of birth); Zacharias (11:12-13) wrote He would be sold for 30 pieces of silver, and the money would be used to buy the potter’s field; Isaias (53) described His Passion in incredible detail; David prophesied one thousand years before Him that He would be crucified (“hands and feet would be pierced”), His garments would be divided and lots would be cast upon Hid vesture (Ps. 22), and the list goes on and on.
Those prophecies were made before His birth. But He Himself prophesied the end of Judaism as God’s religion, the destruction of the Temple and the cessation of the Mosaic sacrifices with no priesthood, the dispersion of the Jews around the world, etc., etc. Even the war strategy used by the Romans to take over Jerusalem was foreseen by Him (Lk. 19)! He foresaw Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s three denials, the persecution of the early Christian and the growth of His Church, etc. etc. One can read all about the destruction of Jerusalem precisely as Christ foresaw it in the History of the Jewish Wars by Flavius Josephus, a Jewish Historian contemporary with the destruction of Jerusalem.
Anyone with an unbiased mind can realize that all of those prophecies, from both before His birth and the ones He himself made, could not be the result of delusion n or human contrivance. The man whose life fulfilled all the old prophecies, whose own prophecies came true, who performed miracles acknowledged by His mortal enemies, and above all, who rose from the dead, proved ad nauseam His claim of divinity!
For this reason the early Christians gave their lives in testimony of Jesus’ divinity and Redemption, His Church and the salvation promised to those who are faithful to Him; and for this same reason today our fellow-Christians in Iraq of the Chaldean Rite are being murdered, crucified, raped, decapitated, abused, by the followers of a false religion, a false prophet, and a false god!
It is imperative for us, Catholics, today, to learn as much as we can about the divinity of Christ, the truth of His one Church, so that we my remain firm in the true Faith if it ever comes to pass with us what is passing now with many brethren in Islamic countries.
Next article: Judaism, then and now.
Raymond de Souza KM is available to speak at Catholic events anywhere in the free world in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Please email SacredHeartMedia@Outlook.com or visit http://www.RaymonddeSouza.com or phone 507-450-4196 in the United States.