Q&A: Islam and Jesus' Death

Islam and Jesus' Death

Question

Islam argues that Jesus did not die, because God granted him his request in Luke 22:41-42. Is this true?

Answer

Luke 22:41-42 He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Ra McLaughlin has answered a major part of this question elsewhere. He states:
In some sense, Jesus did not want to be punished, and this was in accordance with God's character. We are not supposed to desire to have sin imputed to us and to suffer in hell. It is not sinful to want to be saved. Or to put it another way, it is not sinful to want to be blessed by God instead of cursed by God. In fact, God wants and commands us to seek his blessings and to avoid his curses, so that Jesus' desire to avoid the curse of sin was also in accordance with God's will.

In another sense, Jesus did want to be punished. And this, too, was in accordance with both God's will and God's character. It was in accordance with God's desire because God is our savior, because he is merciful to us, and because he requires justice. It was in accordance with his will because he assigned Jesus the task of dying to atone for sin. Jesus did not want to avoid punishment unless it was "possible," that is, unless there were some other way to accomplish the atonement.

So, in wanting to avoid punishment but also determining to atone, Jesus was in perfect accordance with both the Father's will and the Father's character.

Emphasizing Jesus' Desire to do God's Will - God's Will in the Crucifixion Fulfilled

Jesus' will in this and every prayer was to follow God's will. Jesus said,"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38; cf. 4:34). Jesus did so perfectly (1 Pet. 1:19; Heb. 4:15).

What was God's will? Jesus tells us, "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."(John 6:40). However, the resurrection of believers at the last day was dependent upon Christ's resurrection after Calvary (1 Cor. 6:14; 15:15-17). Therefore, Christ had to die (1 Tim. 1:15). Jesus was born to die and to be resurrected for his people (Matt. 20:28; Luke 24:26-27, 46; Acts 2:23-25; 4:28; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). As Jesus said:

John 10:15 ...just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. (cf. Luke 22:37).

Jesus went willingly and obediently to the Cross. He could have called for twelve legions of angels (Matt. 26:51-54), but instead his heart said, "not my will, but yours be done."

Please see:

Christianity and Islam Contrasted

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).