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Which Jesus?

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Which Jesus?

Felicia Gould

My big brother is called David. On Google, I discovered there are no less than twenty Davids with our surname on this planet! Of course only one David is my big brother – and I know exactly who he is. When we were little, he’d let me play with his toys, teach me new words, read me stories, and walk with me to school. This closeness continues though we live on different continents today. Even if there were a thousand Davids, I’d be able to pick him out right away. I know which David is my David.

Here in Chennai, where I live, there is a Jesus that is depicted on the walls, along with Ganesha and a mosque1 – all three carefully placed at the same height; presumably their authority and greatness are deemed equal.

There is another Jesus found in the Book of Common Prayer you’d find in any parish church. This Jesus is God, along with “Father… and Holy Spirit”2, and is “true God from true God” 3 . However, “he suffered death and was buried, [and] on the third day he rose again”. 4 This Jesus who is “true God from true God” himself has a god: the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”.5

Then, in the Quran (circa early 7th century CE), there is a Jesus (Isa عيسى ) who is “the son of Mary”, whom God gave “clear proofs and supported…with the Pure Spirit.”6 This Jesus would “never…disdain to be a servant of Allah.”7 This Jesus, God sent giving “him the Gospel (Injil إنجيل ) in which was guidance and light and confirming…the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous.”8 And this is the Jesus whom God will ask, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’” Jesus effectively refutes any claim to deity with this reply: “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it.”9 It is this Jesus whom God instructs along with Abraham and Moses “to establish the Way (ad-deen الدين).”10 Of this Jesus, it is said God “placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy… but they did not observe it.”11

This Quranic depiction of Jesus can be traced back somewhat to the man Jesus of the New Testament (circa 1st century CE). The New Testament Jesus is gentle and humble in heart12 and functions only on the authority he receives from God.13 He humbled himself to death on the cross; and the Gospel he proclaimed is the invitation for all to do the same – it is in dying with him that we live with him.14 This Jesus is the man in whom God tabernacled in order to reach out to all humankind.15 God raised him from the dead.16 This risen Jesus then said to Mary his disciple, “Tell my brothers, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.”17 Indeed, God has exalted him to the highest place: God’s right hand.18 This Jesus promised that the Spirit of Truth would be given to all who follow him, empowering them to live out the Way of righteousness.19 This Jesus is the one who prays to his God on our behalf, even today. If only we could hear his petition:

“Father!...That they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”20

I know which Jesus is my Jesus.

Do you?


1 Religious Harmony in Madras (Chennai)

2 Taken from the pdf document created by Satucket Software (Charles Wohlers, P. O. Box 227, East Bridgewater, Mass. 02333 USA), with thanks. Holy Eucharist II, p.351

3 Holy Eucharist II, p.358 [There is no New Testament reference for this.]

4 Ibid.

5 Holy Eucharist II, p.372

6 Taken from the Quranic Arabic Corpus,, with thanks. The English translation of the Quran is Sahih International. Al Quran Al Baqarah 2.87,253

7 Al Quran Al Nisaa 4.171,172

8 Al Quran Al Maidah 5.46

9 Al Quran Al Maidah 5:116

10 Al Quran Ashura 42:13 The word الدين is translated ‘the religion’ but I prefer ‘the Way’.

11 Al Quran Al Hadid 57.27

12 Matthew 11;29, Mark 6:34, John 10:15,29

13 John 5:19,30, 17:2, Matthew 9:8, 28:18, Luke 7:8-9

14 Romans 6:5-6, 2 Timothy 2:11, Galatians 6:14,15, Matthew 10:38, 16:24, Luke 9:23-24,14:27

15 John 1:14, 2 Corinthians 5:19, 1 Timothy 2:5

16 Acts 2:24,32

17 See John 20:17

18 Philippians 2:9,8, Hebrews 12:2, Romans 8:34

19 John 14:6, Acts 1:8, Romans 8:13-14

20 See John 17:1-3, Hebrews 7:25


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