Was Someone Crucified In Jesus’s Place?

It is written:

“In the past there were false prophets among God’s people. It is the same now. You will have some false teachers in your group. They will teach things that are wrong—ideas that will cause people to be lost. And they will teach in a way that will be hard for you to see that they are wrong. They will even refuse to follow the Master who bought their freedom. And so they will quickly destroy themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1)

Our Muslim friends typically believe that someone else was crucified in Jesus’ place. According to the Quran:

Sura 4:157-““They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear so to them.”

So, it is argued that someone else (probably Judas Iscariot) was “made” to look like Jesus, so He wasn’t crucified.

What shall we say to this?

First, the testify of the Gospels, the Epistles, the early Christians, the Romans, and the pagans is unanimous: Jesus Christ was crucified. Remembering that the Quran was written six hundred years after Jesus lived, and in a land six hundred miles away, whose testimony is more trustworthy?

Second, the fact that the teachings of the Quran show familiarity with the Gnostic writings is worthy of notice.

For example, in Sura 5:110, we are told that Jesus spoke from the cradle, and that He gave life to cray birds. This is strikingly similar to the teachings of two second-century works, The Infancy Gospel Of Thomas, and the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Savior.

Why is this relevant?

The Gnostics were second century heretics who tried to combine Christianity with pagan Greek religion. The result was a huge number of Gnostic “sects,” each of which claimed superior authority then the Apostles of Jesus Christ. One of the tenants of Gnosticism was a belief that anything which has matter is evil. Therefore, some taught that Jesus did not have a body of flesh and blood, and others taught that Jesus was not crucified!

One former Muslim has written:

“As it turns out, another well-known second century source taught exactly this. It is the Gospel according to Basilides, 7 a Gnostic teacher whose school of thought lasted for centuries after his death. The word Gnostic refers to secret knowledge, as the Gnostics believed that people needed secret knowledge to be freed from the material world, which is inherently evil. Irenaeus records what Basilides taught about the death of Jesus on the cross: “He [Christ] did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at them.” 8 So Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but it was made to appear so because he switched faces with Simon of Cyrene. This correlates exactly with the Substitution Theory, the majority interpretation of the Quran. But why did Basilides teach this?…Since the material world is evil, Basilides teaches Jesus must not have had a material body, and therefore he could not have been crucified….So the Quranic teaching about Jesus that “they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but so it was made to appear” seems to trace back to a second-century Gnostic source. This late, fictitious gospel is propagating “secret knowledge” to support its polytheistic worldview, not providing historical information about Jesus’ life. We can be confident that the account in 4.157 is not the kind that an objective investigator would consider reliable as historical evidence, and therefore we must reject the Substitution Theory….These three accounts fit much better in the context of the fictitious gospels, and given that the Quran is a later source than all of them, we ought to conclude that the Quran’s ideas about Jesus come from these late, fictitious sources that are historically unreliable and theologically opposed to Islam.” (Nabeel Qureshi, No God But One: A Former Muslim Investigates The Evidence For Islam & Christianity, 170-181 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)

Jesus died for every sinner.

Have you turned to Him to save you from your sins (Acts 2:37-47)?

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