Actually, at first I thought, "Who are the people that see deity in this verse, or the Trinity? I don't." And actually, I have never heard anyone use this verse as a primary proof text for the doctrine of the Trinity.
But on reflection, we can see how it clearly shows that Jesus claims for himself the divine attributes. By saying "I am the life," Jesus is saying He is God. Who else is life? Is that not the prerogative of God alone? It is one of Allah's 99 names: Al-Hayy: The Living. Just as Al-Haqq: The Truth is only the attribute of God and none else.
By saying on the one hand, "I am God", by claiming his exclusive attributes, and on the other hand, "No one comes to the Father except through Me," Jesus is showing that there is another person in the Godhead. Even though this is only an implicit claim for the plurality of the persons in the Trinity, it certainly is a strong claim to be God. No prophet ever claimed to be the way. They all proclaim "This is the way: ...", but none ever claimed to be the way himself. All prophets of God point to him who is the life, but none ever claimed to be himself this life. And they say, God is the truth, and this message is truth, but none ever claimed that he himself is THE truth. This is an unambiguous statement of his identity with God.
Furthermore, Al-Kadhi does a very poor exegesis of: "In My Father's house are many rooms." Al-Kadhi's interpretation cannot be called other than a purposeful distortion of the plain text. Let us examine his claims:
This is exactly what Jesus is saying here. He said that in God's mansion there are "many" rooms. Jesus was sent to guide to only one of them. The countless other rooms were reserved for other tribes and nations if they would obey their messengers. However, Jesus was telling his followers that they need not worry themselves about the other rooms. Anyone from among his people who wished to enter into the room which was reserved for them could only do so if they followed Jesus and obeyed his command. So Jesus confirmed that he was going to prepare "a" mansion and not "all" the mansions in "my Father's house".
With this tour de force Al-Kadhi managed to create a meaning which is the exact opposite message of the text. To understand any text, we need to look at the context.
Could you find any verse corresponding to Al-Kadhi's claim that "Jesus was sent to guide to only one of them. The countless other rooms were reserved for other tribes and nations if they would obey their messengers." Yes, there are other rooms, and Jesus makes clear again that there is not only room with God for them, or for the Israelites only, but there is more grace of God for other nations. But in sharp contradiction to Al-Kadhi's claim, Jesus does not speak about other messengers. There are not many ways to God, despite Al-Kadhi's claims, and Jesus is not only the way "for his disciples". Jesus says the exact opposite. Jesus speaks about the mansions of his Father. And even though he says that there will be many mansions, he also states that there is only one way. He does not say: I am the way to the Father (for you ... but others will get there in other ways), he says "NONE will come to the Father except through me."
This cannot be localized or relativized. Jesus does not say "I am a way" or "the way for you", he says "I am the way" and he stresses in the second part of the verse that there is no other. None will come through any other way. He is the universal last messenger that Al-Kadhi would like to claim for Muhammad. In fact, he is much more than a messenger. Al-Kadhi does not have a problem with the concept of universality, but he tries hard to limit Jesus' clear universal statements. This is understandable. If he recognizes Jesus' universal claim, then there is no room left for Muhammad. Al-Kadhi's exegesis is motivated by self-defense but it is not an honest interpretation of the text.
In verse 2 Jesus indicates that he has talked about this topic of many mansions before. Using a different image he says this in John 10:
Here again, Jesus is very clear that there will be one true shepherd, not many shepherds, and though there will be many mansions in God's new world, all will be under him alone, they will all belong together and Jesus will be the shepherd. They will come others not from Israel (this sheep pen), but they will be brought by Jesus himself, not by others, and they will come to Jesus' flock not in other flocks. And Jesus lays down his life for the sheep. All the sheep, the sheep from Israel and the sheep from the other nations. This is again Jesus' universal claim and it leaves no room for some later, greater other shepherd.
Muhammad will not be a or the shepherd, he has only the choice to be one of the sheep or not in the fold at all.
Where did Al-Kadhi find that "Jesus was telling his followers that they need not worry themselves about the other rooms"? Isn't Jesus in fact telling them they don't have to worry about their own room since he is going to prepare it for them? They should just trust in him as they should trust in God.
And this question is put to all of us. Will we trust him? Will we believe him that he is indeed the life, our only way to eternal life?
If that is what Al-Kadhi expects a prophet to say, why does Muhammad not say it? No honest reader, realizing that Jesus spoke this statement into a strictly monotheistic Jewish culture and against a history of 1500 years of revelation documented in the Jewish scriptures, can dismiss this claim of Jesus so lightly. None of the Jewish prophets has ever spoken this way. This is a startling claim. And Jesus means what he says. Al-Kadhi's construction is a desparate attempt to explain away the obvious.
It is the message of Islam that Jesus is the door? I have never found that on any Muslim webpage. Jesus does not say "I am one of the doors and you can come in through any of them", he says there is only one door: "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. ... I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." (John 10:1,9) Yet Al-Kadhi wants to get to the sheep without acknowledging the door. And then he wants to lead them to heaven around the door, but there is only one way in. Jesus is very clear.
It might help to realize that Jesus speaks his instructions to his disciples in John 14 only some hours before his arrest and crucifixion. He is about to leave them. But he makes it very clear in this last will, that there is no other way. He does not tell them to watch out for another prophet, he emphasises instead that he is the only way, for them and for everyone. He was not only the way when he was with them, but he is the way not only for them but for all who will come to believe in him through his disciples. His mission is not over.
After his resurrection he says it again, commissioning them with these words found in Matthew 28:
Now Jesus universal mission and claim is to be carried to all nations. He has laid down his life for all the sheep and they need to know it. And this is the work of Jesus, since he is with them. In fact, the birth of the church and report of this mission begins in Acts 1 with these words:
Jesus life on earth as a man among men was only the beginning of his work and ministry. Now we live in part two of it. He is with us and Jesus still is bringing the sheep to his fold. He is and will forever be the one good and true shepherd.
Al-Kadhi concludes with the reminder which we fully endorse:
And this will of God contains one very important part which should not be overlooked:
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." (John 17:3)
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)
"I am the way,and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through me." (John 14:6)
The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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