The Great Substitution

The Great Substitution

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)

Read: 2Samuel 17:1-29, John 19:23-42, Psalm 119:129-152, Proverbs 16:12-13

Relate: The Qur’an doesn’t believe Jesus died. Islam takes the facts of the greatest sacrifice, the hinge of history, and replaces it with a common deception. It turns God into a trickster. In the Qur’an we read: That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise; (sura 4 An-Nisa ayat 157-158)

To explain this Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin and the first Qur’anic scholar said, “Just before Allah raised Jesus to the Heavens, Jesus went to his disciples, who were twelve inside the house. When he arrived, his hair was dripping with water (as if he had just had a bath) and he said, ‘There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after you had believed in me.’ He then asked, ‘Who among you will volunteer for his appearance to be transformed into mine, and be killed in my place. Whoever volunteers for that, he will be with me (in Paradise).’ One of the youngest ones among them volunteered, but Jesus asked him to sit down. Jesus asked again for a volunteer, and the same young man volunteered and Jesus asked him to sit down again. Then the young man volunteered a third time and Jesus said, ‘You will be that man,’ and the resemblance of Jesus was cast over that man while Jesus ascended to Heaven from a hole in the roof of the house.”

In other words, the greatest sacrifice was substituted for a cheap parlor trick. Jesus, the Son of God, ran away and some other young fool died in his place fooling the Jews and Romans so that the Messiah could be spared.

React: Although they got the particulars wrong, Islam is right in that there was a substitution. What they got wrong is which side of the substitution Jesus was on. According to Muhammad and his cousin, Jesus was supposed to die but he fled to heaven and someone else suffered and died in his place. In reality I was the one who was supposed to die but instead Jesus plundered hell after suffering and dying in my place. He went to the cross for me and his last words while hanging there were, “It is finished”.

Those weren’t the words of a young dupe joining with God in the biggest practical joke ever played on humanity. They were the words of the one who took my sin. My bondage and slavery to sin is finished. The power is broken. My guilt and fear of an impending just judgement is finished. The price was bought and paid for my soul. My freedom was purchased at the cost of the very life of God Himself. All of history, all of time, hinges on this one simple sentence. “Jesus said, ‘It is finished’ then he bowed and released his spirit.” When he released His, mine was set free as well. That was the great substitution.


God, I thank You for dying in my place. I thank You for taking on  Yourself the punishment for my sin. You walked that road, took the pain, suffered and died… for me. Nobody died in Your place but You did die in mine. The truth of that does not give me doubt but rather confidence that it truly is finished. I am free. I am forgiven. Thank You.

24 thoughts on “The Great Substitution

  1. This entry gives me chills! What a great thing to read first thing in the morning, thanks for posting! God is GOOD!

  2. I used to wonder what the great deception that Paul spoke of in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica might be see 2 Thess 2:1-17). Today I believe the great deception to be Islam.

  3. I am enjoyed learning a little more about Islamic religion today. It is incredible what Jesus did for us and is laughable that they could come up with a story that makes Jesus sound like such a coward. Ridiculous.

  4. Pingback: The Great Substitution (5/31/13) | hope4theworld

  5. Thank you Jesus for the Salvation of my soul, for dying for me and the whole, despite what we did for you, you still forgive us. Thank You Jesus for your love.

  6. I suppose it can be taken in many ways, but the Islamic version does accord to Jesus an exalted status in that He is taken up to Heaven directly by a direct act of God. This was no “cheap parlour trick” and certainly not Jesus “running away.” It is a direct physical intervention by God the Father in the affairs of man in order to bring forth what Christians refer to as the Ascension. It may not track directly the Gospel accounts, but, at least in some ways, it picks up elements of them. What it misses, of course, is the central concept of a direct physical experience by God of a painful mortal death as the horrendously high price that God is willing to pay to free man of sin. But it is not a denigrating story. It is a respectful one, however unorthodox. This is not as distorted a view of Christianity as were the many explanations advanced by Pagans and Jews in the first couple of centuries A.D.

    • The Islamic version leaves only two alternatives: either Jesus is not God and God is not good. (He takes his favorite away and abandons another to be tortured in his place… to no purpose) or Jesus is God and God is neither good nor brave. (God asks man to die in His place as He flees the scene) Both views hold a far too low view of both the Son and the Father.

  7. The truth of your Blog is at the Heart of everything I do in life. I know that if I had been the only one ever born, he would have died for me alone. His love was that great. In return, the only thing I can offer as Thanks, is my Heart. And that is all he ever wanted to begin with.
    Your blog was beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.

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