Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What Every Muslim Needs to Know About the Prophet Jesus (PBUH)


  The Quran clearly points to Jesus Christ, as being a holy man, and a prophet, and so he cannot be a liar. The following essay presents to you, my dear Muslim friends, the words of Jesus himself. I ask you to carefully consider these things and search out whether they be true.

1. Jesus Christ claimed to be God.

In Mark Chapter 2, Jesus is preaching inside a man's house, and a sick man is brought to him. In verse 5, Jesus says 
 "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."
 Now consider, my friends, what an amazing claim that is to  make in front of other people.Everyone understands that the power to forgive sins belongs to God alone. I would not make the claim to be able to forgive sins, and I  suspect you would not either.  In fact, the assembled crowd responds, saying "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?"
 Jesus answers them and says:
 " Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house."
 In John chapter 10, Jesus is being pressed by the Jews to give a plain answer as to whether or not he was God manifest in the flesh. He answers them:
 "I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."
  The people listening responded by offering to stone him. Jesus asks them why they want to stone him, and they answer "For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."  
   Now my dear Muslim friend, by Jesus's own words you can see that he claimed to be able to forgive sins, he claimed to be able to give men eternal life, and he claimed to be equal with God. All of these are attributes of God alone. Was this holy prophet telling the truth when he spoke of himself?

2. Jesus Christ Died on the Cross, and Rose again

 Before he was captured and crucified, Jesus Christ predicted his own death, and his own resurrection. In John chapter 10, he says:
"I lay down my life, that I might take it again.No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."
In Luke chapter 18, Jesus prophesies again regarding his own death, and says:
 "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again."
In Mark 9, Jesus is teaching his disciples and tells them:
"The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day."
 In Matthew 26, Jesus says:
 "Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."
 After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and told them:
 "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
 "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."
 In the first chapter of  book of Revelation, John encounters Jesus Christ again, and Jesus tells him:
"Fear not; I am the first and the last:I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
 Consider these things, friend. By his own words, Jesus knew he was going to die on the cross before it happened. He knew he was going to rise from the dead. He appeared to his disciples with the wounds of death in his body, and proclaimed to John that he had been dead, but now was alive. Was Jesus telling the truth?

3. Jesus Christ is the Only way to Heaven

  In John chapter 11, Jesus is speaking to the sister of his friend Lazarus, and he tells her:
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
 In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
 Jesus Christ, from his own mouth claimed to be the source of eternal life and the only way for men to achieve a resurrection from the dead. He claimed to be the only way for a man to get to God. Jesus Christ claimed that your good works cannot save you, your devotion to God cannot save you; only he can save you from your sins. He accomplished this by paying the penalty for your sins with his own death upon the cross. He displayed victory over death by raising himself from the dead, and he promises the forgiveness of sin to all those who will put their faith and trust in him alone.
  What if the prophet Jesus Christ was telling the truth?
  I beseech you to consider these things in your heart. Are these things true? And if they are, why have you never been told?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mostly Human

 I have sitting, in my yard, a  broken green 1995 Geo Metro. We'll get back to that in a moment.
  When I got saved  in 1995, I was 21 years old, and without any undue embellishment, take my word for it, I was a hard man.  I had seen tragedy and heartbreak and death, and although others have doubtless seen worse, the experiences of my brief life thus far had hardened me. I understood rage, and I understood anger, but I had done my best to jettison from my  soul everything else. I walked around in a human body, but the affections and sentiments that are supposed to be common to the human experience were, from my vantage point, something that happened to other people.  I had no friends, and I was OK with that. I had no close affections, and I was OK with that. You could hit me, but you could not hurt me, and that was on purpose. I don't say this to make myself sound like a tough guy, but rather to lay the groundwork for what God has done.
  Of course now I sit here, more than 20 years later a new creature in Christ. I look at the man I used to be with  a certain amount of detachment, and with two decades of experience on him.  He's gone but not gone. That hard-hearted brawler still roams the hallways of my mind, and his influence bubbles up from time to time, but God has helped me in ways I could never explain.  God has patiently stripped away the dross and is preparing a vessel for His use.
  When I got saved, God gave me friends, or at least people who endured me for the ministries sake.  I'm still not the life of the party, and I'll never be voted Mister Congeniality (thank God) but God has, over the years, placed some people in my life, and used those people, whether they knew it or not, to help reassemble the broken man that He redeemed.  Of course, that sort of thing comes with a price.
  Doug is one of those friends.  I wish I could say that I had been the help to him that he's been to me, but that simply wouldn't be true. Really, my association with Doug has always struck me as pretty unlikely, but somehow it's worked. A few years back I was in a bind car-wise, and I bought this 1995 Geo from Doug and his wife.  The car has always been sort of moody, and it's always been prone to failures that defy explanation and that come and go on their own, but I took that little car with its unmatchable gas mileage and put around 100,000 miles on it in the last  3 or 4 years.  In that time, as I've worked through one issue or another (often with Doug's guidance or muscle) , many people have wondered why I didn't just get another car. My extended family have questioned my very sanity as to why I would  strive over and over again to keep this one car on the road.  I have bought other cars in this time, but it always comes back to this Geo.  This time around, it has sat still for several months plagued with a host of symptoms that have the best and brightest shrugging their shoulders. People ask me, "What are you going to do with that thing?" I'm sure I could muster up a handful of practical reasons to keep the car. It's paid for. I know it inside and out. It gets 50 miles to the gallon. But that's probably not the real reason.
  Look, I'm a smart guy. I can understand intellectually that this car is simply a 2,600 pound pile of metal and glass and rubber and plastic. I may talk to it, but it does not hear me. I get that.  I understand the concept of 'diminishing returns'. I'm far from stupid. But an unintended side-effect of my restored humanity is that I am, on occasion an irrational, pathetically sentimental sap.  I look at this pile of non functioning mechanical parts and I think of how I asked for prayer one night at a Saturday night prayer meeting because I needed a vehicle, and how Doug and his wife sold me that car for less than they could have. I think about Doug's wife, and how I wasn't sure if I was going to like her, but how our family has grown to love her.  She is, like me, a trophy of God's grace, living proof of God's kindness, and a broken thing under divine reassembly. I think about how the newlyweds loaded up her stuff in a trailer and hauled it down here in that Geo, and how they both cast aside their own sentimental attachment to it and sold it to me.  I think about all the time and knowledge Doug has donated to get this car back up on the road; time he could have spent with his lovely bride and his growing family. I think of how nobody would have done that for the cranky scrapper I used to be.  I stand there in my yard with a tool in my hand and the hood up thinking about all of this, and with all the rational arguments to stop echoing in my head, I say to myself "well, let's try this one more thing...".
  Having bared this little piece of myself to you, Oh Internet Reader Person, can you blame me? After all, I'm mostly human.