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"Can We Say that Jesus Is God?"

There we were, at midnight, sitting in a local coffee shop, studying the Gospel of Mark.

Why midnight? Definitely not because that’s when I prefer to drink coffee, but because in the local Arab culture, that’s when men hang out. It also happened to be around the time my young Muslim friend got off work.

I should back up. Months before, my friend Ahmad†, a 20-something Muslim, had been connected to me because he wanted to know more about Jesus. So we began meeting regularly, studying through Genesis 1–3, the stories of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah 53, and more, until we arrived in the New Testament.

We studied some of the teachings and miracles of Jesus, and when we made it to the crucifixion and resurrection narratives, my friend had a question:

“Can I pray like you pray?”

“You mean right now?” I asked.

“Yes, right now.”

“Well, yes, of course!” I answered.

Without me giving him the words, he prayed that God would forgive his sins and help him to follow Jesus in his life.

And from that very moment, all of his theology was sorted out and he understood everything about following Jesus perfectly.

Well, not exactly.

Who else could He be?
Just like all of us, being captivated by what Jesus did in His life, death, and resurrection led to more questions and more wrestling with the Scriptures.

And that is what brought us to the Gospel of Mark late that evening.

We were studying it from beginning to end, and we had seen once again many of Jesus’ miracles and teachings. And Ahmad had another question, with a long lead-up:

“Okay, so we’ve seen that Jesus has authority over demons, He has authority over healing sicknesses, He has authority over the weather, He even has authority over forgiveness of sins.” He hesitated for a moment. “So can we say …”

He leaned in and started speaking very softly. (Remember, we are sitting in a public coffee shop in a Muslim-majority country.)

“Can we say that Jesus is God?”

You see, he hadn’t sorted out all the theology in his mind yet, even though of course we had seen this point and discussed it before.

But in that moment, he saw from the pages of Scripture the plain truth. So of course I replied:

“Yes, we can!”

As we continued to discuss it, Ahmad said, “How could Jesus be anything else? No one else could do all of these things!”

He saw the truth for himself in the pages of the Gospel of Mark, the Injil as it’s called in Arabic. His journey after coming to know Christ was full of questions—theological questions, and practical questions too.

But the wonderful privilege we have is to point Ahmad and others like him to God’s Word, with the full confidence that God by His Spirit will indeed reveal Himself to them and guide them into all truth (John 14:25).

God redeeming Muslims: the story unfolds
And what does God’s Word say we should expect to happen in the Muslim world? Rev. 5:9–10 tells us to expect people from every tribe, tongue, and nation before the throne of God.

And now, more than any other time in history, this is happening. Ahmad is not alone. There are people coming to Christ all over the Muslim world. Some see what groups like ISIS are doing and are driven to doubt Islam. Others meet a believer and are overwhelmed by love and compassion. But all of them see that Jesus is worthy to receive our worship.

So we have to ask ourselves: Can we say that Jesus is God? Do we believe that He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?

If we do, then our next step is to ask God what role He wants us to play in His adventure. We need more people committed to bringing Muslims like Ahmad to the pages of Scripture, praying with and for them, that God would open their eyes and bring them into light from darkness and fill them with the knowledge of His will (Col. 1:9).

*The author is an MTW missionary serving among Muslims. His name has been changed for security reasons.

†Name has been changed.

 

 

JR Oct 28, 2016
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