Muslims need Jesus

JESUS SPEAKING

             “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.  For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.  But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.  They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’  But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.  Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.  And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ” (Mathew 23: 1-10.)

 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

             There are too many topics in this scripture to tackle in one sitting.  Let’s look at just one; ‘the binding of heavy burdens.’  Jesus says, “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”  In the old testament, God commanded that anyone who passed by a donkey that was overloaded and straining under the weight was held accountable to God if he or she did not take some of that burden off of the donkey’s shoulders and place it on to their own.  They were required to stop everything, take some of the load from the donkey, and carry it themselves to where ever the donkey and its master were heading.  Imagine then what God would think of a person who walked by a struggling donkey, and instead of easing the burden, stacked what they were carrying on the donkey as well.  This is exactly what the religious leaders were doing to God’s people.  God gave simple rules and regulations by which to live; not all that many; still, man had been so corrupted that they had failed to keep them.  Yet, this didn’t stop the religious leaders from adding more rules to the ones they were already struggling under.  The Pharisees’ added laws numbered in the hundreds; many of which were completely ridiculous.  To illustrate how ridiculous they were, they outlawed the carrying of anything on the Sabbath (a day of rest commanded by God.)  On the Sabbath, Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed and laying on a mat; after the healing, he told the man to ‘pick up his mat and go.’  The religious leaders saw the man carrying his rolled up mat and attacked him for breaking the Sabbath laws.  God had commanded in the bible that no one was to carry a burden, but he never specified what that meant; the Pharisees were unsatisfied with leaving it as God had written; instead they felt the obligation to interpret what it meant and add new laws in to the existing ones.  For instance, God commanded them to refrain from work, but Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, and they blamed him for working.  God had never defined healing as being work, but they, so anxious to condemn Jesus thought they would make new laws where none existed.  They considered themselves then, to be the moral authority on what God had meant by something.  There rules were causing people to be resentful toward God; they were pushing God’s people even further away from Him.  The people, from the time of Adam, to the time of Jesus, had failed to accomplish what God was asking from them.  Sin is what happens when a person acts contrary to what God desires.  Acting in adherence to the law was to be without sin.  However, everyone fell short, everyone caved under the weight of the burden; no one was without sin.  The messiah came to relieve that burden.  Jesus carried the sins of the world on his shoulders when he carried the cross.  God used His Son to clear a path through sin, and in to eternal fellowship with him.  Jesus did for us, what we couldn’t do for ourselves.  He came to help those who were struggling and without hope.    

             Jesus came to help, so has anyone attempted to hinder others from receiving that help?  I very rarely bring up other religions, but I feel compelled too here.  Islam is a faith that offers no solution to the problem of man’s incurable nature to do, think, and behave in immoral ways.  Mohamed professed to believe in Jesus, but he denied his place in forgiving the sins of the lost; he certainly never read this scripture.  Instead of pointing others to Jesus he put himself up as an equal with Jesus.  Mohammed was not a messiah, but a Pharisee.  [He came hundreds of years after the crucifixion, and sidestepped all of Christ’s teachings, and all of God’s work for mankind.  He reinstituted most of the laws of the Old Testament.  He put the burden back on the people, and not only that, but he added to their burdens.  Outward adherence to the laws became the norm, once again.  Mohamed waged a Holy War (converting people with the sword), in which anyone who fought against him and refused to hail him as the prophet of God, was tortured, beheaded, or ordered to give up all of their wealth and possessions, and compelled to leave the country.  This Holy War is still happening today, which is why Muslim countries are born out of war and violence.]  In the Muslim Faith, there is no certainty in making it to heaven, with one exception; anyone who is killed in a ‘Jihad,’ or a ‘Holy War’ automatically goes straight to heaven.  In the Gulf war, they were sending people over in waves, across the lines with guns, fully knowing they would all be shot down.  Why?  Because they believe in creating martyrs (those who have been killed in a ‘Holy War.’)  They celebrate knowing that these men went straight to heaven.  In many Muslim countries, the side streets, and billboards are filled with images of suicide bombers, who have killed themselves along with innocent civilians.  They are seen as examples for the rest of the Muslims who want a guaranteed place in heaven (where there are 70 virgins, who perpetually receive their virginity over and over again.)  Why do they need this guarantee?  Because the alternative, according to the Koran, is to attempt to do far more good deeds than evil, and when you get to heaven, if you have been good enough, you will enter heaven; if you weren’t good enough you will go to hell.  Let’s look at Mohamed’s rules.  He believed that God had ruled on every area of life, leaving nothing open for debate.  In eating for example, Mohamed wrote, one should ‘only eat with the right hand, with three fingers.  In sleep a person was told to wipe off the bed three times before getting in, and to sleep on the right side with the right hand under the right cheek, and the knees slightly bent.’  All this from a man who set a rule for having only 4 wives while taking for himself, at least 18 (he was the prophet, so he was different.  This number could be even closer to 22.)  Most true Muslims will not read the bible, because the teachings of Jesus Christ run completely contradictory to what Mohammed had taught.  (Warning, we are not to feel hatred for Muslims, but compassion and love.  However, love means telling them the truth.  Jesus Christ next to Mohamed reveals the evil of a man under the control of Satan, and the truth of a God.  So, it is our act of love to bring them to the foot of the cross; to let them know that the burden of a Pharisee has been lifted from their shoulders, and that the grace of God has been granted to them.)

             Today there are many Muslims who are straining under the burdens of Mohamed and under the burdens of their clerics who have become even worse Pharisees than those Jesus had been dealing with.  These men live respectful lives, while their followers focus in on all of the rules they need to follow to be pleasing to God.  Their hearts are empty; their actions are done out of constraint and not a genuine love for others, or a genuine love for God.  They may fear him, but they don’t know His love.  When a person realizes the role of Jesus Christ, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, they are filled with love, and they begin to obey God with a genuine heart.  Real love cannot be forced, it cannot be shaped by actions, it comes from the presence of God within a person; the only way to have God enter a person is if they accept the free gift of God; reconciliation through the work of Christ upon the cross.  God is concerned with heart.  The Muslims need to receive the truth; they need to know that God loves them, and he desires to set them free.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today, and we lift You up; You are just an awesome and mighty God; full of truth, and love and mercy.  Lord, we ask and pray that You would help the Muslims, and help anyone else who is struggling under the burdens of others.  We pray that You would set them free, and bring them to the knowledge of your redemption through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Father, we ask that if there are areas of our lives where we are trying to carry a burden that You are desiring to carry for us, we ask You to take it now; we give it to You Father.  We love You Lord, we thank You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”

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