One of my Muslim friends recently asked: “Isn’t it shocking to think that an all-mighty God could come down on earth and die at the hands of mortal men?”
My Response: I don’t think that is shocking. In fact, it would be shocking if He couldn’t.
Let me explain:
Studies have shown that firefighters are among the most admired people in the world. This isn’t surprising given that these guys do not hesitate to run into buildings engulfed with raging flames and do whatever they can to put out the fire – saving lives and properties. Many firemen have lost their lives in the process of carrying out their duties. Not too long ago, we read that the Australian Government awarded posthumous national honors to the firemen who lost their lives during the infamous wildfire that devastated parts of that country.
The military is another group that commands the respect of the populace. They comprise of individuals who have taken an oath to fight and defend the nation and her citizens from external aggression and are willing to lay down their lives honoring that oath. Almost every nation has an ‘Annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day’ set aside to honor the memory of gallant men and women that have fought and even laid their lives fighting for their country.
Also, we read of aid workers and missionaries who travel to war-torn countries to offer aid and supplies to families affected by the war. That can be a quite risky venture. Many aid workers lose their lives on the field.
Firefighters, troops, aid workers; These are just some examples of people who are willing to offer self-sacrifice out of love for others. History is filled with and celebrates many selfless individuals who have lost their lives as a result of their love for their country, or for other people. Indeed the greatest ethic humanity is capable of is love — nothing supersedes love. No wonder it is always in our arts, movies, music and literature, everybody talks about love.
As a Christian, I believe that God is the greatest and obviously my Muslim friends agree. The Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” simply means “God is greater” and almost every Islamic idea is centered on those very words. Talking about love in Islam; One of the 99 names of Allah is ‘Al-Wadud’ which means “The affectionate or loving one”. But the God of the Bible is vastly different from Allah of the Quran. According to the Quran, Allah loves those who love him (Surah 3:31) but the Bible on the other hand, doesn’t just say that God is capable of love, it says that God is love — There is a big difference. If God were to only love those who love him, what is the big deal in that? Jesus Christ refers to that kind of love as “tax collectors love” (Matthew 5:46).
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.(I John 4:8 NKJV)
Now, if we agree that the greatest ethic is love and the greatest possible way to express love is through self-sacrifice, and this is something even human beings have historically proven to be capable of, then God who is both the greatest possible being and the very embodiment of love surely would be capable of not just the greatest ethic, which is love but also the greatest sacrifice, which is self-sacrifice. Hence God, in the person of Jesus Christ offered His life on the cross out of love for the world.
Consider the following;
- There is no greater being than God.
- There simply is no greater love than that which God has for the world.
- There is no greater sacrifice than Jesus taking upon Himself the punishment for the sins of the world by dying the most gruesome death on the cross.
But we all know that love cannot be forced. If I freely give my love to someone, they have to be willing to receive it — I can’t force my love on them.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.(John 3:16 KJV)
Now, to my Muslim friends; If it is true that God is ‘Al Wadud’ (The most loving) and if it is true that He is “Al Akbar” (the greatest), then it follows that He would be capable of becoming man and giving His life to save mankind from eternal damnation and here comes the mind-blowing part; death could not hold Christ. God showed His greatness by raising Jesus Christ from the dead – a historical event witnessed by many.
In summary, It is only in Christianity that you find the greatest being (God) who exhibits the greatest ethic (Love) by making the greatest possible sacrifice (self-sacrifice) for the redemption of a fallen world. You can’t find this kind of love in Islam or any other religion for that matter.
Self-sacrifice is the greatest proof of love. Therefore it follows that; the greatest love ever shown would require the greatest sacrifice ever made. God, through the person of Jesus Christ, displayed the greatest love on mankind by making the greatest sacrifice. But we all know that love cannot be forced. If I freely give my love to someone, they have to be willing to receive it — I can’t force my love on them.
Beloved, If you have not acknowledged that payment made on the cross of Calvary, if you have not received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, this is a good time to do just that. Say this prayer out loud and let it come from the depth of your heart:
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are God incarnated in flesh. I acknowledge my sinfulness and I have realize this very day that I am desperately in need of a Savior. I know that you died for my sins and rose on the third day. I ask that you come into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. I ask that you cleanse me of all my sins and make me whiter than snow. I renounce Satan and every unfruitful work of darkness. Thank you for loving me, even while I was still swimming in sin. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. I love you, Jesus.
Congratulations Beloved, you have been adopted into the family of the Most-High God — a child of God. Walk in the Light!