A little over a month ago, the government of Pakistan declared a holiday, a day for Muslims to show their love and honor for the prophet Mohammed. Many were surprised that rioting broke out. Seventeen people were killed. But this should not be a surprise. In a culture that highly values honor and abhors shameful acts, it is the right thing to stand up for the honor of a family member, a clan member, or one’s spiritual leader. And, in such a culture, acts of violence are sometimes necessary to exact revenge and to restore the honor or one’s family, clan, or religion.
This would also be an honorable act for a Muslim because he would be following in the footsteps of the prophet who took up the sword and went to war for the honor of Allah. Mohammed did, after all, command that men who left Islam should be killed. And he even ordered that those who wrote poems criticizing him be killed. When he was on his deathbed, because one of his wives poisoned him, Mohammed said, “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians, for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets.”
But I would like to suggest that Muslims have a day to honor and love the prophet Isa (Jesus). And in order to honor him, you must follow in his footsteps. What did Isa do? Well, according to the Bible and the Quran he acted in mercy towards others. We learn that he forgave sinners. He gave sight to the blind. He cured lepers. He released people from evil spirits.
The prophet Isa defined his mission in this way (Injil Luke 4:18-19)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
But the greatest example was when he was on his deathbed. Well, it actually wasn’t a “death bed.” It wasn’t a bed of comfort at all. He was hanging on a Roman cross and he had nails in his hands and in his feet to hold him there. But here is what he said about those who crucified him, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Injil Luke 23:34).
We have had a day to remember Mohammed’s example and many have followed it. Many have remembered his final words. Let’s have a day to remember the example of the prophet Isa and to remember his final words. And the best way to remember him is to follow his example of love.
If you want to learn more about this Jesus, I invite you to listen to Stories of the Master where you can learn about his life, his works, and his words.