Do Muslims have real respect for Jesus?


Dallas M. Roark

Many Muslims profess to have a great admiration for Jesus as a prophet. In spite of this alleged respect there are many things being done against the followers of Jesus that involve burning of churches, killing followers of Jesus, and if not killing, then persecution of the followers of Jesus so that their lives are threatened. Many have fled their villages or towns because of persecution.

There are two stories in the New Testament that relate to the lack of real respect for Jesus. These have direct connection to the claim of Muslims that they respect Jesus.

The first story relates to the life of Saul, who later became Paul, the apostle. A group of people who opposed the followers of Jesus accused Stephen, a follower of Jesus, with false charges. When Stephen began to give his speech of defense they rejected it and rushed Stephen out of the city to be stoned to death. Here is where we pick up the Scripture:

“Saul approved the stoning of Stephen. Some faithful followers of the Lord buried Stephen and mourned very much for him. At that time the church in Jerusalem suffered terribly. All of the Lord's followers, except the apostles, were scattered everywhere in Judea and Samaria. Saul started making a lot of trouble for the church. He went from house to house, arresting men and women and putting them in jail.” (Acts 8:1-3)

This kind of activity that Saul was doing is repeated in Iran today and other countries: going from house to house searching to find people who are followers of Jesus. Just recently an Iranian who has become a citizen of the US has been thrown in prison in Iran for being a follower of Jesus.

The story of Saul becomes more interesting.

“ Saul kept on threatening to kill the Lord's followers. He even went to the high priest
and asked for letters to the Jewish leaders in Damascus. He did this because he wanted to arrest and take to Jerusalem any man or woman who had accepted the Lord's Way. When Saul had almost reached Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice that said, "Saul! Saul! Why are you so cruel to me?" "Who are you?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus," the Lord answered. "I am the one you are so cruel to.” (Acts 9:1-5, CEV)

The Revised Standard Version and others translates verses 4-5 in the following manner:

“ And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; “

One must keep in mind that the people who were being jailed, killed, persecuted were the followers of Jesus. What was done to them was done to Him. When Muslims persecute followers of Jesus they are persecuting Jesus according to the words of Jesus. So while many may claim respect for Jesus, that claim of respect is a fraud if they are involved in persecuting the followers of Jesus. Are you guilty of persecuting Jesus? Have you been involved in jihad against followers of Jesus?
There is a story of the early days of the church when followers of Jesus were persecuted for preaching about Jesus and the resurrection. At one point Gamaliel, a prominent member of the Council said, “So I advise you to stay away from these men. Leave them alone. If what they are planning is something of their own doing, it will fail. But if God is behind it, you cannot stop it anyway, unless you want to fight against God. The council members agreed with what he said. (Acts 6:38-39)

The question Muslims must ask, “In doing jihad against followers of Jesus, am I fighting against God?” The stories listed below give a firm basis for saying Islam is fighting against Jesus.

There is another story in the New Testament about treating people with love and kindness, and Jesus commented on it with regard to Himself.

"When the Son of Man comes as King and all the angels with him, he will sit on his royal throne, and the people of all the nations will be gathered before him. Then he will divide them into two groups, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the righteous people at his right and the others at his left. Then the King will say to the people on his right, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.' The righteous will then answer him, 'When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Away from me, you that are under God's curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels! I was hungry but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink; I was a stranger but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison but you would not take care of me.' Then they will answer him, 'When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.' These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life." (Matthew 25:31-46)

There is a practical illustration of these words in the following story.

“A cleric in Pakistan's Punjab province has warned that a jihad would be launched against polio vaccination teams at a time when the World Health Organisation has expressed concern at the emergence of new cases of the disease across the country.

“ Maulvi Ibrahim Chisti of Muzaffargarh district declared the anti-polio campaign as "un-Islamic" and announced at the local mosque that jihad (holy war) should be carried out against the polio vaccination team. He made the remarks after finding out that a vaccination team had entered Khan Pur Bagga Sher area of Muzaffargarh and asked families to cooperate with the campaign.

The cleric went to the largest mosque in the area and declared that polio drops were "poison" and against Islam, The Express Tribune reported. He warned that if the vaccination team forced anyone to participate in the campaign, then jihad was "the only option".

As a result, the polio team returned to Muzaffargarh city without carrying out any immunisation and reported the matter to senior officials. A police inquiry was ordered and a raid was conducted in the cleric's area. However, Chisti escaped by the time the police arrived.

Residents said the cleric had tried to convince them that the polio campaign was a "Western conspiracy" to render the population impotent. After the police raid, the vaccination team returned to the area to implement the immunisation campaign.”


Do the words of Jesus apply here? “'I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.' These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life.”

Disease knows no boundaries. We have had polio outbreaks in the US in the last century and polio has been virtually wiped out by immunization that became common in the middle of the century. One of the presidents of the US, Franklin D. Roosevelt, suffered from polio and was not able to move about without a wheel chair. His wife was involved in the campaign to bring immunizations to the youth of the US. I remember getting vaccinated as a young person. There was fear on the part of young people about getting polio. It was terrible in its affects of crippling people.

It is terribly sad to hear of a cleric in Pakistan speaking out of sheer ignorance about immunization. There will be more people affected and people like that cleric will be the cause of it. Ignorance is bad, but it is worse when it is used to keep people from having health benefits.

There is another story about depriving innocent people of medical care and committing murder on the people who came to bring medical help to villages remote from medical facilities. Remember the words of Jesus at the day of judgement.

August 7, 2010 6:03 AM Taliban murder 10 medical workers in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- At least 10 medical personnel, including six Americans, were murdered in northern Afghanistan on Thursday, officials confirmed Saturday. A Taliban spokesman, reached by cellphone, claimed responsibility for the killings. [...]

“The International Assistance Mission, a group that last month had a fund-raiser in Kabul for a medical expedition to Nuristan Province, said six of the dead were Americans, one was German and one was British. Dirk Frans, the executive director of the I.A.M., said the team was headed by Tom Little, an American opthamologist with four decades experience in Afghanistan and a fluent Dari speaker. Mr. Frans said the team numbered 12, including four Afghans, two of whom were killed.”

This was a group of people seeking to bring medical treatment to isolated people suffering with many problems. One wonders how many opthamologists there are in Afghanistan and then how many of them would be willing to go to remote areas to help poor people. Tom Little was an American opthamologist who had been working among poor people for 4 decades. One wonders where the Taliban get their eyes examined and treated.

These people were followers of Jesus. The persecution of the people ultimately was a persecution of Jesus. The claim among Muslims to honor Jesus is a lie when they persecute and kill the followers of Jesus seeking to bring medical help to people who have been denied it for so long. The judgement of Jesus about such hypocrisy in the lives of religious people must be emphasized: 'I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.' These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life”

The final judgement in the Muslim mind seems to be that jihad against the followers of Jesus must be done in spite of the words of Jesus that they are choosing hell by their actions. The respect that is claimed for Jesus in the Muslim context of persecution of his followers is a lie.

In spite of all that imams are doing in teaching that Jesus is a mere prophet, Jesus is not blocked from coming to Muslims. Across the Muslim world people are having dreams and visions of Jesus. The visions or dreams are to people who are surprised by the dreams. But they have a powerful impact on the emotions of the people. There is a deep sense of peace that comes over the persons. There is no fear of Jesus appearing to them. They are aware that Jesus is not merely a prophet. They come to see that He is the Son of God with great power and love. One of the great themes in these stories is that they know they are loved by Jesus. House churches are being formed as a result of these visions and images.

Moreover, Jesus is doing miracles like he did when he was here on earth. One such story involves two men who were going to a distant village to tell them about God’s love expressed in Jesus. They had to pass a Muslim village they knew was hostile to the story of Jesus. When they came to this village on their motorcycle it suddenly stopped and they could not start it. They walked into the village wondering if there was any possibility of help for the cycle. When they came into the village there was a funeral going on. They felt the direction of God to go and ask if they could pray for the person who had died. The man prayed for an hour and continued to pray. Time was passing and people were becoming impatient. The man praying touched the hand of the dead woman and felt that it was becoming warm. A few moments later he noticed that her eyes were open. Soon she got up. The shock and thrill of all this went through the crowd. The dead woman was the wife of the head of the village. His comments were that the two men could come back and share the story of Jesus anytime. When they returned to the cycle it started immediately.

There are many stories of Jesus healing the people with cancer, raising the dead, and other marvelous acts. The Bible is the story of a God who acts and whose great goal is to have a relationship with his creation–this includes Muslim as well as everyone else. God is doing awesome things in the world today apart from visions to Muslims. It is estimated that over 200 million people have been blessed by God’s direct action in the lives of people to heal them from diseases, raising the dead, healing the blind, the lame, people with cancer, curing the deaf and dumb. The stories of the book of Acts in the New Testament are being repeated in the lives of people around the world.
(Craig Keener, Miracles, vol I, Baker Academic, 2011, p. 238)

All of this raises a profound question. If Jesus is doing all of this, appearing to people in dreams, healing the sick, raising the dead, right now, then does it not seem right to ask the question: why are followers of Jesus being persecuted, imprisoned, having their churches burn down, home burned down and people displaced? Is there no concern in Muslim thinking that they are working against the Creator of the Universe? Jesus is appearing to many Muslims calling them to follow Him. Why should they be persecuted? Why should they be killed?
Their lives are in danger if they are discovered to be obedient to Jesus. It is interesting that there is great courage to follow Jesus because they know now that He is the Son of God. The peace that comes over them is overwhelming. Their sins are forgiven, they feel clean, and they have a joy in their lives that they never had before. Only the Son of God can give this.

The visions and dreams that Jesus is revealing to Muslims raises the question about the inadequacy of Islam as a religion. Jesus is affirming in the lives of these people that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) Muslims are having dreams about Jesus in all Muslim countries. Jesus is invading the Muslim culture and transforming Muslims into His followers and there is nothing that a repressive government can do about it. The government may limit TV, or Facebook, or the Internet, but it cannot stop Jesus from coming to people in the middle of the night in visions and dreams. They have no doubt about the validity of the dreams and visions. They are life transforming.

It must be noted that Mohammed is buried in Medina, but Jesus is alive in heaven. Jesus is still active in his mission to bring blessing to mankind. People are encountered by dreams and vision and by means of the message of the Gospels. Even though Mohammed expelled followers of Jesus from Arabia in his life time, Jesus has followers now in Arabia and even in Mecca. Jesus cannot be kept out of the lives of people He loves.

Many people are experiencing dreams and visions of Jesus. You don’t need a dream or vision to have an encounter with Jesus. You can pray that Jesus will enter your life and fill you with His joy, forgiveness, and peace. You don’t have to wait to call upon him in prayer.

A simple prayer would be something like this: “Lord Jesus, I call on you to come into my life, forgive my sins, help me to obey you in living, please give me the joy of your presence. Amen.”

It is not too late to have your life transformed. The Apostle Paul became a transformed person who once persecuted the followers of Jesus and he became a diligent spokesman for his Savior. Jesus said, “A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.” (John 10:10) You were created to have a relationship with Jesus and that can begin now with a commitment of your life to Jesus, and it lasts eternally.