Matt and Susi Lundquist, Campus Ambassadors
I had time set aside this morning at Starbucks to prepare for my SS class, but God had another plan.
I ran into my friend Ali, from Saudi Arabia. Ali is a devout Muslim.
He knows I am a campus minister so the topic soon turned to our religious beliefs. He asked if I had a goal of making him a Christian.
I said it was not my only goal in becoming his friend, but I did believe that’s what was best for him.
I told him about my relationship with God and he asked when I last spoke with Him. I said this morning and he asked “What time?”
I shared that God usually wakes me up between 5 and 6.
“How does He do that?”
I said it usually wasn’t too special, I just wake up and know I’m supposed to get up and pray and that I don’t always do it.
He smiled as I explained about the special Persian rug I walk around on and how I have to move the coffee table to the center so I can do laps around it.
“But today was a bit different. I had a dream at about 5:40 a.m. and saw an angel. He was wearing a white robe and it was blowing in the breeze.
Do they still wear robes in Saudi Arabia? (he nodded) I knew I should get up but I waited until almost 6.
Then I finally got up and went to do laps around the coffee table while talking to God.”
Ali was very interested in the specific time for prayer.
“Muslims pray every morning from 5-6 a.m.”
“How many times a day?” I asked.
“Five times a day. I think that Muslims have more relationship with God. I think they have more commitment than Christians because of this.
How many times do you pray?”
“Sometimes more than five, sometimes less. But I try to follow the Scripture that tells us to ‘Pray without ceasing.'”
“I don’t think it’s fair that people who work for God their whole life can go to heaven and that people who do nothing for God also go to heaven.”
“You’re right, that’s not fair. It’s not fair because even the best person who works the hardest for God cannot earn the right to go to heaven.
Christians are only acceptable to God because we are credited the righteousness of Jesus, the only One who completely obeyed God and lived a perfect life!”
“So what about Jesus, is He the Son of God?”
“I don’t think it’s an accident that when I read the Bible this morning, I read a verse that quoted Moses predicting that Jesus would come? Do you believe Moses?”
“Yes, we believe all the prophets!”
“If Jesus was sent from God, then he wasn’t the Son of God.”
“I don’t understand.”
“How was Jesus sent from God?”
I cautiously attempted to explain the virgin birth, then said, “Let’s see what the Bible says:
Luke 1:34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
“So the Holy Spirit had sex with Mary?”
“No it was a miracle of God that his seed fertilized Mary’s egg, without sexual relations.”
“Do you know what the Quran says about how Jesus came?”
So we Googled “What do Muslims say about the birth of Christ?” and found this:
(Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.”
She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?”
He said, “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Quran, 3:45-47)
“I don’t disagree with that. I think it’s compatible with Luke 1. God spoke and it happened. One of the ways Jesus is referred to in the Gospel of John is ‘The Word made flesh.’
Do you know what Messiah means?”
“In Greek it is translated Christ. It means the ‘anointed One,’ the One who is set apart for a special purpose, who fulfills prophecy about the Saviour who is to come.”
“That’s not what it means in Islam. We don’t believe that. But I do believe in Jesus. I am a Muslim and a Christian!”
So that’s what happened to my Sunday School prep time. But I’m glad I spent time with my Muslim friend Ali. I think I may share this story with my SS class.
Maybe we’ll take a look at the Scriptures that tell us who Jesus is and compare with what the Quran says.
Will you pray with me for Ali and all the Islamic students on campus? This is a very important group to be in dialogue with.
Thanks for your support and prayers. God Bless you as you follow Jesus the Messiah.