Muslims are suited to be loved and when millions of them around the world are fasting during this month of Ramadan, Christians should pray for some specific concerns, preacher and author John Piper said.
Those who reject the Jesus of the Gospels are found in churches, synagogues and mosques, but during this Ramadan month we need to pray for the Muslims who sincerely want to worship God but do not realize who Jesus is, said the pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., on his blog on the Desiring God website.
Jesus said that he would die, that he would die for the ransom of the sinners, that he would rise from the dead, that he is the Messiah, and that he is God, but “traditional Muslims deny all of these truths,” said Piper, who did his doctoral work in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich, Germany.
The author of many books, including the award winning Spectacular Sins, then showed how Jesus views those who deny Him. Jesus said seven things about them. They do not “know” the true God, they do not “honor” Him, they do not “love” Him, He is not their “Father,” they do not “have” Him, they have not “heard” or “learned” from Him, and they “reject” Him, Piper said, giving a Bible verse for each point.
“Neither Muslims nor anyone else truly worships the true God if they reject Jesus as he really is in the Gospels,” said Piper. How do we respond to this? By loving them.
“Muslims in particular (along with Jewish people and others who reject Jesus as he offers himself in the Gospels) are especially suited to be loved by Christians,” he said. “Jesus came into the world to awaken and save those who rejected him – like we once did,” he added, quoting Mark 2:17, “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
It is “tragic,” the 65-year-old preacher said, that they are not connecting with the true God. “And it is more tragic when they think they are.” This is true also of some professing Christians who reject the Jesus of the Gospels, he clarified.
So pray that all such people would realize this, Piper urged. “Pray that millions would sense profoundly the need for a Mediator, a Redeemer, a Messiah who ‘was wounded for our transgressions,’” he said, quoting Isaiah 53:5, which states, “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”
Ramadan, which began on Aug. 1 and will go on until Aug. 29, is an auspicious month for Muslims who believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the prophet, Muhammad, during this period according to the Islamic calendar. They fast during daylight hours throughout the month refraining from eating, drinking and sexual intimacy with their partners and devoting more time to worship.
Christians should open their mouth and offer Christ crucified and risen whenever an opportunity arises, Piper said. “The prayers of millions of Christians may have made a way of faith that you never dreamed.”