What If Jesus Really DID Die On The Cross?

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(this is a repost of a previous blog post I did – my heart and message remain the same)

Dear Muslim friends,

Today my heart is heavy.
I’ve had tears in my eyes.

What has caused this? Why am I so emotional and feeling this pain today?

It is because of you, my dear Muslim friends, whom I love.

It is because I long with all of my heart for you to see Jesus – to see him for all that he really is.

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I know you love him. All of my Muslim friends through the years have told me that. . .and I believe it. But I want to ask you with all respect, “How can you love Jesus fully if you don’t know fully all the truth about who he is and why he came?” The Qur’an has many excellent things to say about him. That is good, but there is more to learn. So much more. And it is such good news!

Yes, my Muslim friends, I know you love Jesus. Thank God! Wonderful! But I want to tell you again how much Jesus loves you – because, in reality, that is far more important than how much you love him.

I beg you with all my heart to please listen.

Jesus loves you so much that he was willing to give up everything – even his own life – to see you become right with God.

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He gave up all his glory in paradise to come to earth to make sure that your every sin could be forgiven – to wipe away all your shame. He came to take away your fear of the Day of Judgment and hellfire and rescue you from the power of Satan. He came to take away the gnawing, painful doubt of wondering if you have done enough – if you are good enough – to make it to Paradise.

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I remember saying to a Muslim friend one time, “How would you like to know that every sin you have ever done could be forgiven? How would you like to know that you could go to bed tonight and know that if you did not wake up tomorrow, you would be in Paradise? Would you like to pray with me to ask Jesus into your heart, to truly repent of your sins, and to give your life to Jesus and follow him?” I will never forget his answer. He said, “Who could pass up an offer like that?”

I will end with this.

Two weeks ago I went to see a dear Muslim friend. He is one of the kindest, gentlest, most humble people I have ever met. The problem is, I know that as good as he is, his own goodness cannot get him to Paradise. God says it’s not enough. Sin is so terrible that it must be punished. And God is so holy that He cannot allow sin into Paradise without the appropriate sacrifice to remove the stain and shame of that sin. Like so many of you, my Muslim friend is truly a good person (by human standards). But like all of you – and like me – he still sins and for that reason, he needs a Savior. He needs true forgiveness based on the sacrifice of Jesus.

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So before we parted ways, I asked him this question:

“What if Jesus really DID die on the cross?”

And that, my friends, is the question I want to ask you as well.

What if God loves you that much?

Please think about it carefully because your eternal destiny depends upon your answer.

Did Isa – Jesus – Die On The Cross. . .Or Was It Someone Else?

Dear Muslim friends: as you read the title of this movie clip below, I am very aware that you don’t believe that Jesus was/is the Son of God. I want to assure you that the Bible teaches that this is a spiritual relationship between God and Jesus, NOT a physical one)

DID ISA – JESUS – DIE ON THE CROSS. . .OR WAS IT SOMEONE ELSE?

Very recently followers of Jesus all around the world remembered an essential historical event.  The holiday is called, “Good Friday.” It is our remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.

I know that you – as Muslims – believe that Jesus did not die on the cross but that God took him up to Paradise and put his facial image on someone else – maybe Pilate, maybe Judas, maybe someone else.

But I wonder, would Pilate or Judas or anyone else say these words with nails in their hands and feet as they were being crucified:

“Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

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Would Pilate or Judas or anyone else say these words as their bones were being put out of joint (part of the effects of crucifixion)?

Would Pilate or Judas or anyone else say these words as they were being mocked and ridiculed by Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders and people who were watching (yes, this happened to Jesus)?

Would Pilate or Judas or anyone else say these words as they were suffocating (the ultimate way a victim dies in crucifixion)?

My Muslim friends, I believe with all my heart that Jesus died that first Good Friday on the cross.

Not Pilate.

Not Judas.

Not anyone else.

Because no one else can love like that.

No else can love like Jesus.

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Why Would God Allow His Prophet To Die On A Cross? It Doesn’t Make Sense!

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(this is a repost of a previous blog post)

Dear Muslim friends,

A friend and I had another excellent conversation about the Qur’an and the Bible last week with one of our wonderful Muslim friends. The great thing about our conversations is that we can be honest with each other about what we believe but also remain good friends. When we part ways, we shake hands, hug each other, and still really care about each other. This two hour conversation was no different.

Last week during our conversation, our Muslim friend said something that he says often, “God would never send one of his prophets and allow them to be killed!” He added with great emotion in his voice, “It doesn’t make sense!” He said that if he – as a man – sent someone to another country as his representative, he would always protect them and not let anything happen to them. How much more, by this reasoning, would God protect Jesus as His messenger.

“It doesn’t make sense!”

Those words keep ringing in my ears.

And you know what? He is right. It doesn’t make sense. . .at all.

– How could God love us so much that He would send Jesus – His one and only – to die for our sins?
– How could Jesus love us so much that He would give himself up for us in such a terrible, shameful, painful death?

It doesn’t make sense.

Or maybe. . .it doesn’t make human sense. Common sense.

Maybe it makes sense in a different way. Maybe it makes sense. . .to God.

Listen to what God says through his prophet, Isaiah:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

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I think we need to careful when we talk about God and His actions that don’t seem to make sense to our finite minds.

God is King. Malek. He cannot be limited.

God can do anything. . .anything He wants.

And if He wants to do something so wonderful, so amazing, so loving, and yes, something that doesn’t makes sense to us – like sending His prophet Jesus to die for us – who are we to say, “It doesn’t make sense!”

It makes sense. . .it makes a lot of sense. . .to God.

The Terrible Sufferings Of Jesus – For You, For Me, For All Of Us

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Dear Muslim and Christian friends,

Recently – around the world – countless millions of Christians remembered something called “Good Friday.” Good Friday is the day that Christians believe Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world. It was, the Bible teaches, a day of terrible suffering and tremendous love by Jesus the Messiah – for you, for me, for all of us.

The day was so bad for Jesus because of what He suffered, but so “good” for us – precisely because of what He suffered…

To my Muslim readers, I know full well that Islam teaches that Isa al Masih did not die – that another (possibly Judas or Pilate or someone else) – took his place; that God took Jesus up to heaven and put his facial image on someone who actually did die on a cross. But for now, can we agree to disagree about that?

In this blog post, as I do every year at this time, I just have to say something. Many things. To Jesus.


I have to thank him. Publicly. Effusively (expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner).

So my Muslim friends, even if you don’t agree with my position about the death of Isa – Jesus – on that day 2,000 years ago, would you bear with me? Would you allow me to express my love for him here?

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A PUBLIC THANK YOU TO MY SAVIOR – JESUS: YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO. . .BUT YOU DID

* You didn’t have to leave your place with God in heaven and all the glory you had there. . .but you did. (John 1:1-4; John 1:14)

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* You didn’t have to come to planet earth – a place filled with sin and shame and hatred and foul darkness. . .but you did. (John 1:9-10)

* You didn’t have to choose to be born in a place for animals – a dirty, smelly stable instead of the king’s palace you deserved. . .but you did. (Luke 2:1-7)

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* You didn’t have to take the body of a human with all the weaknesses that we experience. . .but you did. (Philippians 2:5-7)

* You didn’t have to be born in little Bethlehem and live in obscurity in Nazareth instead of the fame you could have enjoyed living in Jerusalem. . .but you did. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6; John 1:46)

* You didn’t have to refuse to be king. . .but you did. (John 6:15)

* You didn’t have to serve people instead of being served. . .but you did. (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:5-7)

* You didn’t have to spend time with people everyone else shunned and hated (tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers) – eating with them, loving them, teaching them, healing them. . .but you did. (Mark 2:13-17)

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* You didn’t have to ride into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday on a humble donkey instead of a white horse. . .but you did. (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1-11)

* You didn’t have to let your friends betray you (Judas for 30 pieces of silver) and deny you (Peter three times). . .but you did. (Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16; Matthew 27:3-10; Luke 22:54-62)

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* You didn’t have to sweat blood (a rare medical condition during extreme stress known as hematidrosis) as you faced carrying our sins. . .but you did. (Luke 22:44).

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* You didn’t have to let them tie your hands and arrest you (since you were only bound by your love for God and for us). . .but you did. (Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1)

* You didn’t have to go through a night of cruel, illegal, and unjust trials (3 Jewish trials, 3 Roman trials) on that Good Friday morning. . .but you did. (Matthew 26:57-27:26; Mark 14:53-15:20; Luke 22:54-23:25: John 18:12-19:13)

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* You didn’t have to let them blindfold you and spit on you and strike you and mock you and pull out part of your beard. . .but you did. (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67-68; Mark 14:65 and 15:19; Luke 22:63-65)

* You didn’t have to answer the high priest’s question – “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” but you did. (Mark 14:55-64).

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* You didn’t have to announce to the world on that night exactly who you were (you were not lying, you were not confused, and you were not blaspheming). . .but you did. (Matthew 26:62-66)

* You did not have to remain silent before false accusations of the Jewish leaders in the presence of the Roman governor Pilate. . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14; Mark 15:3-4)

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* You didn’t have to let the Roman soldiers scourge you (with a whip of leather straps with bits of bone and iron and glass designed to rip the flesh open, exposing muscles and bone from the shoulders down to the thighs). . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:5; John 19:1-2; 1 Peter 2:24)

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* You didn’t have to let the soldiers mock you by placing a crown of thorns on your head and a purple robe on your torn back. . .but you did. (Matthew 27:27-29; Mark 15:16-20)

* You didn’t have to let the soldiers beat your face so much that it was severely disfigured. . .but you did. (Isaiah 52:13-14)

* You didn’t have to carry the heavy crossbar of your cross (that we deserved to carry) on your shredded, bloody back. . .but you did. (John 19:17)

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* You didn’t have to allow Roman soldiers to pound iron nails into your wrists and feet. . .but you did. (Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10; John 20:25)

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* You didn’t have to refuse the sedative/anesthetic on the cross because you wanted to face death fully aware. . .but you did. (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23)

* You didn’t have to suffer the other horrible pains of crucifixion for 6 hours (dislocated shoulders, elbows, and wrists; exhaustion; infection; fever; severe dehydration; blood loss; hyperventilation; collapsing lungs; cardiorespiratory failure; and finally slow suffocation and cardiac rupture – a “broken heart”). . .but you did. (Psalm 22:14, 15, 17; John 19:34)

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* You didn’t have to pray for forgiveness for those who did all these cruel, horrible things to you. . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)

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* You didn’t have to endure the vicious verbal attacks – mocking, insults, sarcasm – from people and religious leaders who watched you die. . .but you did. (Psalm 22:7-8; Matthew 27:39-43; Mark 15:29-31; Luke 23:35, 37; John 19:24)

* You didn’t have to endure the worst pain of all – abandonment, desertion by God – while you carried our sins. . .but you did. (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)

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* You didn’t have to go through so many terrible sufferings and finally die in my place, for my sins and shame – for the unspeakable sins and shame of all of humanity. . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:5-6, 8, 10-11)

* You didn’t have to love me – love all of us – with this kind of tremendous love. . .but you did.

Jesus. Thank you. For all eternity, thank you.

Good Friday.


You didn’t have to. . .but you did.

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Dear Muslim Friends Around The World: Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Kareem!

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Dear Muslim friends around the world, Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Kareem!

I pray that you will be truly blessed by God during this Ramadan. I pray that you will enjoy wonderful times with your family. I pray that you will have good health. But most of all, I pray that you will see Jesus in a dream or a vision in such a way that you will never be the same again.

God bless you.

I love you.

John 3:16

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Dear Muslim Friends: Why Did Jesus Weep On This Day?

Dear Muslim friends, all over the globe today, Christian people are celebrating “Palm Sunday” – the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem (Al Quds) as a king.

Luke’s Gospel in the Injeel (Luke 19:41) says that Jesus was terribly grieved that day:

“And when he drew near and saw the city (Jerusalem), he wept over it.”

What a contrast on that first Palm Sunday: the people cheered and shouted Hosanna. People who shouted it were saying in effect, “Glory to God! At last, salvation from our enemies has come to us. After a long wait, it’s finally here.” 

But as the people cheered and shouted about the Messiah that they thought was coming to free them from their Roman oppressors, Jesus wept.

Why?

First of all, it is important to see a little of the depth of Jesus’ sadness. The word Luke used for “weep” (klaio in Greek) in Luke 19:41 means:

to sob, weep aloud, express uncontainable, audible grief; not merely that tears flow down the face, but suggestive rather of a heaving of the chest—the sob and the cry of a soul in agony.

As many commentators rightly observe, Jesus saw what others could not see: the tragic siege and destruction of Jerusalem forty years in the future by the Roman armies under Titus. But we think there is so much more here! We believe that Jesus was not just seeing the temporary (though horrible) suffering that would happen in 70 AD. We believe He was seeing eternal suffering.

My dear Muslim readers, sometimes I am so sad – even weeping with Jesus—who has the perfect heart of God—for you.

Why?

Because so many of you have not yet believed in the unbelievable love that Jesus has for you. So much love that He would allow Himself to be sacrificed.

For you.

For your sin and shame.

Oh how I pray that you will pick up an Injil and read of the actions and words of Jesus so that you will repent, believe, and follow Jesus as your Savior.

Maybe then you too will weep.

With the pure joy of one so completely loved. . .and so completely forgiven.

Dear Muslim Friends: What Did Jesus Say About Being Happy?

In His great teaching called, “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus told us a lot about what He thinks “happiness” is.

Jesus said people are blessed when they think and act in certain ways – ways not commonly associated with happiness!

But first, what word is used in the original language (Greek) of this text for “blessed”? And what does it mean?

The New Testament was written in the language of the Roman world at that time – Greek. The Greek word used in these sayings of Jesus is makarios.

In Greek usage, makarios came to refer to the elite. . .the wealthy people. It referred to people whose riches and power put them above the normal cares and problems and worries of the lesser folk — the peons, who constantly struggle and worry and labor in life. To be blessed, you had to be very rich and powerful.” (Brian P. Stoffregen, http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/allsaintb.htm)

Matthew (reflecting Jesus’ thoughts) uses this word in a totally different way. It is not the elite who are blessed. It is not the rich and powerful who are blessed. It is not the high and mighty who are blessed. It is not the people living in huge mansions or expensive penthouses who are blessed. Rather, Jesus pronounces God’s blessings on the lowly: the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the meek, the mourning. Throughout the history of this word, it had always been the other people who were considered blessed: the rich, the filled up, the powerful. Jesus turns it all upside-down. The elite in God’s kingdom, the blessed ones in God’s kingdom, are those who are at the bottom of the heap of humanity.” (Brian P. Stoffregen, http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/allsaintb.htm)

Blessed” in Jesus’ definition means “how happy are the. . .”

These pronouncements of happiness from Jesus are called the “Beatitudes.” Some refer to them as the “Be Happy Attitudes!”

True Happiness in the Words of Jesus

Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
    the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Happy are those who mourn;
    God will comfort them!
Happy are those who are humble;
    they will receive what God has promised!
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
    God will satisfy them fully!
Happy are those who are merciful to others;
    God will be merciful to them!
Happy are the pure in heart;
    they will see God!
Happy are those who work for peace;
    God will call them his children!
10 Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!11 Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.”

Dear Muslim friends, are you happy?

Jesus shows you what true happiness looks like. . .

Dear Muslim Friends: Have You Read the Beautiful Words of Jesus in the Bible? Does the Qur’an Say You Should?

Please watch for more of our blog posts where you can read some of the beautiful words of Jesus.

The Qur’an says to read the books that came before. This would include the words of Jesus in the Injil.

The Qur’an does not reject reading the Bible. Instead, it gives many positive references concerning the Bible and the importance for Muslims to read it:

“Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light” (Sura 5:44).

“And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah – a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil)” (Sura 5:46).

“It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)” (Sura 3:3).

“And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers” (Sura 10:95).

(Our next blog post will be about what Jesus said in the Holy Bible – especially the Injil – about true happiness!)

In Jerash, Jordan: 2 Muslims, 1 Christian, And “Amazing Grace”!

It was a tremendous experience to visit the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash in the country of Jordan. I really enjoyed meeting these two men in the winters of 2019 and 2020 and singing along to the great hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

We love the country of Jordan so much. We love the people of Jordan – and the food too!

We pray for Jordan, and we pray for the Muslim people there.

John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9 in the Bible tell about God‘s amazing grace for those who believe in his one and only – Jesus, Isa al Masih, the Messiah.

If you have questions about how to receive God‘s amazing grace so that you might know you will be in Paradise, please contact me – Mark – at InTheHarvest@gmail.com.

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God Says, “Let’s Settle This – Your Sins Can Be Made As White As Snow!”

There is a dirt and a filth that has attached itself to our very souls. We all know it.

We ask people everywhere in our travels, “How can people get their sins forgiven? How can we get our sin and shame washed away? How can we be made pure and clean – like the driven snow?”

We have been so blessed to travel to many states in the US and to quite a few countries in the world, particularly the Middle East.

Everywhere we go, we get into spiritual conversations with people. And everywhere we go, people have the same answers about how their sins can be removed. . .washed away. . .made totally clean. What do they say? The answers almost always fall in one of three categories.

Despair/Despondency/Hopelessness: “I can’t stop doing what is wrong.” “I have tried to keep God’s rules. I just can’t.” “I’ll never make it. I’ll never be good enough.” “I can never measure up to God’s glorious standard (perfection) to enter Heaven.”

Pride: “I’m not a bad person.” “I have done my best to be a good person.” “I have tried to keep the rules of my religion – prayer, fasting, etc.” “I am sure that my good deeds have outweighed my bad ones.” “How could God refuse me?”

Anxiety/Uncertainty: “I hope I have done enough, but I just don’t know.” “I guess I will have to wait until the end and see what happens.” “Inshallah – if God wills – I will be in Paradise after the Day of Judgment.”

The prophet, Isaiah, wrote these words that he heard from God about 700 years before Christ:

“‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'” (Isaiah 1:18)

God is saying in effect, “Let’s settle this matter about forgiveness once and for all. You can be forgiven of all your sins. Made white like the snow! You can have this forgiveness. Now. Here. You don’t have to hope you will go to Heaven/Paradise. You can know it!”

He tells us more here: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” (Romans 3:23-25)

That’s it, my friends.

Your clothes may be “colorfast” – dyed in colors that will not fade or be washed out – but your sins can be made “as white as snow.”

It’s a promise – from God Himself!

Now what will you do? Will you choose to believe?

Feb 5, 2021

#WhiteAsSnow #Isaiah1:18 #HowCanWeBeForgiven?

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