by a Salaam worker
"I have two questions. First, why did God give Jesus to die for the world? I can't understand why He would do this! Second, I have read a book where it says that the Bible has a prophecy about our prophet Muhammad in it. Is this true?"
These were the questions Warsame (name changed) asked me while we were sitting in the small, hot, crowded airport in East Africa waiting for our plane to arrive. A lady from the East African diaspora in Canada had introduced me to him and made me show off my language skills.
After we had some tea together and enjoyed small talk in the local language, Warsame asked me if I had converted to Islam because of my way of dressing. I denied his question. "I follow Jesus and submit to God", was my answer to him, "I pray, fast, give alms, and do good deeds, but these things will never make me right before God. Only Jesus, who died and washed me clean and white, is making me right before God." Warsame confidently responded that Muslims don't believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I explained to him how we believe that Jesus is the Son of God because God came over Mary and she became pregnant.To this he agreed and said that they believe the same.
Then he questioned,"But we Muslims do not believe that Jesus actually died on the cross, but someone else died instead of Jesus." I explained to him that in the actual original Arabic Qur'an, it clearly says that Jesus died and that I have this reference from a native Arabic speaker.We were talking a little bit about what it says in the Qur'an about Jesus and his eyes were shining when we talked about Jesus, like I have never seen anybody's eyes shine before when I talked to a Muslim about Jesus.
After Warsame patiently listened with bright eyes to what I shared about Jesus, he asked these two questions that I quoted in the beginning.Why did God give Jesus to die for this world?
Why would God do this?
I started sharing from the beginning of the Bible how sin entered the world and how blood always symbolized the washing away of sins, but no perfect atonement could ever be found in animals.There was only one way, God, the perfect One, had to give Himself, because of His amazing love towards the people He has made.
I shared that whoever accepts Jesus, this gift of God for our sins, will go to heaven, because Jesus said He is the way to heaven, but prophet Muhammad himself said that he does not know where he or his followers are going.
Warsame's eyes and face were glowing like I have never seen it before when sharing the gospel. He asked a few more questions about Jesus when his phone rang, the plane arrived and we had to board. Silently, I still prayed for him and I believe that he is close to the kingdom or in the kingdom of God. I saw the Spirit of God moving in his heart.
There are still millions of people in East Africa who have never heard why God gave Jesus to die for this world? What would make a great and awesome God to do such a thing? Muslims can't grasp this concept because they don't primarily see God as a God of love. I have seen many people in East Africa who have been living in the traditions of Islam for generations, but don't know anything about Jesus except that He was one of their prophets. Children are born and attend the Qur'an school when they are about four years old. One young man said to me,"We don't really know our religion.We just follow what comes from the Middle East." North and East Africa needs our prayers. Having worked in East Africa for 1.5 years, I know that nothing can convince their hearts except the Holy Spirit which comes through prayer and sowing the seed.
This Salaam worker is serving in the horn of Africa.