[Nederlandse versie]

Paul´s letter to the Galatians, chapter 4, verses 28 – 31.

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

The Islam turns the Bible on its head. Isaac is not the child of promises, Ishmael is. With Ishmael, Father Ibrahim rebuilt the Ka’aba in Mecca. He must have been the victim, that Abraham would sacrifice. Jesus is called “the highest Prophet”. Different from any other prophet, because he is the content of his own God words. He is more than a prophet like Jonah (Matt. 12:41). For Muslims, Jesus is at most the prophet who announced Muhammad.

Ishmael’s bullying (Gen. 21:9) persisted throughout Judaism, which did not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, and therefore also did not accept non-Jews as brothers and sisters. They also had a go at Paul! Just as unsurprising is it when Muslims oppress Christians. Just like with Ishmael, jealousy plays a part. A society that is built upon the shari’a feels threatened by free Christians. It hard to have sympathy for those who ‘avert’ from Muhammad who, in the eyes of Muslims, take a step back.

The religious freedom Christians have in the West is abnormal. “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also,” said Jesus (John 15:20). We pray for the persecuted church. But the persecutors are no less in need of prayer (Matt. 5:44). We also need to pray for ourselves, that the Father in heaven will not spoil his Western children too much. Do Christians need to send Muslims off? (2 John 1:10) Only when they deprive you off your spiritual freedom. Not as long as freedom dawns for those who are still bound.

The apostles counted it worthy to suffer disgrace of God’s name (Acts :41). Can you imagine?
To sing: Behold the Lamb (communion hymn), verses 1 & 4

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King