Excerpted from :www.desiringgod.org/
Being Mocked: The Essence of Christ’s Work, Not Muhammad’s
February 8, 2006, By John Piper
What we saw this past week in the Islamic demonstrations over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad was another vivid depiction of the difference between Muhammad and Christ, and what it means to follow each. Not all Muslims approve the violence. But a deep lesson remains: The work of Muhammad is based on being honored and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery.
If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. Already in the Psalms the path of mockery was promised: “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads” (Psalm 22:7). “He was despised and rejected by men . . . as one from whom men hide their faces . . . and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
When it actually happened it was worse than expected. “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. . . . And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him” (Matthew 27:28-30). His response to all this was patient endurance. This was the work he came to do. “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
This was not true of Muhammad. And Muslims do not believe it is true of Jesus. Most Muslims have been taught that Jesus was not crucified. One Sunni Muslim writes, “Muslims believe that Allah saved the Messiah from the ignominy of crucifixion.”1 Another adds, “We honor [Jesus] more than you [Christians] do. . . . We refuse to believe that God would permit him to suffer death on the cross.”2 An essential Muslim impulse is to avoid the “ignominy” of the cross.
That’s the most basic difference between Christ and Muhammad and between a Muslim and a follower of Christ. For Christ, enduring the mockery of the cross was the essence of his mission. And for a true follower of Christ enduring suffering patiently for the glory of Christ is the essence of obedience. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11). During his life on earth Jesus was called a bastard (John 8:41), a drunkard (Matthew 11:19), a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65), a devil (Matthew 10:25); and he promised his followers the same: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10:25).
The caricature and mockery of Christ has continued to this day. Martin Scorsese portrayed Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ as wracked with doubt and beset with sexual lust. Andres Serrano was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to portray Jesus on a cross sunk in a bottle of urine. The Da Vinci Code portrays Jesus as a mere mortal who married and fathered children.
How should his followers respond? On the one hand, we are grieved and angered. On the other hand, we identify with Christ, and embrace his suffering, and rejoice in our afflictions, and say with the apostle Paul that vengeance belongs to the Lord, let us love our enemies and win them with the gospel. If Christ did his work by being insulted, we must do ours likewise.
When Muhammad was portrayed in twelve cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the uproar across the Muslim world was intense and sometimes violent. Flags were burned, embassies were torched, and at least one Christian church was stoned. The cartoonists went into hiding in fear for their lives, like Salman Rushdie before them. What does this mean?
It means that a religion with no insulted Savior will not endure insults to win the scoffers. It means that this religion is destined to bear the impossible load of upholding the honor of one who did not die and rise again to make that possible. It means that Jesus Christ is still the only hope of peace with God and peace with man. And it means that his followers must be willing to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
1 Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk, Islam and Christianity: A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue (Nairobi: Usima Press, 1980), p. 141.
2 Quoted from The Muslim World in J. Dudley Woodberry, editor, Muslims and Christians on the Emmaus Road (Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1989), p. 164.
All it means simply that some people will go crazy when you insult or mock something important to them. Anything important. Religion, sports, civil rights, etc.
jesus has nothing to do with the Cartoon Riots. If anything, it shows that religion isn't as important to christians (as a whole) as it is to muslims (again, as a whole).
Then again, this is arfcom, so if you're not christian, you're really not welcome.
Uh.... being mocked and not fighting back was a key part of the cruxifiction... that seemed to be a point made clear by the writer in the article I quoted.... both prophetically (some of the stuff quoted about the cruxifiction was written hundreds or even thousands of years before it came to pass... [Isaiah 53:3 & Psalm 22:7]) and pointed out by the Gospel (think of it was a witness account).
All faiths are welcome to this thread... I know, I started it
Feeling a bit unwelcome...
In any case, I would like to say that the general theme of non-retaliation is exactly why I am no longer Christian. The Muslim sense of pride has absolutely no bearing on why I am not Muslim, that has more to do with their general theme of intolerance towards all non-muslims. Something contained in their doctrine.
While it is easy to say that Christ was the epitome of self-sacrifice and that we should strive to be more like him, it is almost impossible to say that this is how we ought to be as well. If Jesus welcomed the suffering imposed upon him, and if we are supposed to mimic this behavior, why is that we are still a free nation? Even further, why are we a nation at all? It was suffering that we attempted to throw off long ago when building the USA, was it not? Shouldn't we have been Christ-like in this situation and simply accepted tyranic rule of England? Or in a more modern example, should we not have simply bent knee to the blood thirsty terrorists of 9-11? The answer to these questions (at least in my opinion ) is no, we most assuredly should not have. If I can say that, then I can also say that despite Jesus example, we as human beings need pride.
Excellent article Top_prop! Thank you for sharing it with us!
Interesting when the Muslim over-reaction is compared to Jesus Christ. It is encouraging to remember what Jesus Christ endured throughout his life on earth when I feel like complaining about my own situation in life. How fortunate we are.
Thank you again for allowing others to read such an insightful analysis.
Well I hope you feel welcome here, even if I do disagree with you....
There is a big difference in being a Christian and being born again.... if you are truely a Christain you are remade and will never be un made... its really impossible for a true Christian to be anyting but.
You raise some nice points, but I mostly disagree with your logic. First of all, Christ was submissive to his earthly masters only in as much as the things that were Earthly... he submitted to the cruxifiction... but he also entered into the temple and turned over the money changing tables. He answered the Saducies and Pharisees questions in a manner they didn't find respectfull (they were in a sence ruler's) etc...
As for your comparison to the revolution to British rule, it has -some- grounds. matter of fact there were a lot of colonists that were opposed the revolution (just short of 50% if I'm not mistaken) and many for the very reason you bring up.
But as for submitting to terrorists... they have no ligitimate earthly status as a "master" to anyone and we as Christians have no reason to submit to them. Christ did direct his disciples to pick up there cloaks and their swords... obviously there were to be times when being armed was required....
And while Christ says we should turn the other cheek when we are being struck, the word in greek is more akin to being slapped in the face, not struck with the intent to do permanent harm.....
But all this is just my .02 USD
I take this to mean that a "true Christian" is Christ-like without fail?
By this I think you mean that submitting to pain and torment is accepted because it does not carry with you into Heaven, while accepting the perversions and desecrations on God's house, etc. will carry with you, and so you are duty bound to negatively, even violently?
This sounds a bit speculative. Also, you didn't really agree or disagree
So the Romans were justified in their cruelty towards Jesus, simply by their status as the ruling class?
Thanks for the thoughtful responses, It is refreshing to speak to a Christian that respects other opinions enough to listen.
No... I'm born again... I've been changed from within (hope you can take my word on that point)... I'm more like Christ, but Christ is, was, and always will be the only man to walk this earth that is 'Christ-like without fail."
Christ answered this issue with "Give to the King that which is the King's"... so if the king orders you drawn and quartered beacause you won't proclaim him equal to God you are to submit... Look at how Paul, Peter, John, etc were killed... all executed at the hands of the King... they submitted to his authority...
For us its as simple as paying taxes. For me in millitary service it was as simple as following orders.... by doing so I glorified God.
If we who call ourselves Christians don't submit to this legitimate authority and are punished we glorify nothing. But if we are persecuted because of our faith, we do well and will bring Glory to God.
Peter expounded on this better than me:
1st Peter ch2 vs 13-25:
13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
18Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."[e] 23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
no i didn't really agree or disagree... I did say this argument had merit. But I don't think worrying whether our forfathers were justified in the revolution will yeild any fruit. It happend, the nation was formed. I swore my life to protect the constitution that came from it. I was just pointing out that there was a good bit of division about whether to revolt, and many felt it was their place as Christians to simply submit to British rule.....
Not exactly..... Here's what is writen in John's Gospel Ch19, vs 7-11
[to put this in context: Pilate (The Roman Govenor) had ben handed Jesus by the Jewish religious leaders, he dind't think Jesus was guilty of anything and sent him to the Jewish king hoping to avoid the whole deal, and then got him returned to him from the Jewish king. Also Pilate's wife had told him not to kill Jesus and that he was innocent (she had a dream if I recall correctly). Pilate was trying to free Jesus as he found no fault in him and was pleaing with the Jews....]
7The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."
8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
Now note, Jesus didn't say that Pilate wasn't guilty... Just "Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
Oh... and for a Christian's duty to respond violently...
the whole point of the initial post is that Christ didn't react violently to 'defend' God... and we as true christians are not called to do that either.
simply put: God is mighty enough to defend himself without my violence....
But I am commanded to speak the truth in love... to endure unjust persecution saintly... these glorify God... these reveal the truth and strength of Christianity...
Running around like a bully with anger and hate, proclaming oneself as justified and 'defending' God's honor, blowing up abortion clinics, etc.... do the exact opposite.
Do you mean that a "true Christian" has no choice but to be Christian? Or that they don't have the ability to be anything else? I can believe that you have no want or desire to be anything else, but the same can be said of any faith...
My aim for referencing 9-11 is that those sad, sorry individuals that planned and executed that attack considered us evil. Much like the Jews calling for Jesus' blood. They were equally as justified even if that means that neither were justified. And if Jesus calling was to endure that unjust pain and suffering, so to would it be a Christian's duty to endure the attack.
In the case of the American Revolution, I think it is very clear that one arguement or the other is correct. Either it is the Christian ideal of honoring the king, regardless of suffering. Or the American ideal of freedom. But as you said, it is of little consequence now. In all reality the above example is of little consequence as well considering we as a nation have already retaliated with violence most precise. A fact I am rather glad of, personally.
I do realize that I am being very black and white about this, it's a symptom of an idealistic mind
Good article. Thanks for the post.
Christ's sacrifice was stage one of the plan to redeem mankind. This was what it took for Him to buy back a fallen world. Stage two, when He comes back to make His claim, will involve a complete slaughter.
Thank you for the kind words.
As for stage two I won't perport to be an expert in end times prophecy... but there is sure to be a lot of folks falling down dead.... luckily it will be cut short....
To really be a Christian you must be born again. What has been re-born cannot be "un-born." Once Christ has entered into ones heart, he won't leave and that person is reborn. No going back. So if some one claims they are a former Christian, they never really were...
Now that doesn't hold true for any other religion as I understand them... but true Christianity isn't really a religion but a changed heart, a rebirth, a redemtion....
If one truely accepts that they are a sinner, acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and asks him into their heart, then they will be forever changed, remade into Christ's image. God will give them the same inheritance that is Christ's even though they didn't earn it.
Those who say they are former Christians must not have really been reborn.
This sounds dogmatic to the unbeliever, and truely elementary to the believer. But it is the truth none the less.
First of all terrorists are no where even close to being justified. They are not ligitimate masters of anyone. They are cowardaly murders and must be dealt with as such. There is no biblical basis to 'endure' there attacks.
The Jews were not justified nor the Romans were justified, in crucifying an innocent man.... but they were ligitimately in power and to be submitted to. There is a world of difference.
But every one who is a Christian as I state above acknowledges that at the heart of the matter it was our sins that crucified Christ. He could have easily escaped the crucifiction, but instead was the sacrificial lamb lead to the slaughter. He knew that he could be delivered, but instead chose to endure the mocking, spitting, lashes, and crucifiction to reedem all of man.
It's free... that is another glaring difference between Christianity and all other religions... to go to heaven one only needs to believe... God's grace (grace is un warrented favor) is sufficient to cover all our sins.
I think you and I differ on the definition of legitimate.
The Romans were in power simply because they said so. They conquered the region with naked force. They invaded based on the nothing more than, "We are Rome and you are not."
That is exactly why the terrorists felt justified on 9-11. Because they said so. "We are good guys, America is bad."
These are equally legitimate (or equally illegitimate in this case) claims to power. The only difference is that the Romans couldn't be beaten at the time.
Not that I don't understand what you mean, but dogmatic was not what came to mind, it actually sounds a bit arrogant
It is hard for me to disagree with you though, because when I decided to leave my church it was really on the basis that I never really believed, I just told myself I did and acted like I did in order to please those around me. People told me I had a very strong testimony, when in reality I simply had a very convincing testimony. I would consider it a stretch to fit all former Christians into my mold, though. Generalities often prove incorrect given enough test cases
Roman's were conquerors... the Jew's the conquered... thus they were the rulers, the government, the 'king' at the time.
The terrorists haven't conquered a thing... they aren't any form of government. They are not to be submitted to, but to be hunted down and killed (that latter part is my opinion )
Sound's to me like your heart was never changed and you actually are proving my point. I wouldn't worry about any other 'test cases' but be more concerned with myself.