Sermons

Summary: A religion without a saviour that has suffered cannot endure insults to win those who mock. A religion that cannot bear insults must bear the impossible load of upholding the honour of one who did not give his life for others.

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“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” [1]

It is reported that a copy of the Quran is burned and news reports tell of mobs of Muslims storming embassies and killing innocent people. [2] A Muslim cleric states that a mentally handicapped child desecrates a copy of the Koran, and the child is jailed and threatened with lynching. [3] A cartoonist draws caricatures of Mohammed and his life is threatened. [4] Muslims react with fury and rage if they even imagine Mohammed is slighted or even ridiculed. [5] These violent responses are all reported in recent years, and even within the past month. Candidly, hardly a month passes without a report of Muslim violence and protests.

During this same period, a notorious artist had an exhibition (an appropriate term) of his ridicule of the Faith of Christ the Lord. [6] No Catholics rioted because he placed a crucifix in a jar of his own urine. Recently, students at Harvard planned a “satanic mass.” [7] Despite vigorous protests from various Christian groups, there were neither riots nor threats of violence against the school or the misguided students. No Christians stormed an art museum because of a painting of the Virgin created with elephant dung. [8] When cartoons show the virgin menstruating, ridicule the Son of God [9] or reduce the Faith to a comedy routine, [10] no Baptists or Presbyterians threatened to behead a single artist or comedian who deliberately attempted to provoke ridicule or desecrate the Faith. The response of various Christian groups is notable for its lack of violence or threats, despite the constant whine by some groups that Christians are hateful.

These series of responses to what both Christians and Muslims consider insults illustrates a vital difference between the two approaches to God. Adherents of Islam respond to mocking of the central figure of their religion with outrage and violence, demonstrating a significant difference between their religion and the Faith of Christ the Lord. The work of Mohammed is based on being honoured; the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This essential difference produces two distinct reactions to mockery and provocation. Christians will say that Jesus’ uniqueness and beauty is on display whenever His followers respond to such provocation with grace and gentleness.


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