Tag: Jesus Christ

Islamic Cleric Encounters Jesus In Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Islamic Cleric Encounters Jesus In Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Mohammed finds Jesus in Mecca!

Mecca! Mohammed shivered with excitement. To think he was really here, at the heart of Islam in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of the great Prophet whose name he bore—the dream of a lifetime!

Although Mohammed served as an imam (pastor) at his local mosque on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, he had never before made a pilgrimage to Mecca, as all devout Muslims must do at least once. This first hajj in May 1992 fulfilled Mohammed’s commitment to the fifth and last pillar of Islam. He went full of expectation that the trip would represent the spiritual climax of his life.

On his first day in Mecca, Mohammed signed up for a bus tour of some outlying holy sites. The next morning he arrived early for one of the many regularly scheduled departures, and he sat right behind the bus driver to get a good view out the front window. He was glad the coach did not fill up and seats nearby remained empty.

The bus shifted into gear and headed down the road towards the city of Medina and the shrines they would visit. In Medina, the Prophet Mohammed had established his theocratic state after fleeing a murder plot in Mecca in the year 622. With Medina, more than 200 miles north of Mecca, Mohammed the Cleric had plenty of time to strike up a conversation with the bus driver.

Above the drone of the engine they exchanged chit-chat, using English as a common language.

“Yes, this is my first hajj,” Mohammed told the dark-haired driver whose face framed deep, penetrating eyes. “I’m from Sumatra, a Malay—one of the largest Muslim people groups in Southeast Asia.”

The driver swiveled his head sideways enough to see Mohammed. “You know, you really shouldn’t have spent all your money coming here.”

Mohammed figured he had misunderstood. He leaned forward to catch the driver’s words. “Excuse me?”

Coming here on pilgrimage is really a waste of money,” the driver repeated unmistakablyp

Stunned, Mohammed  could only listen as the man went on to point out issues he had never considered. For over an hour they conversed as the bus rumbled on through the desert.

“The truth is,” said the driver, turning to look straight at his passenger, “God wants to know you personally, as a friend, not just at a distance through rituals. Islam can’t give you that kind of relationship.”

With their destination approaching, the driver slowed and downshifted to park at the site. Everyone disembarked, but Mohammed’s head spun with new, unthinkable thoughts. In a daze he followed the tour group, yet now everything seemed confused.

What did the driver mean? Where did he get such a perspective? How could I possibly run into a person like that in the Holy Land!

After the tour, Mohammed hurried back to meet the returning bus, eager to get a seat by the driver and resume their conversation. But when he boarded, he looked up to see the face of someone new. His spirits sank.

“What happened to the earlier driver?” he asked the man behind the wheel.

He got little more than a shrug in response.

 Intense pleas to Allah for forgiveness in Mecca

INTENSE PLEAS TO ALLAH FOR FORGIVENESS IN MECCA

Mohammed found a seat and stared out the window. During the trip back to Mecca, his heart burned with the words of the man on the morning bus. He felt he could recall the whole conversation from beginning to end.

Mohammed’s hajj lasted more than a week, but the excitement and anticipation he had brought with him fizzled like air from a leaky tire. Everything he saw and did etched fresh questions and doubts into his mind. As he continued his pilgrimage, he scanned all the buses lined up at each tour site, but never saw his driver again.

Back at home, Mohammed’s family wondered why he had not returned bubbling with joy from his spiritual zenith. In the solitude of his thoughts he pored over the events of his hajj. He could not forget the driver’s words or his face. Yet Mohammed’s spirit grappled with perplexities. If Islam is not the true faith, what is?

A few days later, Mohammed dropped by the home of a neighbor we will call Mr ‘A-Ching’, a Chinese Christian, to borrow something. Mr ‘A-Ching’ welcomed him inside with customary Indonesian hospitality. As they chatted, Mohammed’s eyes lit on something hanging from ‘A-Ching’s’ wall. There within a picture frame he saw the face of his bus driver from Mecca!

Mohammed gasped, pointing to the picture. “A-Ching! Do you know this man?”

Yes, I do,” came the reply. “That’s Jesus. You know Him as Isa.”

Mohammed sat still as a stone. Isa! The second-highest prophet in Islam—the Christians’ Messiah! Could it be …?

When he found his voice, he spoke up quietly. “I have a story to tell you, A-Ching.”

His neighbor, just as shocked at the tale, listened in silence. When Mohammed finished, he began to choke up, suddenly overcome with conviction of his sin. A-Ching explained the truths Jesus had declared about His own identity and purpose.

“Mohammed, you can receive salvation as the free gift of God through Jesus Christ,” A-Ching told him. “You can have a personal relationship with God.”

Mohammed prayed and committed his life to Christ. When he returned home, he gathered his family and spilled out the whole account. Awed at his story and his transformation, they, too, confessed Jesus as Lord and Messiah.

A-Ching introduced Mohammed privately to the pastor of his local fellowship. Then, for their own protection, a network of believers spirited the new convert and his family to a safe house in another city where they could receive biblical teaching without risking retribution from angry Islamists.

Mohammed’s trip to Mecca indeed proved to be the turning point of his spiritual life. But he never expected a divine encounter and supernatural revelation to come through his bus driver.

Written Evidence Proves That The Story Of Jesus Christ And Christianity Is Not Based On A Fairy Tale

Written Evidence Proves That The Story Of Jesus Christ And Christianity Is Not Based On A Fairy Tale

A wealth of written evidence exists to prove Christianity is not based on a fairy tale.

If you ask a Christian, what written evidence he/she has that Jesus is a historical figure, and he will probably point exclusively to the Holy Bible.

The letters of St. Paul, which were written 25 years after Jesus’ death, and the Gospels of the New Testament, the earliest of them written about 70 years after the events described in it occurred, are based on eyewitness testimony from those who were alive when Jesus walked the earth.

While the wealth of Christian writing pointing to Jesus’ existence is accepted by most historians, there is also a long-established record of non-Christian evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure who lived 2,000 some years ago.


The historical record that confirms the existence of Jesus includes writings from both Roman and Jewish historians, rabbinical literature, and anti-Christian commentators who lived during Christianity’s earliest days:


1. The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-100)


The first non-Christian author to mention Jesus is thought to be the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (born Yosef ben Matityahu), who wrote a history of Judaism in about the year 93, the famous Antiquities of the Jews. In his writings he mentions a number of figures from the New Testament, including Jesus, John the Baptist, and Jesus’ “brother” James.


In the Antiquities, Josephus writes:

There was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day (Antiquities 18:3:3).


This passage is somewhat controversial, however, and while scholars accept that Josephus mentioned Jesus, they suspect that a Christian scribe amended the passage to portray Jesus in a positive light.


The following passage, in which Josephus mentions Jesus and his “brother” James, firmly establishes the existence of Jesus:


Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he [Ananus] assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned (Antiquities 20:9:1).


2. Tacitus (A.D. 56-120)

Scholars point to the Roman historian Tacitus  for confirmation that the crucifixion of Jesus actually took place. Writing in his Annals, he records the death of Jesus at the hands of Pontius Pilate:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.


3. Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62-11)

The writings of a Roman governor in Asia Minor, Pliny the Younger, establish that early Christians worshiped Jesus as a god. Here he is, summing up what he learned after interrogating Christians:

They (Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to engage in any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food, but of an ordinary and innocent kind (Epistles 10.96).


4. Jewish Rabbinical literature

A number of works of classical Jewish rabbinic writing (the Babylonian Talmud in particular) contain references to Jesus.

Summarizing these allusions in his book Jesus of Nazareth, historian Joseph Klausner, writes:

There are some reliable theories regarding the fact that his name was Yeshua (Yeshu) of Nazareth; that he practiced sorcery (that is to say that he performed miracles, as was common in those days) and seduction and led Israel astray; that he mocked the words of the wise and discussed Scripture in the same way as the Pharisees; that he had five disciples; that he said he had not come to revoke the Law, nor to add anything to it; that he was hung upon a piece of wood (crucified) as a false authority and seducer on the eve of the Passover (which fell on a Saturday); and that his disciples cured diseases in his name (J.Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, p.44). 


5. Satirist Lucian, born (c. AD 125 – 180).

The pagan author Lucian of Samosata, while ridiculing Christians, accepted that Jesus actually existed:

The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. … You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains their contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property. (Lucian, The Passing of Peregrinus).


6. Philosopher Celsus (2nd century)

The 2nd-century Greek philosopher Celsus, while arguing against Christianity, also accepted that Jesus existed. Here he writes that Jesus performed his miracles through sorcery:

O light and truth! He distinctly declares, with his own voice, as ye yourselves have recorded, that there will come to you even others, employing miracles of a similar kind, who are wicked men, and sorcerers; and Satan. So that Jesus himself does not deny that these works at least are not at all divine, but are the acts of wicked men; and being compelled by the force of truth, he at the same time not only laid open the doings of others, but convicted himself of the same acts. Is it not, then, a miserable inference, to conclude from the same works that the one is God and the other sorcerers? Why ought the others, because of these acts, to be accounted wicked rather than this man, seeing they have him as their witness against himself? For he has himself acknowledged that these are not the works of a divine nature, but the inventions of certain deceivers, and of thoroughly wicked men.

The Story Behind The Bleeding Host Confirmed To Be The True Body And Blood Of Christ

The Story Behind The Bleeding Host Confirmed To Be The True Body And Blood Of Christ

Many of you must have seen this viral image of the Bleeding Host Confirmed To Be The True Body And Blood Of Christ. If you haven’t seen that picture, you can watch it here.

While some of you may be wondering where this is and the story behind it, many others are also spreading false news to its origin and purpose of being there.

A bleeding Host in Poland that “has the hallmarks of a Eucharistic miracle” has been approved for veneration.

The announcement was made by Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Legnica on Sunday, according to reports.

On Christmas Day in 2013, a consecrated Host fell to the floor, the bishop said in a statement. It was put in a container of water and red stains subsequently appeared on the Host.

After the discovery, the former Bishop of Legnica set up a commission to observe the phenomenon, the statement said.

“In February 2014, a tiny red fragment of the Host was seperated and put on a corporal. The Commission ordered to take samples in order to conduct the thorough tests by the relevant research institutes,” the statement added.

Tests were performed at the Department of Forensic Medicine in Wroclaw at the beginning of 2014. Another study was subsequently performed by the Department of Forensic Medicine of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, which concluded that “in the histopathological image, the fragments (of the Host) were found containing the fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle. Tests also determined the tissue to be of human origin, and found that it bore signs of distress.”

Bishop Kiernikowski said the Host bore signs of “a Eucharistic miracle” and explained that in January of this year he took the matter to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In April, according to a recommendation made by the Holy See, he asked parish priest Andrzej Ziombrze “to prepare a suitable place” for the Host so that the faithful could venerate it.

“I hope that this will serve to deepen the cult of the Eucharist and will have deep impact on the lives of people facing the Host,” the bishop added.

The Centrality Of Christ (2)

The Centrality Of Christ (2)

…continued

We must also mention the influence that Christ has on angels and demons. Concerning angels, some theologians believe that the angels were admitted to the beatifc vision of God by virtue of the mystery of the Cross. Many fathers also make interesting statements. For instance, Saint Athanasius writes that the angels owe their salvation to the blood of Christ. The Gospels give us many statements concerning demons, and the clearly state that Christ defeated the reign of Satan with His Cross and established the reign of God. The demons who possessed the Gerasene man exclaimed, “What is there between us, Son of God? Have you come to torment us before our time?” (Mt 8:29). This is an obvious reference to the fact that the power of Satan is gradually broken by Christ. Satan’s power, therefore, still exists and will continue to exist until our salvation is completed, “because the accuser of our brethren will be cast out” (Rev. 12:10). Additional information on the role of Mary, enemy of Satan since the original announcement of salvation, can be found in the beautiful book by Father Candido Amantini, II mistero di Maria (Naples: Dehoniane, 1971).

If we see everything in the light of the centrality of Christ, we can see God’s plan, who created everything “for him and in expectation of him”. And we can see the actions of Satan, the enemy, the tempter, the accuser. By means of his temptation, evil, pain, sin and death entered the world. It is in this context that we are able to see the restoration of God’s plan, which Christ accomplished at the cost of his blood.

In this context, we are made aware of the power of the devil. Jesus calls him “the prince of this world” (Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). John affirms that “the whole world is in the power of the evil one” (1 Jn 5:19); by “the world” John means everything that is opposed to God. Satan was the brightest of angels; he became the most evil of the devils and their chief. The demons remain bound to the same strict hierarchy that was given when they were angels: principalities, thrones, dominions, and so on (Col 1:16). However, while the angels, whose chief is Michael, are bound by a hierarchy of love, the demons live under a rule of slavery.

…to be continued.

Excerpts taken from the book, An Exorcist tells his story by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Pages 19 – 23.

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