Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Your sins / within / you will die (John 8)

I am honored to number Turkish people among my friends. They are heirs of a long and fascinating culture. Those who interact with people from this country notice a winsome courtliness and generosity. Then, we bump into the question of who Jesus is. From the Muslim perspective, İsa is one of a series of prophets, a man to honor as the virgin-born bearer of God's Word to the people of his day. Christians agree with much of that. Then, however, we go on to suggest that Jesus is more than a prophet. Let's hear what İsa has to say about Himself:
Joh 8:19 O zaman O'na, "Baban nerede?" diye sordular. İsa şu karşılığı verdi: "Siz ne beni tanırsınız, ne de Babam'ı. Beni tanısaydınız, Babam'ı da tanırdınız."
Joh 8:20 İsa bu sözleri tapınakta öğretirken, bağış toplanan yerde söyledi. Kimse O'nu yakalamadı. Çünkü saati henüz gelmemişti.
Joh 8:21 İsa yine onlara, "Ben gidiyorum. Beni arayacaksınız ve günahınızın içinde öleceksiniz. Benim gideceğim yere siz gelemezsiniz" dedi.
Joh 8:22 Yahudi yetkililer, "Yoksa kendini mi öldürecek?" dediler. "Çünkü, 'Benim gideceğim yere siz gelemezsiniz' diyor."
Joh 8:23 İsa onlara, "Siz aşağıdansınız, ben yukarıdanım" dedi. "Siz bu dünyadansınız, ben bu dünyadan değilim.
Joh 8:24 İşte bu nedenle size, 'Günahlarınızın içinde öleceksiniz' dedim. Benim O olduğuma iman etmezseniz, günahlarınızın içinde öleceksiniz."
Joh 8:25 O'na, "Sen kimsin?" diye sordular. İsa, "Başlangıçtan beri size ne söyledimse, O'yum" dedi.
And, a few words:
  • Baban nerede -- Where is the Father?
  • Beni tanısaydınız, Babam'ı da tanırdınız. -- me / if you recognize / my Father / also / you know
  • Ben gidiyorum. -- I / am going.
  • Beni arayacaksınız ve günahınızın içinde öleceksiniz -- Me / you will seek / and / your sins / within / you will die.
  • Siz aşağıdansınız, ben yukarıdanım -- You / from below are, / I / from above am.
  • Siz bu dünyadansınız, -- You / this / world are from
  • ben bu dünyadan değilim. -- I / this / world from / am not.
To understand the God who Christians call "Abba, Father," you need to understand the life, character, and teachings of Jesus. Get to know Jesus, and you get a pretty good handle on what God is like.

When we call Jesus "the Son of God," we do not suggest that the Christian deity had indecent relations with Mary. It's a powerful metaphor, even as the arabic term "son of a table" describes a merchant by his place of business. Somehow, in a way we'll never fully understand, God projected Himself, His character, His personality, into the realm of creation.

This is important. Eternally important. My Muslim friends and I agree on one thing -- we would each like to see the other in the next life. I yearn, by posting this blog, to help make that happen.

3 comments:

Jonas said...

I just don't agree to the expression "indecent relation". Can't it be called "natural reproduction relation"? Why would a natural thing be indecent?

regards

Jonas said...

I just don't agree to the expression "indecent relation". Can't it be called "natural reproduction relation"? Why would a natural thing be indecent?

regards

Al ve oku said...

Jonas, I appreciate your comment. Sometimes, I choose words that have more impact in order to make a point. There are people who think that the Almighty, the Creator, had natural relations with Mary. This is a shocking idea to Christians and Muslims alike, and I want to make it clear to my Muslim friends that Christians do not believe any such thing!

The "natural reproduction relation" faithful husbands and wives enjoy is one of the great delights of (human) life, something to be celebrated, something that is decent, comely, seemly, and just plain wonderful!