So, you think you know Jesus? At one time, I thought I knew Jesus, I believed he was the Son of God and even preached this truth, but I did not have a relationship with him. I abandoned Christianity and accepted Islam. In the Islamic faith, I believed in a different Jesus, a prophetic Jesus who is divorced from the divine. By the Grace of God, after twelve years in Islam I came back to the Christian faith and accepted Jesus into my heart in 2013. We live in a society whose foundation was built upon Judeo/Christian values, so the name of Jesus is common. The name of Jesus is known throughout the world, and even in different world religions apart from Christianity.
For instance, since 9-11, Islam has become a hot topic in the world, especially in America. There has been an explosive growth of outreach with many Christians engaging in dialogue with Muslims. Many churches have failed to confront the Muslim worldview. Muslims believe in Jesus, and in Arabic Jesus is “Isa.” In the Quran, He is “Isa ibn Maryam,” (Jesus son of Mary), or “Al-Masih,” (the Messiah), although the Islamic concept of Messiah and Judeo/Christian differ radically. Muslims believe in Jesus’ prophethood, in his virgin birth, but many denominations have chosen to concentrate on the commonalities between both faiths instead of sin and redemption. During these discussions, Jesus deity, death, burial, and resurrection are often avoided for the sake of ecumenical unity. This isn’t a problem for Muslims because the Quran denies Jesus is the Son of God and the crucifixion account. The Quran says it only appeared Jesus was crucified.
Then, there is the New Age Movement which promotes a radically different Jesus, one who is enlightened. They compare Jesus to Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius, and other world religion founders. One can become enlightened like Jesus in the New Age Movement. This Jesus is distant from the Biblical and historical Jesus. I find many people who seem to have their own version of Jesus. Some believe He was just a great rabbi, others believe He was the Son of God but not deity. There are those who believe that Jesus was created by the Father and not equal to Him, while others believe Jesus was a prophet whose teachings were distorted, one whose miracles elevated Him to being God. There are even those who believe that Jesus never existed.
It appears that out of all the religious figures in the world, Jesus is the only one who has brought so much controversy. Different philosophers, religions, and people want to accept him, but on their own terms. They want to put Jesus into their own box.
During Jesus’ ministry, when the Jewish leaders and people were questioning His identity, He asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God “(Matthew 16: 15-16, ESV). We must understand, there are many different Jesus’ amongst people and religions, but there is only “one” Jesus who is the Christ, or Messiah (God’s Anointed One), the Son of the Living God. One cannot even call Jesus “Lord” unless guided by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).
When I encountered the Living Christ, I felt the awe-powerful and inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit. It started with me doubting much of the theology of Islam and Islam’s understanding of Jesus. I experienced a spiritual battle in my soul, where I was plagued with doubts and fears as I tried to leave Islam. Finally, Jesus appeared to me in dreams and visions showing me who He truly is, as He has been showing many Muslims throughout the world today. With these dreams I would wake up feeling complete peace, but I would continue to practice Islam, believing my dreams about Christ were attacks from Satan. Eventually, I could no longer resist Jesus, and I walked out in faith.
It was in 2013 when I dropped to my knees and gave my life to Jesus. I felt a love and peace that surpasses all understanding. The feeling of forgiveness entered my soul, and God’s love exploded in my heart as I felt true forgiveness. I felt love. I felt joy. I felt peace. I felt God. I entered into a relationship with the Lord, and I have not been the same ever since. Jesus is much more than prophet, king, priest, wise teacher, or apostle. He is the second member of the Holy Trinity, the Word, Truth, and Life (John 14:6). Jesus is the direct manifestation of God, who entered my soul while penetrating my heart. He has forgiven me of my sins, for He took my place on the Cross. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, I have become an adopted son of God, in which I have direct access to Him daily.
Many people think they know who Jesus is. However, there is but only one Jesus who was foretold in the Old Testament. He is “Immanuel,” God with us. This is the Jesus who is alive in my heart.