“..For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Hebrews 10:1b-4
“I need to give my dog away.” Those were the words of Mona, a Muslim coworker. “The Imam said that it is an unclean animal and that it would defile my prayers.” she continued sadly. This comment led us to a conversation about ceremonial cleanliness and sin. “What are the criteria by which God forgives sin?” I asked. She had no clue. “God forgives to whom He pleases and sends to hell whom He pleases. You can never be sure where you will end eternally. Even after you have done everything the Quran tells you to do, you are never sure.” She answered. I blurted out, “I would not like to follow such a God.” This led to many questions that led me to share the story of redemption and the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.
This week, 1.9 Billion Muslims all over the world are celebrating Eid Al Adha or the feast of the sacrifice. What is 25% of the world population (of 7.59 Billion) celebrating? Al Adha is “The day that commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son after receiving a command from God.”
So far, so good.
But mark what they believe: “Abraham had a dream about sacrificing his son Ishmael, and knew that it was a command from God.”
Did you catch this?
1.9 billion people believe that the son that God spoke about to Abraham was Ishmael, NOT Isaac. God stopped him just as he was about to kill Ismael. In Ishmael’s place, a ram was sent from heaven to be offered as a sacrifice.
Every year, millions of Muslims sacrifice millions of animals to atone for their sins. The only problem is that they got the wrong son.
We know that it was Isaac who was redeemed by a ram, NOT Ishmael. And on this one mistake was built a whole religion that lasted for generations.
Mona came to my office after Eid Al Adha. I asked her if they had slaughtered an animal, and she said, “Yes.” She looked at me as if she had an aha moment. “I know what you are talking about. (I had not uttered a word:) You are talking about the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. that’s why you Christians do not slaughter animals anymore.”
YESSSSSS. I thought. Mona got it.
True that 1.9 billion are celebrating Eid Al Adha, but never give up on them. Jesus has not.
May we all continue interceding, praying, and looking for opportunities to speak about the sacrifice of all ages whose Blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. His Blood is still sufficient for the 1.9 billion Muslims all over the world.
My prayer for you today is that you keep your eyes open. My prayer is that your ears will heed the soft voice of the Holy Spirit when someone asks you about the reason for your hope. May you have your antennas up so that even if someone speaks to you about her dog, you can divert the conversation to the Savior who died for the salvation of the world.
By Dr. Laila Risgallah Wahba