Can Muslims be okay with Jesus being called "Son of God"?
Peter, a disciple-maker in West Africa, started a Discovery Bible Study with Arabic teachers by going on regular jogs by an Islamic school. You can catch up on that story here. Below is a story of how Peter's DBS gave space for the Scripture in helping Muslims discover Jesus!
Reading with Muslims that Jesus is the "Son of God"
A few weeks ago, I met with the two Arabic teachers I met in a previous story for a Discovery Group. We read about John the Baptist's testament of Chris being the Lamb of God. I hoped my Muslim friends would connect that truth with all the Old Testament passages we've already covered. I noticed that Jesus is referred to as the "Son of God" multiple times in the story. in this Bible story. Muslims often have a bone to pick with the Bible and Christians referring to Jesus as God's Son. Needless to say, I was nervous. Nonetheless, we met together and I began to read the passage out loud first. It felt like every time I read "Son of God," it slapped me in the face. "Oh man," I worried, "I'm sitting here with these two Arabic teachers, reading this. They can't be happy at all."
Arabic Teachers Read Scripture Out Loud
For our second read-through, I asked one of the teachers to read. He read through the whole passage without stopping. He was accustomed to reading Scripture at this point. I looked over at the other teacher—his gaze was downward. "It's your turn to read, would you like to read?" "No. I don't want to read." Oh no, I thought. Here's where my DBS becomes a train-wreck. I gathered myself and said, "Well, we should still read it again!" I began the third rereading and felt tension every time we read "Son of God." Once I finished, I looked up at the teacher and he started reading, too! He read through the entire passage, "Son of God" and all! I suppose he was just hesitant because he sometimes struggled with reading their local written language. Furthermore, both of them connected Jesus being the "Lamb of God" with the Abraham and Isaac story, the Passover story, and Isaiah 53.
"I Will" Statements and Sharing the Story
After discussing the reading, I led into the obedience question, "If this is true, what should we do about it this week?" "Since John bore witness that Jesus was the Lamb of God," one of them replied, "we should do the same. We will share the story with two people each this week instead of one." They mentioned specific names of people they would share with. Amazing! Once we finished up, knowing most Muslims can't usually meet during Ramadan, I told them we could meet after Ramadan. "No! We'll meet next week anyway!" they retorted. They clearly value our Bible studies if they were willing to meet during a time of fasting and abnormal schedules!
One big lesson to learn from Peter's story is that we should trust Scripture's authority to establish Jesus' divinity rather than our authority. If Peter had started his relationship with the Arabic teachers arguing that Jesus is God's Son, it was unlikely that they would be drawn to read God's Word. However, when Peter's Muslim friends read the truth straight from Scripture, they didn't even question it! In addition, whether ministering to Muslims or not, it is always beneficial to start with the Old Testament. Peter's Muslim friends were able to connect the John the Baptist story with the Old Testament accounts of Jesus being Savior, giving more credence to the truth that Jesus is God's Son.
Podcast: Why is obedience so crucial in disciple-making?
Peter made sure his Muslim friends were obeying Scripture. In so doing, they experienced the life of God. Learn how to encourage obedience in this episode, where David Watson explains why it's so important to follow Christ's commission to "teach them to obey all that I have commanded."