Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Dangers of Following Jesus - Piper

The Dangers of Following Jesus
By John Piper

Matthew 10:24-25

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household."

As I have prayed and meditated over the last several weeks on what I should say tonight I have come to distill it into one sentence.

Jesus had love to suffer for me that I might have faith to suffer with him.

I have been reading the sufferings of Jesus in the light of the Salmon Rushdie affair. Rushdie published a novel entitled Satanic Verses. In it he put the Muslim prophet Mohammed and the Muslim god Allah in a bad light. He was accused of blasphemy and the Ayatollah Kohmeni ordered him executed and offered bounty for his death.

I have put myself in Rushdie's place and felt how utterly vulnerable he is. I do not look on this as a distant and strange thing. To me it is very close. I felt this so strongly two weeks ago that I wrote to the former Bethlehem interns who are now scattered around the country as pastors and teachers. Here is what I said:

What will you do when your preaching is so clear and pointed in its missionary implications concerning the blasphemy of Muslim teachings about Jesus that your name appears on the hit list along with Rushdie's?

There is a hair's breadth between me and the condemnation of the Ayatollah. One slight turn of social and historical affairs and the militancy of the Muslim defense of the honor of Mohammed and Allah could make us the target of a thousand guns. Are you ready? Read of the wild-eyed, irrational spit and fists in Matthew 26:67 and then read Matthew 10:24-25.

I want you to see the connection that I saw in these verses.

Matthew 26:67 simply says this: "Then they spat in his face, and struck him; and some slapped him."

Matthew 10:24-25 says, "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master . . . If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household."

Now Salmon Rushdie is no follower of Jesus as far as I can tell. That's not the point. The point is that we Christians by definition believe that Allah is not the true God as Muslims know him and Mohammed is not a true prophet. Jesus really is the Son of God and really did die on the cross and rose again and reigns at God's right hand until he puts all his enemies under his feet, including Mohammed and his followers. And saying that is enough to get me killed—and you.

The days will soon be gone, if they aren't already, when you can assume that it is safe to follow Jesus—to stand for his majesty and his commandments. So I have been thinking much about whether I am willing to pay the price. And if I say yes, where will I get the courage and the freedom to suffer with Jesus?

It isn't just Islam with its endorsement of holy violence that makes following Jesus dangerous today. Consistent Biblical Christians, who don't absorb the spirit and trends of the age, are increasingly at odds with major forces in our society. And what makes the situation so volatile is that those forces are increasingly strident and increasingly invested with legal sanction.

The above excerpt was taken from the article, "The Dangers of Following Jesus" by John Piper, at Desiring God. You can view the remainder of the article at

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

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