“You have to go through Jesus,” Hafiz said. “If you want to get close to God, then you have to go through Jesus.”
Hafiz had been studying about Jesus in the Word with me. We had already worked our way through His earthly ministry and His betrayal, crucifixion, and burial. In our last meeting, we had read about the resurrection.
This time, we were looking at several verses from John about being born again and Jesus’ identity as the way to the Father.
“What do you learn from this?” I asked Hafiz after we read the verses and retold them in our own words.
“God provided the way for us to be cleansed.”
He reflected a moment, then shared John 14:6. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…’ That is the most important part-no one can come to the Father except through Jesus.”
He gazed out the window and pointed to the stairs that lead to the roof of his house. “If you want to get to the top of my house, there is only one way. You have to go up those stairs. You can try other ways, but it will be very difficult, and, in the end, you will fail. But if you go to the roof by means of the stairs, you will succeed.”
“It’s the same way with anyone who wants to come close to God and enter paradise,” Hafiz continued. “You have to go through Jesus.”
I pointed back to John 1:29, about the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. “Do you see any connection with this verse?”
“Yes,” he said. “Jesus is the sacrifice of God who takes away our sins.” Hafiz continued that we can’t come near to God because we are covered in the filth of our sins. We need to be cleansed, and it is impossible to get fully clean by our own efforts. “God provided the way for us to be cleansed-Jesus. We can only go to God through Jesus, because Jesus is the only one who takes away our sins.”
Hafiz looked up and stated, “I need to be born again.”
My heart started beating with joy. “How do you do that?” I asked.
“I think it’s a spiritual thing,” he said. “It means accepting the release from sins that comes as a gift from God. That’s being born again.”
“I need to be born again,” Hafiz said.
We were going in the right direction, but I knew he needed to make it even more practical, more personal. “How do you plan to do that?” I pressed him.
“Maybe we should pray,” he suggested.
What followed wasn’t a guided prayer. I didn’t have him repeat after me. Hafiz prayed simply and sincerely, with tears in his eyes, “God, I accept your gift. I won’t try to clean myself anymore. Thank you for making the sacrifice through Jesus. Amen.”
“Amen,” I agreed as we both wiped away our tears.
Where is Hafiz on his faith journey? He is leaning towards orthodoxy-towards right belief-although it is not yet complete (is it complete for any of us, really?). He still regards Muhammad as a prophet. He has yet to discover the divinity of Jesus. We will get there in due time.
Meanwhile, I rejoice that he is embracing the truths about Jesus Christ that he has discovered thus far, and I pray for even more discovery to come.
Hafiz continues is continuing to read Scripture with Frontiers’ long-term worker in his city. He now leads other groups in studying the Bible, and these groups are also beginning to multiply.
This account comes from a long-term worker. Names have been changed for security.