Jesus of Arabia?

March 30th, 2011 by

Hussein “Steve” Mashni is a Palestinian Arab who has published the website, as well as authoring books and other content.

Mashni grew up in America in a home with a Muslim father and a Catholic mother. He says that his mother wasn’t religious, so the Muslim culture was emphasized in his home. He was devout even as a child, and as he grew older he pleaded with “Allah” to show up in a way that he could comprehend. Nothing happened, and this was of great concern to Mashni.

In a recent interview he said that as a teenager he was watching an Oral Roberts event on television. He said that suddenly he knew beyond a doubt that Jesus was right in the same room with him, “that He is the Son of God, and that He is Messiah.” These perceptions are in direct opposition to tenets of his Muslim upbringing.

Like other former Muslims who are finding the courage to “come out” with their stories of finding Christ — or more accurately, as in Mashni’s case — with their accounts of Jesus’ coming or appearing to them, Mashni’s conversion was not without difficulty. His life was never the same after his conversion experience.

As we listened to him describe his experiences and perceptions about Arab nations, we were increasingly convinced of his sincerity and devotion.

We visited Israel last year. It is an exceedingly precious Land. Our guide talked with us about the antagonistic graffiti we saw in some of the Palestinian Arab communities. Antagonistic toward Israel, of course.

He said that it’s all about “a kind of one-upmanship” or rivalry.

As we read Scripture with its prophecy about the nations that will “come against Israel” in latter days that is being fulfilled before our eyes, the ugliness of this rivalry and its most appalling manifestation in acts of suicidal terror, often on the parts of young men — and even women — came to mind.

But Mashni has opened our eyes to a new perspective on the Arab experience.

Most of us know the remarkable ancient story of Abraham and Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac.

Mashni says that the pain of Ishmael — of being sent out of his father’s house — is still the source of deep “woundedness” in Ishmael’s Arab descendants today.

Mashni says this deep cultural wound “creates anger and jealousy,” — and that we see this borne out in Arab cultures.

But Mashni reminds us that just as in the old scriptural story God continued to care for and about Ishmael and his mother — Jesus is appearing to many Muslims today and working to heal this woundedness of the Arab people, whose forefather Ishmael was so painfully close to those who were “chosen” to be the forebears of the Messiah — even living under the same roof with them! — yet he, and through him the Arab people — were not the chosen!

Increasingly reports are coming in about people throughout the Arab world having dreams and visions of One they often describe as “the man in white.”

As we come to more fully understand a primary cause of the longstanding strife in this area from Mashni’s personal experience and perceptions, this fuller understanding motivates us to continue praying and working for the end of all division between the Arab and Israeli cultures and the increasing presence of the “one new man” (or humanity) in Messiah that Ephesians 2:15 foretells.


Christine Colbert is a writer and editorial consultant, and is part of Or HaOlam Messianic Congregation in Overland Park.
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