About Daniel Shayesteh

Dr Daniel was born into a Muslim family in Northern Iran. He became a radical Muslim leader and teacher of Islam in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, he escaped to Turkey where there began an amazing journey to faith in Jesus Christ.

Daniel's mission is to help others understand and lovingly respond to those who do not know Christ. He is also deeply concerned for the future of Western societies, their loss of confidence in Judeo-Christian values, and their persistent naivete about the implications of the world-wide Islamic revival.

You Can Still Hear the Voice: “Crucify Him!” (The metaphor of “Barabbas”)

There is still a dangerous discord in the air everywhere which reminds us of the old hateful chant “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas” (Luke 23:18, KJV).  Subtly, the melody may be a bit different. If we want to put it into words it may seem like this: “Release unto us Jesus without His faith and values”. 
Contemporary opposition to Christianity does not necessarily reject Jesus outright. Sometimes I hear in my conversations with the followers of western philosophical and political ideologies that Jesus was a good and respectful man in their opinion, and he did well in his time. Even a few communists have told me that Jesus was a good communist since he lived an egalitarian life with his disciples. So, many of these opponents of Christianity will welcome Jesus only if He can be aligned with the most recent, preferred ideological paradigms.
The truth is that a Jesus without His eternal values is indeed ‘a Barabbas’ from the world with all his worldly problems. He is not the Jesus of the Gospel, but the Jesus of Gnosticism, Jesus of the Quran, Jesus of Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus of Humanism or even the Jesus of Yasser Arafat who was a bloodthirsty Muslim jihadi. In all these claims Jesus is only acceptable to serve the motives of individuals or groups in order to reject, vilify, persecute or kill Christians. In other words, it is a false Jesus who is eager to crucify the true Jesus time and again for His unconditional love, absolute holiness, true justice and pure righteousness. 
History has demonstrated that the establishment of a false Jesus is a precursor to the persecution of true followers of Jesus Christ. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, accepted Jesus as a prophet only, yet he sanctioned the persecution and death of Christians in the second stage of his life. The following is just one of many examples from the Quran:
Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low. And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! (Quran, Sura 9 verses 29 and 30)
Jesus was pronounced by Muhammad as one of the most respected prophets, but then Muhammad went on to discount the truth about Jesus recorded in the gospels hundreds of years earlier. This is because Muhammad wanted to convince his followers that Christians were perverted and thereby justify the killing of Christians. The English word “fight” in the two verses above is not “fight” in Arabic. It is “kill” or “ghatilou”. It asks Muslims to slaughter Christians for believing that Jesus is the Son of God. Christians may only be pardoned from execution by paying a humiliating ransom (jizya) every year and living as second class citizens in submission to the Muslim community. The equivalent of such a barbaric creed and action does not come from Jesus Christ whose Gospel does not have even a verse to command its follower to hate or persecute or kill others for the sake of their beliefs, no matter what. It is a sanction which can only be attributed to ‘a Barabbas’. Indeed, Islam’s acceptance of Jesus Christ means  releasing ‘a Barabbas’, but crucifying Jesus Christ with His teaching and life values.
It is the same with all other individuals or groups who conditionally accept Jesus by rejecting His values or accepting some of His teachings but ignoring others. Their ultimate goal is to reject the true Jesus and persecute his followers.  They want to discard the actual values of Jesus Christ or in other words, “Crucify Him.” Their acceptance is nothing but, “Give to us Barabbas” but cast aside Jesus. Take Him to Calvary. Crucify Him! Let His mind and heart disappear completely. It is not fitting that he should be allowed to live, given his requirement that his followers should love God one hundred per cent, humbly care for the rights of others, deal honestly with all people – an honesty that confronts hypocrisy and challenges political correctness – and, lastly, love justice – a justice that cherishes responsibility.
In today’s western world, children learn the irresponsible ‘Barabbas’ lifestyle from primary school through to the end of tertiary education. We learn more of it in the work place and, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or subconsciously, teach others that ‘Barabbas’ is what society needs. The truth that Jesus Christ taught does not fit in today’s lifestyle where truth is fluid. All ideas are acceptable as truth. You are conditioned to be a voice for mindless ‘Barabbases’ since the mind is not considered compatible with the dominant philosophy of evolutionary randomness. Those who are absorbed in this philosophy of our times, raise their voices louder and louder against anyone who believes that we are created in such a way as to search for the best.
Our contemporary culture has become a culture for establishing people in self-centeredness and irresponsibility, like Barabbas, to ignore the consequences of the words they speak or the decisions they make. Those who wanted the criminal Barabbas to be released to them and the innocent Jesus to be killed didn’t give a responsible thought for the future of their children. They did not even know the real person, Barabbas, for whom they were standing. They were similar to our contemporary fellow men and women who also are madly absorbed in the Godless political milieu of our times. Blind compliance does not give them time to think deeply. Instead it pushes them to do whatever leaders and influential opinion-shapers pressure them to do and to think. The crowd before Pilate not only insisted that Pilate kill Jesus and release the scandalous Barabbas in His place, they even proclaimed that they were ready to take the guilt of putting Jesus to death, if there be any, on themselves and on their children. (Matthew 27:25) They were fully blinded to such an extent that they never thought about what they were proclaiming. Their approval of crucifying an innocent person brought judgment on them and their children. Less than half a century later, a great number of their own children were crucified dreadfully by their Roman governors.  Their cities and religious centers were ruined and the lives of thousands were lost because of shortages of food and shelter.  
This is what we read and hear from the lips and preferences of people everywhere in the secular West: in educational centers, government offices, in election campaigns, in the media, in multicultural societies, in tyrannical societies, in national and international relations and strangely in some churches too: “Away with Jesus, release to us Barabbas”. 
This worries us, as the followers of Jesus Christ, when we pause to consider the future of the children of these rebellious people who want Jesus Christ dead but ‘Barabbas’ free. They esteem the archetype of Barabbas highly, consciously or unconsciously, in the same way as does Islam, humanism, socialism, multiculturalism, homosexuality etc. They do this by ignoring, rejecting, hating or even terrorizing the voices of truth, yet, at the same time calling themselves civilized. As a result only certain individuals or groups are free to say whatever they like. 
I was born in a despotic country where there was always a secret voice whispering in the ears of every child to watch his/her mouth when it came to speaking the truth. Even the god and prophet of Islam had taught us that we had to follow a corrupt leader blindly if he was in the service of Islam:
Muhammad said: Striving in the path of Allah (jihad) is incumbent on you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious; the prayer is obligatory on you behind every believer, pious or impious, even if he commits grave sins; the (funeral) prayer is incumbent upon every Muslim, pious and impious, even if he commits major sins. (Dawud, Book 14, Hadith 2527) 
You just shut your mouth and follow Islam. Of course, it was not that easy for every one to digest everything, especially when a leader expected you to disrespect your parents for their lesser involvement in Islamic activities or to kill one of your family members for a similar reason. Or perhaps it required you to give your little daughter to a leader to become his provisional or fulltime wife or even divorce your wife so that he could have her. Some people are able to adapt themselves and live in all conditions, but not every one.
This is the plight of people who are living in closed countries under iron fists. Crucifying Jesus is easier there - as easy as drinking a glass of water. On the other hand, everybody there knows that the leadership is dictatorial; if a person wants to live, she or he has only two choices - keep quiet and live or flee. 
However, it is heartbreaking to see these dictatorial attitudes emerging in democratic countries from presidents and prime ministers. Even from a worldly perspective, the leadership model of Jesus Christ, His relational values and ethics are uniquely the best in the world. But even the top leaders in the West have opened the door wide for the persecution of His sincere followers. Such leaders are seduced by ‘the culture of Barabbas’ and do not take time to at least think about the future of their own children. They don’t know that giving way to the destruction of truth may give way to the destruction of their own children, as it happened to the Jews in ancient times.
Let those of us who understand the heart and mind of Jesus Christ act like Him in the midst of this darkened age. May we be ready to even be crucified in this world and so rise with Him in order that our truthful thoughts, words and actions might prevent the death of our generation and their children and, further, become the means of salvation now and for generations to come. Let us die to ‘the culture of Barabbas’ but rise to the culture of Jesus Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment