Early Witnesses of Christmas?
Who were the early witnesses of Christmas? Some of the first witnesses of Christ are overlooked. The serpent was told that the offspring of Eve (Christ) would bruise his head in Genesis 3:15 and Satan has been a raging lion ever since. The prophets foretold of the great and awesome coming of the Messiah and they were persecuted. Even the stars themselves became witnesses of the birth of Christ. Their light proclaimed the coming King of Judah and then again witnessed to the location toward the town of Bethlehem. The angels knew Jesus’ majestic divinity from the beginning and then watched Him leave His thrown to be robed in flesh as a baby. Their joy could not be contained and they celebrated with mankind as they sang to the shepherds.
Today, Muslim background believers are the early witnesses of Christ in a new revival of Muslims coming to faith in Jesus. Many Muslims are hearing the full Christmas message for the first time this season. Our persecuted brothers and sisters are bearing His witness with joy. Dr. Naim Khoury is a Palestinian and the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Bethlehem, Israel. The First Baptist Church has been bombed by Muslims fourteen times. Reverend Khoury himself has been ambushed and shot three times. Still he keeps saying: “Israel is God’s people and His promises will be fulfilled.” God’s promises include the children of Ishmael. Genesis 17:20 “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him…” Naim has not given up on testifying to the birth, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our Lord’s birthplace. He is a bold living martyr of Jesus Christ. He loves his enemies and shares the gospel of hope in word and deed.
One day Muslims with Hamas were fleeing for their lives as they were being chased by soldiers. These young Muslim men were trapped near the church and would be killed if found. In an act of great courage and mercy, Naim gave them refuge and saved their lives. He knew some of these men. They had persecuted him and had tried to burn down the church. After his act of kindness some of the men visited his services on Sunday morning.
It has been estimated that the combined witnesses of the unknown Christians of history have led more people to faith in Christ than the combined efforts of the well known evangelists such as Dwight Moody, Charles Finney, or Billy Graham. This Christmas may we join together in praying and remembering the Naim Kourys of this world.
Spirit of Martyrdom supports these overlooked witnesses of Christ by supplying materials and aide. Also, consider taking the opportunity to let a Muslim know that Jesus loves them. We want to thank all of you who have given sacrificially in 2009 to partner with us in serving the living martyrs. We pray that our relationship together continues to grow as we serve you with stories and teachings that inspire.
We pray that together with your support in 2010 we will continue to strengthen the witness of the Body of Christ. If you would like to help spread the influence of our ministry we are offering our book Fearless Love, In the Midst of Terror as a gift for any tax-deductible year end donation given before December 31, 2009. We hope that you can then give this book away to someone interested. When giving please mention your interest the Fearless Love book in the reference box.
Last of all, consider becoming a witness for Christ on our blog. We invite you to briefly share your story of faith. Who was your early witness of Jesus that helped you understand the true meaning of Christmas? Take this opportunity to bring him/her tribute.
May you all have a blessed and very Merry Christmas!