As many of you know, this past Palm Sunday, two suicide bombings took place at two Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt, killing more than 45 people. The word “Coptic” means “Egyptian” in the Greek language.
Jayson Casper, one of my former students at Columbia International University in Columbia, SC, wrote an article for “Christianity Today” titled “Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable,” addressing the suicide bombings, the overall culture in which the Coptic Christians live in Egypt, and how their reaction to the violence against them affects those around them.
He begins his article with Amr Adeeb, an Egyptian Muslim and one of the most prominent talk show hosts in Egypt. (Please do not miss out watching this short video clip—there are subtitles in English. His response moved me to tears). Adeeb was responding to an interview of the wife of one of those killed in the bombings and how some Egyptians are living out their faith. You can tell that her genuine forgiveness—and that of the Copts as a whole over the centuries—astounded prominent talk show host, and he acknowledges that he would not be able to do the same if it had been his father who was murdered.
Far removed from the violence in the Middle East, we often forget how costly being a disciple of Jesus can be. But it is exactly this cost that we are all called to as His followers. Whether it’s being cut off in traffic, being betrayed by a coworker or friend, or losing a loved one to a terrorist attack, our reaction should demonstrate Christ’s love and forgiveness. It is this reaction that will move those around us, attracting them to Jesus.
Along the same lines, another video clip that moved me deeply was an interview with Jim Caviezel, the actor who played the role of Jesus in the film “The Passion of The Christ.” Even though we might disagree with some of his theology, his passion for costly discipleship is challenging.
Watching the interview with Jim Caviezel motivated me to watch another short video clip, this one with Mel Gibson, the director of “The Passion of the Christ.” I remember praying for Mel Gibson before and after the release of “The Passion,” and I was eager to find out about the current state of his faith. To my surprise and joy, I learned that he is thinking of directing a sequel titled “The Resurrection.” If Mel Gibson display the same passion and attention to detail as he did in “The Passion,” imagine the witness for Christ “The Resurrection” will be!
May the Lord refresh your hearts and challenge us to costly discipleship as we watch God’s people serving him in a diversity of circumstances.
Dietrich Bonheoffer, the German theologian at the time of the Nazis wrote: “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”