But he was so sincere. And there’s a certain time in the Moslem religion when they celebrate what’s called Ramadan, where they do not eat food during the day. They fast during the entire daylight hour, and they only eat at night. And they make certain sacrifices in their lives. And he was very sincere.
And he and I struck up a relationship and a friendship because we were roommates. I never, ever criticized him. I never jumped on him. I asked him to explain a lot of things because I was curious. But his sincerity, even though he was wrong, deeply touched me.
And he will never know it, but he had a part in leading me to Christ because I saw his sincerity and I thought because of the many bad things that I had seen among Christians in my life, I had been so turned off as a young boy because of whose son I was. I was so turned off because of all the criticism that came against my father. I had been so turned off by what the church said about my father, and I was turned off by what the media had said about my father that I had said, “I will never darken the door of a church again as long as I live.”
Then I saw the sincerity of this Moslem, whom I became friends with. And he’ll never know it—I assume he’s back in Jetta, Saudi Arabia today. We’re the same age. He was studying to be a petrochemical engineer there at KU. He’ll never know, because I’ve not seen him since, that he had a part in leading me to Christ because I saw his sincerity and I saw that you could serve God with sincerity and not have this judgmental critical attitude, which at that time the church was filled with.
I looked over on the floor, and there was his prayer rug. He was a Moslem. That’s what I walked in to. Now I wasn’t a Christian. I’d been to church all my life, but I’d never accepted Christ as my Savior. But I knew what the Moslem religion was.
And I said to myself, “This is going to be an interesting year.” And my first thought was, I’m going to go down and change roommates. And I thought, No, I’m not going to do that. And I found that this young man was a quality young man. I found out that even though the Moslem religion is a false religion, I found that he was very sincere, very earnest and that he prayed more than any Christian I’d ever met in my life. He was on that prayer rug five times a day. I’d never been on my knees once. He humbled me.
And the sincerity of his heart, even though he was serving a false god, because the god he served, Allah, little “a” Allah, is not the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
If you want to know how that started in the seventh century, a man named Mohammed went to a certain place where they were serving three gods. And he was so enthralled by it that he took those three gods and married them together and called it Allah. That’s the beginning of the Moslem religion.
And the Moslems believe that when we say God, the Lord God Jehovah and they say Allah, we’re talking about the same God, but we’re not. Allah is not the God of heaven and earth. Allah is not the Father of Abraham, the Father of Isaac, Father of Jacob, the Father of Jesus. It’s a different god.
And the other account—I believe it’s in Matthew—the other account says that the man came and knelt before Him, and said, “My servant (or my military aide) is grievously tormented with the palsy.” You may have read that account as well.
“And Jesus said, I will come and heal him. The centurion said, It’s not necessary for you to come, because I also a man under authority. And I speak to my military aide, I speak to my soldiers, I tell them to go, and they go, come, and they come, do this, and they do it.
“But then he said, I recognize that you have authority over all authority. You just speak the word, and my aide will be healed.”
Well, Jesus whirled around and said to the people—I’m just paraphrasing now—He said, “I’ve not seen such great faith, not in all of Israel.” So this is the second time and the only other time that He referred to great faith.
And He said, “Go your way, and as you have believed, your military aide will be healed.” And he was.
This is Jesus crossing the cultural barrier of a Roman army captain. A centurion in the Roman army was an army captain who was over 100 soldiers. Centurion means one hundred, centauri or one hundred,
And this man, it is believed, was stationed at the Roman garrison in a little place up north in Galilee right on the sea of Galilee in the Tiberius area. History teaches us that there was a Roman garrison in that day stationed at Tiberius. And this Roman, who had only served Caesar, who was worshipped as a god and was referred to as “my Lord Caesar,” he had never paid allegiance to anyone in his life except Caesar.
I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. I don’t even know how I got in over there. And here I’m standing in front of 30,000 people. Well, the Moslem clerics are using my name on the radios and from their mosques, and they’re saying, “Don’t go to the meetings. You’re not going to get healed. There’s going to be no healing. You’re going to go sit. You’ll come back sick. The man is a fake. There’s nothing real about it.”
I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. And here I’m standing in the country, and there are 30,000 people because they didn’t pay any attention to their own Moslem clerics. They’re standing in front of me. I’m up there on the platform. What in God’s name do I do? I’m not that smart.
And I just stood there very quietly—(Tongues)—and in my room before I got there, and God began to put a word in my mouth. And by the time I finished preaching, the first night I preached on the paralytic man who was carried and lowered through the roof. By the time I gave that message, cripples started walking all over the place.
And I would look up, and there would be crutches, somebody holding up crutches. And you could see them way out in the crowd. And the crutches would start coming toward me. And about five or ten minutes later, the person who was healed would come on the platform.
And blind people started getting healed, and deaf people started getting healed. And by the time I gave the invitation for people to give their hearts to Christ that opening night, with more than 20,000 people, every hand, every hand—I didn’t see any hands that weren’t up, praying the sinner’s prayer with me.
Now that didn’t happen because I’m somebody special. That happened because I prayed in the Spirit, and God helped me to interpret back to my mind and He showed me what to do.