• Steve Derenge

"One Visa Please"

I went to Bangladesh for three weeks once, and a guy from there adds me on Facebook. He messages me incessantly about helping him get a visa to America. He writes to me, “one visa please.” I reply that he should email the Bangladesh Embassy in America, because there’s nothing I can do apart from referring him to the place where he’ll get the correct, detailed instructions. Yet he still messages me “One visa please” without specific questions except for a vague, general plea for help. What is my reply as a poor college student who doesn’t know the visa process? I tell him to first ask the internet and to email the Bangladesh Embassy in America.

A similar principle can apply to getting into God’s country--heaven. If you rely on the wrong guy who doesn’t have the resources and can’t help you, asking him to get you a visa into heaven won’t do you any good. You have to go through the government of heaven in order to get the right instructions for receiving a visa for heaven. You can’t just go to the fire station and beg the front desk to deposit your bank check. What will they do? They will tell you that they can’t help you and that you need to go to the bank instead. But imagine that you keep on returning to the fire station to beg them to cash your check. Again, there is nothing they can really do except direct you to a more qualified department--the bank.

Interestingly, many Bangladeshis are Muslims who believe that the prophet Muhammad will intercede for them, so that they will get into heaven. However, the prophet Muhammad himself said that he is just a regular guy who can only point them in the right direction. In the Qur’an, Muhammad says that they are supposed to ask the people of the Book (Christians) how to get into heaven. (1) For heaven to grant you citizenship or a visa into heaven, the government of heaven has to issue you that visa or citizenship. Who is the ruler, Prime Minister, President, or King of heaven? It is ‘Isa Masih--Jesus, the Messiah (or King)--who claimed to be the only way into heaven. See John 14:6; 3:13-21; etc.

There’s another funny or interesting parallel to the situation. No matter how many times I direct the guy to the correct department which holds the correct information, instructions, and resources to help him out, he incessantly tries to message and video call me non-stop with the same vague request: “One visa please.” In the same way, no matter how persistently you ask the wrong person for help, it’s not going to do you any good until you actually follow their own admonitions about asking the correct department that contains the power, knowledge, and resources to help you out. The fire department did their part by telling you that they can’t deposit your checks into your bank account; it’s your responsibility to go and ask the bank instead.

If Jesus is the only way to the Father, then asking Mary or the prophet Muhammad to get your prayers answered won’t do any good. Why not? Although both Mary and the prophet Muhammad were awesome, honorable people, the reason they left such a positive legacy was because they saw their purpose on earth as pointing people to the one who does have all the answers and who can get them into heaven--Jesus. Mary told the servants at a wedding banquet, “Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you.” Mary prayed through Jesus, so if we want to be like Mary, we need to pray like Mary prayed. C.f. Matthew 6:9-13; John 2:5; 14:13-14. (2)

To truly honor the prophet Muhammad, one must follow his advice and admonitions to go listen to and follow Jesus, doing everything that Jesus commanded. The fire department will get exasperated if you keep coming to them asking them to cash your bank check. In the same way, for peace to be upon the prophet, you must stop pestering him by coming to him incessantly after he has directed you to go to the correct department of heaven’s government who contains the answers and resources you need to succeed and to get to heaven.

Furthermore, both Mary and the prophet Muhammad didn’t claim to be perfect; they repeated the message: I’m just a servant; Jesus is the one who is perfect and never sinned; He is the only way to God. We sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God; but Jesus came from God and never sinned, so He can give you the right directions and get you into Heaven. There’s nothing we can do to get you into heaven except by telling you to go through Jesus. Please stop asking us to get you into heaven; we’re just poor college students who can’t help you. Ask the embassy or government of heaven, a.k.a., Jesus. Here’s the online link for the visa process for becoming a citizen of heaven.” (3)

Peace be upon you.

  1. C.f. Qur’an Surah 3:55,144; 10:94; 43:63. Source: https://youtu.be/oOn1j0WPvg0 as posted on https://listen-to-jesus.com/blog/teaching/jesus-in-the-quran/.

  2. The first comedy clip in this link explains the importance of building a bridge rather than burning one. Out of a proud desire to practice or demonstrate one’s theological acumen, one can ironically “win” a theological debate at the risk of hardening that person to spiritual truth. This clip is also about learning how to pray like Mary prayed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPvk1GHlPz0

  3. https://www.sozogood.net/single-post/2018/12/11/Would-You-Like-to-Gain-Citizenship-in-Heaven


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