Joel of Jerusalem Jun/Sep 1971

ZEAL WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE

Recently I worked at Mt. Scopus where a part of the University of Jerusalem is located. They are building new housing there for students, about 11:00 in the morning an orthodox student with a considerable beard approached me. He looked around as if trying to find someone, So I asked him “Can I help you?” He looked up and said “Praise the Lord! I have been looking for Jews, but all the workers here seem to be Arabs. I am so glad to have found at least one Jew. I would like you to do me a favor and help me.” He was holding a package in his hand. So I asked him “What can I do for you?”

“The Passover holidays are approaching,” he explained, “and the students do not even know who they are. Shabbath Hagadol, the Sabbath before the Passover, is already upon us. I have with me a package of Agadoth le Pesach (The Passover story). I would like you to distribute these booklets among the students.”

I said, “If you had Bibles for distribution, I would gladly distribute them for you, but these booklets are a mixture of truth and legend which little children learn in their classes, but Bibles, that is the Word of God, wisdom for everybody.”

He said, “You may be right, but Bibles are very expensive and we cannot afford them.” So I made him an offer. “If you will pay for five complete Bibles, I will pay for five complete Bibles, and we will give it to the students.”

“What do you mean by a complete Bible?” “A complete Bible means the Old and the New Testament bound together.”

He grabbed his head with his hands and exclaimed “For more than an hour I was looking for a Jew, and when I found one at last he turns out to be a goy (gentile).”

I showed him my order to report for military duty. When he read my full name, he said, “Yes, that is a real fine Jewish name. What have you got to do with the New Testaments? I am very curious.”

“Years ago I knew nothing about the New Testament or Jesus, and God in His mercy sent a New Testament my way and I love Jesus seek to serve Him. Just because our fathers have in the past gone astray, that does not mean that I should also follow in their footsteps and make the same mistakes which they did. For the sake of my own soul and of my children and of everybody else I meet I must try and help them. Many of them may be looking for the Truth without even knowing it, but have nobody to guide them. Isaiah 53:6 says “All we like sheep have gone astray . . . and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all!  The prophet spoke about our Messiah who paid the price of our redemption.”

“You talk like a real missionary; I must not listen to you because I cannot answer you. Now I see why there are so many of you.”

“No, it is not our doing but the Lord Himself who works in the hearts and minds of people. His good seed germinates in the hearts are sincere. All we have to do is to water the seed and keep the weeds from choking the wheat. You too may become a new person through the Messiah Jesus.”

“I must confess,” he said, “that I cannot answer you now.  What you said staggers me, but I am glad I met you.” Do pray for this man.

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