Zvi Aug/Sep 1998
Once every two months, I must take my wife to the hospital for a checkup on her eye following her cornea transplant surgery. Every time we go, there is a long line of people, and we must wait patiently for her turn. People are always looking at their watches, and some are not as patient as others.
We have met some very interesting people at the hospital—people from many walks of life. The last time we were there, two Russian priests approached me and asked if the seats next to us were free. “Yes,” I responded, and because they spoke Russian, they were pleased to learn that I too spoke that language. We immediately began conversing, and our discussion quickly turned to the matter of faith. They were very sure of themselves and showed me their books of commentary, which they were positive contained the root of faith. Although they were Russian priests, they reminded me of the many Ultra-Orthodox Jews I have spoken to over the years—trusting in the words of man rather than in the living Word of God.
I showed them my small Bible and asked, “Which book is of greater value?” They answered, “We don’t want to see anything in Hebrew because we don’t speak that language.” I replied, “If you like, I will give you a complete translation of any passage in this book.” Then I asked, “Have you ever heard about the Bible?” “Oh yes,” they replied. “Do you have a copy with you?” To their surprise, I told them that the little book I held in my hand was indeed the Holy Bible.
There were many people in the waiting room that day, and as the hours wore on, they were looking for ways to kill time. Some of them were new immigrants from Russia. Happy to hear a conversation in their own language, some of them joined in. When we began to speak about Jesus Christ, the priests were sure that they were in their own element, but that was their big mistake. I told them, “We must believe in Jesus Christ, not according to the books of commentary that you have, but only according to the Bible. This one book alone shows us the right way to come to the Lord. All other books come from false beliefs and superstitions.”
The new immigrants listened attentively to our conversation, and most of them agreed that true faith in God comes only according to the Bible. The priests said, “We don’t believe what they say.” Then I told them, “This is not the belief of Jews only. For the millions of Christians—people who truly believe in Christ—the most important book is the Bible.”
These people are walking in darkness because they have never found the true way to faith in Christ. It was not a surprise to me when one of the priests said, “How did you, a Jew, come to believe in Christ?” I replied, “I can tell from your question how blind you are; you don’t even know from which people the Lord Jesus Christ came. Again, if you want to know the truth, you must look to the Bible, not your books full of old, fictitious stories.”
Of course, they wanted to know where in the Bible it was written that Jesus was Jewish. I said, “Moses spoke of the Lord Jesus coming from the Jewish people.” I opened my Bible to Deuteronomy 18 and read verses 15 and 18: “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee [the Jewish people] a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken…I will raise them [the Jewish people] up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” I then said, “You see, the Bible gives a clear explanation of Christ’s earthly heritage, something you have never read in your many books or heard from your false teachers. The Bible is the root of our faith, not your books.”
After further conversation, one of the immigrants said, “Everything you have said is very nice, but we don’t understand how a Jew can be so faithful to another religion—a religion that does not belong to the Jewish people.” Now I had more opposition, but I responded, “It is good that you have listened to our conversation. I know that you call yourselves good Jews because you follow the old rabbinical traditions of the Halacha (law), but take a good look at the Holy Bible and see what the Lord truly wants from us. He wants us to obey His commandments. And how can we do that? Whom should we follow? Those who have lost their direction?
“Again, I ask you to look at the Bible. It is the true Word of God, and in it we read of the faith of our fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and the words of our prophets. Unfortunately, this book has been hidden from you in the Soviet Union for a very long time. Even here in Israel, you are only told about the Old Testament. But if you would study that carefully—especially Isaiah 53, which is never read in the synagogues—you would see for yourselves that it speaks of Jesus Christ.”
They were very surprised. “What?” they exclaimed. “Our Holy Scriptures teach about Jesus Christ? That is impossible!” I replied, “It is very possible; in fact, it is more than possible—it is the truth.” I then read Isaiah 53—the entire chapter—and explained very clearly what it meant.
What a wonderful opportunity this was to open the blind eyes of these new immigrants, as well as those of the Russian priests. And it all took place in a hospital waiting room, where we sat for more than two hours for my wife to see the doctor. When it was finally her turn and we got up to go into the examining room, one of the men said, “If you have time, we would like to continue this conversation.” And so, after my wife’s examination was finished, I spoke with these people for another half hour.
Please pray with me that the two Russian priests and the new immigrants were listening, not just with their physical ears, but with their spiritual ears as well. I trust that I will have the opportunity to meet with them again some day and continue our discussion about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As it is written in Isaiah 9:2, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”