Zvi Jan/Feb 2010
In Proverbs 27:10 it is written, “Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” We have lived in this neighborhood in Jerusalem for more than 35 years. I know most of my neighbors, and they know me. I try to help them in many ways, like making repairs to their homes for free. While I make repairs, we discuss many subjects. I particularly like it when we discuss the faith.
Not long ago an ultra-Orthodox family moved in. These people are curious about everyone and ask many questions. They soon learned I make repairs and never take payment. So one day they came to me. “Can you do us a favor?” the man asked. “This will be a great mitzvah [good deed] for you.”
“What can I do for you?” I replied. “You see, our electricity is not working. Can you help us?”
So I went to help. While I was there, they began to speak with me about what I believe and what their rabbis believe. I noticed their big stack of books written by their rabbinical authorities.
“If you like to read,” the man said, “I would be happy to give you some of our holy books so you can read what our rabbis say.”
I replied, “You are a good man. But I do not read such books. I read only one Book: the Holy Bible. It is the only Book that is holy enough for me. I will not spend my time reading fictional stories written by men who claim to be holy. For me, only one person is holy; and He is Almighty God, in whom I put my trust. You must be careful because you are trusting in men who tell you they are holy. But they are among the greatest sinners.”
This family listened carefully. Then someone said, “We have a question for you. Can you give us the correct answer?”
“I will try,” I replied. “My answer will come from the Holy Bible, not from books written by men.”
“This is what we are interested in knowing,” one said. “Can you show us where in the Bible it is written about This Man?” The Orthodox will not say the name Jesus.
I knew they were asking about Jesus, but I did not want to be hasty. So I replied, “The Bible speaks about many men. About whom do you wish to know?”
They all looked at me. Finally one asked quietly, “You will not be against us when we tell you about whom we want to know? Where is it written about Him in the Bible?”
I told them, “You are not the first ones who are so interested in knowing about Him. And it will be my great joy to show you what the Holy Bible says.”
So I opened my Bible to Isaiah 53, a chapter the ultra-Orthodox do not read because it is so clearly written about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When I opened the chapter, they were surprised. “We have never read this,” one said.
“It is important to know what is written in God’s Holy Word,” I said. “We have no right to boycott anything written by the Holy Spirit of God. Who are we to do such a thing? It is against the Law to refuse to read a portion of Scripture. Yet many people will not read this or teach it.
“You call yourselves religious. But please take a good look at what you do. You are fighting against yourselves. The Lord said, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified’” (Isa. 49:3).
This time I gave them the Bible so they could read Isaiah 53 for themselves. I did not want them to accuse me of not reading correctly. There it is written,
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (vv. 4–5).
Afterward, one asked, “About whom is this written?” And like many before him, he asked, “Why have we never read this before?”
“Please read what is written in Deuteronomy 6:13–15.” So they read:
You shall fear the Lᴏʀᴅ your God and serve Him….You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (for the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the Lᴏʀᴅ your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.
“Do not follow the people around you,” I cautioned. “Follow only the Lord and what is written in the Bible. That way you will know the truth and not be led down the path of darkness.”
“But this one in whom you believe,” one replied. “He is only for Christians.”
“He is for everyone,” I explained. “He was wounded for all of us, and the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He is especially for those whom He has chosen to be His servants. And did He not choose Israel?
The Bible does not say He was wounded only for Gentiles or only for Jews. He is for everyone who receives Him as personal Savior.”
We had a long conversation. Please pray it will someday bear much fruit.