Zvi Jan/Feb 2012

I have lived in the same neighborhood in Jerusalem for 37 years. Most of the people here know me, and we are good friends. But some people do not like me because I believe in Christ and speak about true faith in God, according to the Bible.

One family in particular has made life difficult for me over the years. The children were good, but the father was much against me and brought others like him to the neighborhood to make trouble for me. Some were men who spent their days sitting in yeshivas, studying books written by rabbis, rather than studying God’s Holy Word. This man fought against me so much that he even threw stones at my house.

Yet it is written in the book of Romans, “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38–39). So I trusted the Lord to help me.

Not long ago I was outside and saw this man’s sons near my house, weeping. I was surprised and asked them, “Why are you weeping?”

One replied, “Our father is no longer among the living, and we do not know what caused his death.”

“How can I help you?” I asked immediately.

One answered, “We have come to apologize to you for what our father did to you. We are very sorry. Can you forgive us?”

“Of course I can forgive you,” I told them. “You see what the Lord has done. He has forgiven all those who come to Him and ask for forgiveness of their sins. So I can forgive and forget, and we can be friends.”

They became very comfortable speaking with me and were friendly.

“We do not cast stones against those who are not with us,” I said. “We go to people to show them what the Lord has done for us all and to tell them how we can have forgiveness. And through whom can we obtain such forgiveness? Through This One whom you are so against.”

I could see the boys were receiving what I was telling them. “If you want to know more about the One in whom I have believed, I can help you,” I said.

“Yes,” one replied. “We are interested.” I showed them my Bible. “If you want it, you may have this.” They seemed surprised.

Then one replied, “You see, we also believe what is written in your Bible.”

“This is not my Bible only. The Bible is for everyone,” I said. After a while, some of their friends arrived; and they, too, wanted Bibles.

I did all this with great love. Now, from time to time, when they see me on the street, they speak to me as to a good friend. I told them the importance of humbling oneself before the Lord and going to Him for forgiveness. “Only when you come before the Lord,” I said, “and say, ‘Oh Lord, I am a sinner; and I come to you,’ can He forgive you for what you’ve done.” I showed them how to go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness, and I listened to them pray.

Then, to my surprise, I received an invitation to their home. Their mother was very nice to me. They asked me many questions, including how I came to know the Lord.

“Not from those many rabbinical commentaries!” I replied. “No! I came to know the Lord by reading the Holy Bible.”

“This cannot be,” they said.

“Why not?”

“Because it is not written about Him [Jesus] in the Bible.”

“It is very clearly written about Him,” I replied. If I showed them, they said, they would follow me. “Do not follow me,” I told them. “Follow Him.” I opened my Bible to Isaiah 53 and asked them to read verse 5, where it is written, “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.”

They said they believed in the One who came from Bethlehem. So I asked them to read Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

“Why,” one asked, “if it is so clearly written here, are our rabbis against Him?”

“Sadly, they have grown up on the fables of men, which have made them blind to the truth that is written in God’s Word.”

We had a good time together, and now we are all good friends.

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