Zvi May/Jun 2012
Many Orthodox people here in Jerusalem have known me a long time. Sometimes it seems they almost have a competition to see who among them can put me down and become a hero. Often they come to my home to talk about faith. At first they are friendly. But then they become agitated and are not so nice.
I know my obligation before the Lord. It is to teach them the truth about the Bible and the Lord our Savior. But the truth is not something they are accustomed to hearing.
Recently several ultra-Orthodox men came to my home and, as always, were nice at the beginning. But as time passed, they realized things were not going as they had planned; then they were not so nice. Even the expressions on their faces changed from pleasant to angry, and they began hollering at me in high-pitched voices.
“Why do you make friends with those who believe in This One [meaning Jesus]? They are against us. And you bow down before Him! We have come here because we want to know why you do these things. We are waiting for your answer!”
They were sure they would win their argument with me and that I would throw them out of my home. But it was not to be. “I am very happy you came here because you want to know about This One in whom I have believed,” I replied. “So I am happy to give you the answers you seek.”
“But only from the Bible!” one demanded, confident I could not show him anything about the Lord Jesus Christ from the Jewish Scriptures.
“First of all, I am sure you want to know where it is written about This One in the Bible,” I said. “Have you brought with you a Bible?”
“No,” one replied.
“Do not worry,” I told them. “Here is a Bible. Have a good look and see if this is like the Bible you read every day.”
They took the Bible and turned it around and around, examining it from every angle. Finally one said, “Yes, this is kosher [acceptable].”
“Now open it to Isaiah chapter 53 and read verses 5–6. And when you finish, we will look at more verses,” I told them. So they read,
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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lᴏʀᴅ has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Their faces became even more agitated. “Now,” I continued, “please read this verse from Micah.” So they read,
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 (5:2).
“This is very interesting,” one said. “We have spent much time learning from our great rabbis. We have spent most of our lives studying this Holy Bible. Yet now we stand before such a one as you who is so far away from this Book, and what you said we have never heard. Why?” They spoke among themselves for a long time, asking each other why they never saw these verses before. “Can it be that this one is telling us something we do not know?” they asked each other.
The Orthodox often believe they know more about the Bible than non-Orthodox Jews know. So they certainly believe they know more than someone who believes in Jesus. Learning something new from me was almost more than they could bear.
“Where have you learned what you tell us about This One? Who was your teacher?” one asked.
“Those who believe the truth do not spend most of their lives listening to fictitious stories told by teachers,” I said. “They do not revere their teachers above God’s Holy Word. I have learned about God’s truth and about Him in whom I have believed from the Holy Bible. Here, you see it in black and white before you.
“Sadly, you are blind and know nothing about our Father in heaven. It is clearly written in Deuteronomy chapter 6, which you read every morning: ‘Fear the Lᴏʀᴅ your God and serve Him. (For the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is a jealous God)’ [vv. 13, 15]. So now I ask you, Whom are you following? God or your teacher?”
This time they were very surprised. Several times they asked, “Who was your teacher?” They are obsessed with following a teacher.
Then they asked again, “But how did you come to believe in This One?”
Finally I replied, “You see how blind you are? You have now read the verses for yourselves and still do not understand that I have believed in the One about whom it is written in the Holy Bible. And you are determined to do what is against the Word of the Lord.”
We had a nice conversation, but they live in deep darkness. Please pray they will see the light of the Lord.