Zvi Nov/Dec 2009
Here in Israel, many people have no peace. Not only are we the victims of shootings and terrorism, but we are surrounded by countries that want nothing more than to destroy us. If that were not enough, many people have no spiritual peace either.
A number of ultra-Orthodox Jews live in my neighborhood. They do not speak to me often, for they have been told to avoid me because I will try to “brainwash” them and speak to them about the New Testament. But recently one of my neighbors came to me and asked, “Do you try to convince people that they should believe in This Man?” By “This Man,” they mean Jesus.
I told him that I speak to people about what is written in the Bible. “Please,” I asked, “tell me who This Man is whom you so fear that you do not want me to speak of Him? What I speak about is the Bible, and I do not erase what is written there, as you do. I do not tell people that they should worship according to rabbinical tradition. I tell them they must worship according to the Bible.
“When I speak to people, I speak according to the Holy Spirit of God. Is this not ‘kosher,’ as you say? You believe the Bible is not kosher [“fit for ritual use”], but all those many rabbinical traditions are?
“How shall I speak to people?Shall I use fictitious stories or the Holy Bible?”
The man listened carefully to my words. Finally he replied, “You put me in a difficult situation. I do not know how to answer you.”
As we spoke, more of our neighbors appeared, and every one of them wanted to prove that he knew more than the others. But when they began to speak, they admitted that faith must be based on the Bible.
But this was not the end. Soon more people came who considered themselves extremely religious and great scholars. But they, too, could not go against the Bible.
Because we spoke so near our homes, more of our neighbors arrived. And each one wanted to take part in the discussion concerning whether it was better to have faith according to the Bible or according to rabbinical tradition. Now we began to reach the deep heart of the matter.
“You know,” someone said, “you speak like those who believe in This Man.”
“I do not believe as you do,” I replied. “I have only this one little book, the Holy Bible. I do not mean to frighten you. But some of these people asked me if I read the New Testament. And I told them that it, too, is part of the Bible.”
“And the New Testament is where you read about This Man!” one declared.
“Not only in the New Testament, but also in the Hebrew Scriptures,” I said.
From that moment, tensions increased. “Show us where such a thing is written!” they demanded.
“Read from Isaiah 53, and you will see with your own eyes about whom the prophet spoke.”
“You have made a big mistake,” they all told me.
So I opened my Bible and began reading. I particularly wanted them to hear verses 5–6:
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.
“About whom is this written?” I asked. Someone quickly took the Bible from my hands and turned it around and around, trying to determine if it was truly the Bible. But he could not find anything “unkosher” about it.
“We have to ask our rabbi what he says this means. We do not know what to say.”
But I continued to ask, “Who was this one who was pierced for our transgressions? Who was He? Do you know?” I continued to read.
Now differences of opinion arose among them. Finally someone asked me, “Who do you say this is?”
“I say we must pay attention to what is written here. This is God’s eternal Word, and no one can erase the truth. As it is written, ‘Forever, O Lᴏʀᴅ, Your word is settled in heaven’ [Ps. 119:89]. People may try to erase His words, but they stand firm. He is this one who was pierced for our transgressions. And His name is Yeshua Hamashiach [“Jesus the Messiah”]. This is a fact.”
To my joy, they received this information well. I pray we will have more discussions about This Man, for He alone can give spiritual peace to a restless soul.