My father and Mother are Jewish. I grew up in the traditions of the Jewish faith. I learned that I had to do certain things to be spiritual. My parents believed in God and encouraged me to do the same. To discover spiritual truths for my life according to the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus was seen as no more than a human being, as a teacher but not as a deity. My family rejected Jesus Christ without any scriptural text to back it up.
For me growing up in my Jewish home, God was a distant entity with no active role in my life. My life was one of study, living our traditions and ceremonies of Judaism. This limited view of God freed me from having to answer to Him for my sins. Yet, I knew God was out there somewhere. My Jewish upbringing told me that I had to be a good person, help others, and be kind, and generally, I was. I looked for fulfillment through my family, friends, and activities.
I felt something deep in my heart that “God” wanted me to come after Him, but I ignored it. I was arguing with everyone over meaningless issues so I wouldn’t have to face the real problem that I felt. I was taught that if I accepted Jesus, I would reject my Jewish heritage. If I rejected my Jewish heritage, I would risk my family’s love and acceptance. My understanding of God would be forever changed if I left Judaism.
The fact is that I am a Jew. I always will be a Jew. And I am a Christian. I didn’t know I could be Jewish and still accept Jesus as the Messiah. Did you know that Jesus was a Jew? He was raised in Jewish traditions. I was introduced to Jesus while visiting a church with a friend. I heard some interesting and challenging things from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). I decided to examine the scriptural evidence. I studied the “whole” Bible. I studied prophetic scriptures. I checked the Roman historical works of Josephus, and I even researched archeological evidence about Jesus. I immersed myself in the evidence surrounding Jesus’ life and His claims. The evidence I found demanded a response.
I wanted more answers, and I came to the prophet Daniel. My examination of the scriptures initially caused me grief and doubt about all I had learned as a child. As a Jew, I was taught to look for the Messiah, but I did not know exactly what to look for. Daniel 9 told me that Messiah would come before 70 A.D. That’s a fact, and it happened. But what was this all about? Why was this fact hidden from me for so long? Had I missed the Messiah? I found other passages in the Old Testament, like Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, about Jesus being the Messiah.
I turned to my rabbi for answers. I was not comforted by the statement that Daniel’s prophecy was a parable and never happened. His response caused frustration and raised questions. How could I accept some of the books of the Old Testament but not the others? This was a cross-road moment in my life. I heard a timeline of the events leading to the coming of the Messiah. I was faced with an undeniable truth and evidence that demanded my yes or no answer. I accepted and invited Jesus into my life as my personal Savior in December 1973.
I know that the facts are Jesus is the Messiah. He fulfilled the prophecies written about Him. How could there be any doubt in my mind of His deity after finding and believing the truth of God’s Word? I have known and believed in Jesus as the Messiah for forty-nine years. My call to ministry, direction, purpose, and meaning for my life is clear and strong. Jesus died so that I would have eternal life and His peace and freedom. I have certainty now. I have the truth. I have found the way. I have a new life. I know my destination. I have Jesus, the Son of God, in my life!
Hebrews 1:1-3 (4-14) (New Living Translation) says, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance and through the Son he made the universe and everything in it. The Son reflects God’s own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.”
This passage of scripture was written to struggling believers, encouraging them to hold on to their faith. Jesus is the message brought by messengers. Angels SERVE the saints (v14), but Jesus SAVES the saints (v 3). Angels have an APPOINTED place of service. The King, Jesus Christ, is ANOINTED as our Savior. This passage points out:
- He is the Owner of all things
- He is the Creator of the worlds – by whom He made the world
- He is the Sustainer of the universe
- He is the Redeemer of humankind – cleanses us of all sin
- He is the Lord above all the heavens and earth
- He is our Priority. And we worship Him. It is all about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will come; there will be power, miracles, and signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit only when Jesus is FIRST lifted up!
There is someone we all know who is an example of others we meet throughout our lives. This person would tell us that they are a Christian, yet they would be critical and fearful of the church, its leaders, and any organized religious group telling us it is too difficult or too hard to be part of these groups. They might talk of their private religion with “the Man” upstairs. They would say to us that they are misunderstood and not accepted for who they are, and all these church people want to do is to change us into something we cannot become; it is too exhausting. How wrong they are to think that we can change them, and how unfair it would be for any of us to assume we can change anyone. All we can do is point people in the right direction, live well in front of them, and show them Jesus, and then they choose for themselves.
1 John 4:18-19, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
The result of our fear is the destruction of our hope. Hope would not exist if something didn’t threaten it. There would simply be life plans. Hope has to do with things we plan for, but they are uncertain in our plans. Uncertainty gives rise to fear. Love casts out fear, and now we have hope in Jesus because of Jesus, the Messiah.
Today is Friday, but Sunday is coming. Come and hear about Jesus, who is the only Son of God!