The Most Famous Jew
Who is the most famous Jew of all times? You and I know the answer, but do most Jewish Israelis? Using this provocative question, we have been distributing invitations to receive free copies of a classic film version of the life of Yeshua.
Working through the accepted practice in Israel of “stuffing mailboxes” with advertising sheets, members of Tents of Mercy home cell groups have been able to cover numerous streets here in the Kriyot district of the Haifa Bay. What an opportunity! In this way we can share our Messiah with virtually every household. In fact, throughout Israel this has been happening for the past 4 years or so. Across the country literally thousands have responded, opening doors to touch the lives of our people in a personal way.
Though the film was made in the 70's, it was filmed here in Israel, largely in the very places where Yeshua's ministry happened. Some of the actors and all of the “extras” are local people. In the Hebrew version it all looks quite natural. In some scenes Yeshua wears a tallit (the Jewish prayer shawl) and is seen reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue. There is a deep compassion and simplicity without losing the supernatural dimension of the miraculous. Clearly portrayed are the conflicts between Satan and Yeshua, pride and humility, religious bigotry and the righteousness of God.
Our two staff evangelistic workers, Valera and Vered, have been making personal visits to each home where the film was delivered. Valera is an immigrant from Russia and focuses on the Russian speaking homes. This ex-convict with a ready smile came to faith while he was locked in a Soviet jail. Vered concentrates on the responses of Hebrew speakers. She came to Israel from Hungary's dark history of Holocaust and Communist domination (see OASIS, July 2002, for her testimony). Her depth of compassion opens hearts quickly. They have been following up diligently. Here are their reports.
“A retired doctor invited his relatives to watch the Yeshua film with him, then his neighbours for a second showing!”
Valera: We first took members of the home cell groups with us to deliver the videos to the people who requested them. On that first visit it was not necessary to speak deeply about Yeshua, but for them to receive the video. Once they had time to view it, we began calling and asked “What do you think of the film? Would you like to receive more material? A Bible?” One man said, “Yes, todah rabbah [thank you so much].” When I arrived he and his wife were together. They were quite nice. He was a retired doctor. He agreed with me and with the Bible. Interestingly, he said that he received the film and invited many of his relatives to watch it with him. Afterward, he said that he wanted to invite his neighbours to the “second showing.” He was so nice. I invited him to the congregation. Because of sickness he can’t come. I said Yeshua took not only our sins, but also our sicknesses. To this he agreed. He said that he would like me to come back and visit again.
Another woman who saw the film said, “Please bring me more material. I want to see more.” I brought her videos of Ben Hur and Moshe, my own copies. I don't need to keep these films; I've seen them. This is our history. It's the background for Yeshua's life.
Now we have placed this same offer (to receive the Yeshua video) in a popular local Russian paper. More people will be calling in to request the film.
Vered: What I see is that the majority of the people are hungry to know Him. Many of them have heard of Him. It's not the first time. The people I've been visiting are really precious people. Every one is open. They are ready to hear. This is a new situation.
“I already believe in Jesus 99%.”
There was an 84 year old man named David. He came in the 50's from Ukraine. He heard about Yeshua in other parts of the world. He is very smart, speaking several languages. On the phone he told me “I already believe in Jesus 99%.” I went to visit him. We sat for an hour. “If you already believe 99%, why not all the way?” I asked. The trials of life had made it difficult. But when I offered to pray with David to come the last 1%, he gladly prayed with me to receive Yeshua. His family is well known and therefore he is reluctant to come to the kehila. He requested further visits. Please pray for continued contact.
Meir asked to speak with me together with his wife. She needed heart surgery. He also has been hearing about Jesus as the Messiah for a long time. Now he's begun to understand something through the video. It's hard for him to come to attend our congregation. He asked me to return and especially to help his wife. They watched the film together. She is weak and worried and requests help. He is ready to receive the Messiah.
“Mooki received Yeshua at the end of the film before I even visited him.”
Mooki, a man in his 50's, received a film. He responded to the invitation at the end of film. He gave his life to Yeshua right then and there, before I even visited him. I wept when he told me this. He's busy and can't come right now, but please pray for further contact.
All his life Reuven has been searching for the truth. He saw the film and liked it. He was once an observant Jew, but turned away because of the hypocrisy and the religiosity. He said “I was looking for God, not for a religion. He has asked for a man to come and help him grow in the faith.
Every one who is receiving the film wants contact with us. One contact name had been written with an incorrect address. The Lord said put the film in a box. At that moment a young man opened the very post box we had just put the film in. He took the film, and kissed it. and ran into his apartment. Later he called and asked “Who are you.” I said “We are Messianic believers.”
At Tamra, a drug rehabilitation center, we showed the film with the approval of the manager. This is not a bible-based center. An Arab-speaking Israeli who had sold drugs saw the film and we spoke with him at length. Amar came to faith the same evening, repenting of his sins. He lives in Jerusalem and we will be in contact. He also wants to come to Ohalei Rachamim (Tents of Mercy, where several Arab Israelis are now attending on a regular basis.) Pray for Amar, as there is tension in his marriage now as the result of his receiving Yeshua.
Who do men say that I am?
In Matthew 16 Yeshua asks "Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" They reply "Some say John the Immerser, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Then Yeshua zeroes in by asking "But who do you say that I am?" It is for each person to discover the answer to this question during his lifetime. Peter said "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus responded "Blessed are you…for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." This is our fervent prayer - that the Father would reveal His Son, the Messiah, to one Israeli after another after another after another.