On the bus today in Jerusalem (21 June 2005), I sat next to Yehuda (Judah). Ruti was sitting in front of us. A thin man in his late twenties, with glasses and an Orthodox black suit on, Yehuda surprised me by not only speaking to me first, but in English. He asked me if I was from England. I told him that I was from the States. He asked me where and I told him that I was born in Brooklyn. I asked him where he was born. Brooklyn also. We were off to a good start, or so one might think but I could sense an anxiety coming from him about me. He was trying to find out 'who I was.' With my long beard and tzit-tziot (tassels), and my un-Orthodox clothes, I was an enigma to him : )
We exchanged how long we had been in Israel, he eight years and me, this time, six, and also where we lived. Him in Jerusalem and me in Ramat Gan. Without wasting anymore time, for I knew that Ruti and I would have to get off the bus in about five minutes, I asked him if he knew the Messiah. He didn't answer that.
Instead, he asked me when the Messiah would come and I told him that he came, 2,000 years ago. He said, 'You mean Jesus?' And I said, 'Yes, His Name in Hebrew is Yeshua, and according to Daniel 9:24-27, the Messiah had to come before the Temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed.' He said that it was my interpretation.
I asked him how he interpreted it and he said that Messiah was going to come and build the Temple. I said that his interpretation could not be accurate,
'as Daniel's encounter with the angel took place in Babylon, when there was no Temple and Jerusalem was in ruins. The angel specifically said that the city would be built up and the Temple also, and it would take 69 weeks (of years), for the Messiah to come. And that Messiah would be cut off or murdered and yet, put an end to sin. And that another prince would come can destroy the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Everyone who studies it agrees that it would have to have taken place before the last Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. (A.D.), not the next Temple.'
He shook his head and told me I was wrong. I heard myself telling him that I had 'found the Messiah' (John 1:41, 45).
'I know that Yeshua is our Messiah because 30 years ago, when I gave my life to Him and asked Him to come into my heart, and to forgive me of my sins, as soon as I did, the Holy Spirit came upon me and I felt Shalom from Heaven.'
He told me, 'You're talking like a child. You have the Holy Spirit? You don't even know what the Holy Spirit is.' I leaned over to him and said,
'You really do need to watch how you're speaking to me. You should show me some respect, even if you disagree with me. I'm old enough to be your father. And Jewish ethics demand such of you'
He told me he was respecting me, but I said to him that I didn't think the way he was even now speaking to me was respectful. That got to him emotionally. I could see that he was shaking a little. I didn't know if it was an authority issue; perhaps something he had or has with his father, or if it was the Holy Spirit making him uncomfortable.
He asked me if I believed in the New Testament. I told him that I did, and also in the Tanach, 'and that in our Tanach, at Jeremiah 31:31-34, our God tells us that He will give us a New Covenant'.
Well, he didn't let me go on, interrupting me again, saying, 'Did you read that in English? You can only know the meaning if you read it in Hebrew. Anyone who reads it in Hebrew knows the Jesus can't be the Messiah.' Of course, that's absurd and I asked him what about it that negated Yeshua from being Messiah. He didn't answer me.
I told him that I had read it in English and in Hebrew. He was a bit surprised. I went on to say that in 'Jer. 31:31, God speaks of giving to the House of Israel and the House of Judah, a New Covenant.' I told Yehuda,
'I am a living witness to you that Yeshua is our Messiah, not only the New Covenant, but me. Today the Messiah has come to you, Yehuda. Don't be like our Fathers in the Wilderness who refused to listen and obey God when He said that He would give us this Land. He was very angry with them for the hardness of heart toward Him' (Num. 14:11; Psalm 95:6-10).
With that, we had come to our stop and we left Yehuda on the bus to think about what I had said. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit continued to minister to him about his Messiah.
Thanks for your prayers for Yehuda.