â€œJESUS CHRIST. Iâ€™m Jewish and Jews donâ€™t believe in JESUS. Why am I thinking about Jesus at this moment?â€ A few minutes earlier I was riding my Harley Davidson motorcycle as fast as it could go. As I raced though the streets of my neighborhood I looked back and smiled at my friend thinking I had won the race. Without warning, a full size station wagon ran a stop sign and was directly in my path. I tried to stop but it was too late. I hit the station wagon with such force that my body hurled over a hundred feet in the air, doing a complete flip before landing. When I hit the ground, I slid another twenty feet down the dark street before coming to a stop. The sound of crunching metal was so chilling from the impact that people came running out of their houses to see what happened. As I walked back in the direction of the accident, I heard a man calling, â€œDo you need help?â€ After meeting me in the street, he pleaded with me to go into his house to check for injuries. Half dazed, I agreed. Once inside the house, he insisted that I go into the bathroom and remove my clothing thinking I was seriously injured. After removing most of my clothes, we discovered a small cut on my right elbow. The man could not believe I was not more seriously injured.
IT WAS A MIRACLE! I was alive; no broken bones, very little pain, and only a small cut on my right elbow. To give you a better idea as to how hard I hit the car, here are some of the facts. I was traveling between 45-55 miles per hour at the point of impact. The front end of my motorcycle folded under the bottom like a jackknife. Sixteen of the thirty-two spokes in the rear wheel pulled through the rim, some breaking at impact. I was holding the handlebars so tight, that when I was catapulted into the air, my momentum and weight bent the handlebars nearly together. After flying thorough the air, I hit the ground with such force that I ripped a new pair of Leviâ€™s jeans starting at the rear center belt loop, down my left leg, stopping at my knee. After bouncing twenty more feet, I jumped up to my feet and my foreword momentum carried me as if I was running down a steep hill. When I stopped and realized I was alive, the name JESUS CHRIST clearly came to my mind. At that moment I questioned myself saying, â€œwhy am I thinking about Jesus? Iâ€™m a Jew and Jews donâ€™t believe in JESUSâ€
God told Moses in Exodus 19:33; â€˜I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you; I will proclaim my name, the name of the Lord in your presence. I will have mercy, and compassion on whom I will have compassion.â€ I did not realize it at the time but Godâ€™s goodness passed in front of me that night and like Moses, HE proclaimed HIS name in my presence. I now proclaim His name to all who will listen
I was born into a Jewish family living in a suburb of Los Angeles called the San Fernando Valley. My parents are first generation Americans. Like many Jewish immigrants, my grandparents came to America fleeing the growing Anti-Semitism spreading across Europe. By the 1930â€™s, Nazi Germany had become the driving factor of Jewish persecution. Many of my extended family fell victim to Hitlerâ€™s â€œfinal solutionâ€ to exterminate the Jewish people. For this reason, my parents taught me to stand up for my Jewish identity and to fight against any form of Anti-Semitism.
Though I did not grow up in a predominately Jewish community, I did receive some Jewish training. My family went to Sabbath services sporadically, while observing most of the Jewish holidays. I began Hebrew school at age eleven and at thirteen had my Bar mitzvah (the Jewish right of passage to spiritual manhood).
Around the time of my Bar mitzvah, my life began to change. By fourteen years of age, I was introduced to drugs and alcohol. Shortly thereafter, I got involved with small time gang at school.
As a senior in high school, I had grown to 5â€™11â€ and 190 lbs. During that time, I discovered I was stronger than most kids my age. This led me to sign up for a weight lifting class offered at my high school. After a few months of weight training, I was able to bench press as much as my coach, 365 lbs. My ability to lift large amounts of weight gave me a sense of power. This power motivated me to continue lifting weights and get as strong as possible.
I learned one more behavior during my high school years. I learned to be a tuff guy. I was strong and I knew it. People were afraid of me and I began to like that feeling. To further my tough guy image I purchase a 1953 Harley Davidson motorcycle. My goal was to build a chopper. For those of you who are not familiar with the term chopper, it was used in the 1970â€™s to describe the type of motorcycles associated with motorcycle gangs like the Hells Angles. Peter Fonda rode a chopper in the motion picture Easy Rider. What I didnâ€™t realize was that my drug and alcohol use combined with a growing violent behavior was taking me on a one-way road to HELL.
For the next four years, I continued to live as a tough guy; a lifestyle of extreme self-indulgence. If it felt good I did it. If I wanted something I bought it. If I couldnâ€™t buy it I schemed for it. If that didnâ€™t work I took it by force.
Proverbs 20:17 says; â€œBread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. (NKJV)
After four years of living the biker lifestyle. I had become more violent than I thought I could be. The values my parents taught me as a child were no longer important. Womanizing had corrupted my understanding of a healthy male â€“ female relationship, leaving me empty and wanting to be loved. My drug and alcohol use had taken me places I did not know existed and put me in circumstances I never thought possible. Self-indulgence had hit its mark; I was living a life filled with fear, despair, and unhappiness. My sins had become my own punishment; life had lost itâ€™s meaning and at 22 years old, I was contemplating suicide. For a few short years the biker lifestyle was sweet, but as Proverbs 20:17 says, it left my mouth filled with gravel.
Eighteen months earlier, I was introduced to a beautiful gentile girl named Susan. She was not like the other girls I had known. She made it immediately clear that if I were interested in furthering our relationship, I would have to treat her like a lady. Susan knew I wasnâ€™t an angel, but around her I had better be a gentleman. After a year of dating, we fell in love and I asked her to marry me.
Shortly after announcing our engagement, Susan accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Almost immediately I noticed a change in her. She began talking more and more about Jesus. When I couldnâ€™t find her at home she was at church. I soon realize something very powerful was taking place in her life. This became very clear when she told me she loved God more than me. How could she love God more than me? I was tangible and could be communicated with. God was distant, living somewhere beyond the universe.
Over the next few months Susan began to tell me about Jesus. She said, â€œJesus and God are one; and He is the Jewish Messiah spoken about in the Old Testament. God loved me and died for all menâ€™s sin, Jew and Gentile alike. Through Jesus, I could experience the forgiveness of my sin and have a personal relationship with the God of the universe.â€ She reassured me that the God she was talking about was the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; my forefathers.
All this was more than I could handle. From my youth, I was told that Jesus was my enemy. History reveals that the Jewish people who refused to covert to Christianity were persecuted while millions were killed in the name of Jesus. Under Hitlerâ€™s regime, being Jewish was a crime punishable by being sent to the death camps. Now Susan is telling me that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and through Him I could have a personal relationship with the God of my forefathers.
â€œHOW COULD THIS BE?â€
During the same time, I began to experience flashbacks. I would begin to hallucinate, followed by overwhelming fear and anxiety. At first, the flashbacks would come when I was drinking so I quit drinking alcohol and taking drugs. For about a month everything was fine. Then, without warning, I experienced another flashback while I sober. I thought I was loosing my mind, which augmented my feelings of helplessness. One night, while eating dinner with my mother at our favorite Chinese restaurant, I began to have another flashback. I tried to keep my composure, but it became increasingly more difficult as time went on. Fearing I was going to â€œloose itâ€, I finished my dinner and told my mother I was going to see Susan. By the time I parked my truck at Susanâ€™s house I was in a full-blown panic attack. I told Susan I could not go on living this way any longer. I had thoughts of hurting someone or committing suicide. With boldness and love, Susan turned to me and said, â€œJESUS is the answer to your problem.â€ She asked me if her mother could come out to the truck where we were sitting and pray with me. I was so desperate I agreed.
It seemed like an eternity until Susan returned with her mother. Without saying more than a gentle hello, her mother began to pray. The moment I heard the name â€œJesusâ€, a supernatural presence filled the cab of my truck. This presence was accompanied by an authoritative peace of God that continues to fill my heart today. To my surprise I began to cry uncontrollably. I had not been able to cry for years and did not understand what was happening to me. Through the tears I asked Susan what was going on. She told me it was the presence of God; Jesus loved me and was revealing Himself to me. After twenty minutes, I was able to regain my composer. Something very powerful had happened to me that night. God not only softened my hard heart, he filled me with the peace and love I was longing for.
Colossians 3: 15 â€˜â€And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful. (NKJV)
Susan then asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus Christ as my Messiah. Everything I had been taught from my youth told me no, but the peace I was experiencing in my heart screamed yes. Susan then led me in a prayer to accept Jesusâ€™ forgiveness for my sin, and make HIM Lord and Savior of my life. I accepted my Messiah
Jesus said in John 14:27, â€œPeace I leave with you. MY peace I give to you; not as the world gives I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (NKJV)
From that moment to the present, I have walked with Jesus. His peace is not like the peace of the world. His peace is steadfast and sure, giving me strength for each day. I have lived inside that peace for over twenty-seven years now. He has never failed me.
WHAT DO THE JEWISH PEOPLE THINK OF JESUS?
Well, there is really not a single view of Him in the Jewish community. Actually, most Jewish people do not think about Him at all. If they were asked about their views, some would say He was a rabbi. Others, a wise man on the same level as mystic or guru. Those who would hold to this view would typically be the less religious (or secular) Jewish person.
If a Jewish person is very religious (like the Orthodox) then the views tend to be quite negative. To them, Jesus was an apostate Jew and an archenemy of the Jewish people, the founder of a destructive religion that has brought untold hardship and persecution on them through the generations. These are usually shaped from Talmudic tales about Jesus and not at all from them actually reading the New Testament writings.
You might imagine that it was actually the atrocious behavior of so-called Christians which really helped shape these views about Jesus during the dark ages and more recent persecutions as well. These persecutors were the followers of Jesus, so why would we ever want to follow Him?
Jewish people might vary in their views about Jesus, but the majority would say He was not the Messiah and definitely not God. To the Jewish mind, the thought that God could visit us in human form is anathema. From their point of view, any Jew who accepts Jesus is an oxymoron. Like a black man for the KKK or a chicken for KFC.
Thankfully, it is the Holy Spirit who can break through this veil. He does open the hearts of a small minority of Jewish people to search the scriptures. These Jewish people whom the Lord draws are called Messianic Jews meaning they (we) DO accept Jesus as Messiah and God visiting us. One day, the scriptures tell us, the veil will be removed and “..all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:26).
Robert Specter writes:
We had a wonderful 17 days at the Washington State Fair, September 11-27. This was our second year at this fair which draws over one million attendees! Over 3,000 gospel tracts and gospel bookmarks were handed out. We talked to religious Jews, secular Jews, atheist Jews, Israelis, and Praise God, truth seeking Jews!
I had a great encounter with Stacy. She is Jewish and seeking truth. I told her I would pray that God would reveal the truth through a dream or give her some sign that Jesus is the Messiah. She had tears in her eyes as she walked away. Here are some other names of Jewish people to pray for: Beryl, Bonny, Samuel, Miriam, Adam, Jimmy, Edwin, Valerie, Nolan, Eli and many others.
We also talked with many Christians who were surprised to find out that there were some Jewish people who believed in Jesus. We reminded them that there have always been Jewish believers since Yeshua’s first disciples, who were Jews. We also gave them literature and books to help them share their faith with their Jewish friends and family. Special thanks to Nathan Grapes, Brook Kittle, Rachel and Michael Bielefeld, and other volunteers who helped us man the booth. The hours were long, especially the weekends (9am to 11pm!) and we couldn’t have done it with out help.
Last month Rock of Israel set up a booth at the California State Fair. We manned it between 10 to 12 hours a day for 17 days straight. As you can imagine, we had many people stop by because of all the Jewish products we had displayed. Just to let you know we LOSE money at these events (due to the very high cost of booth rental space and travel and lodging) but the conversations we have with people are priceless! One was with a Jewish vendor, a young guy maybe 24 named Shmuel (Samuel). He was very open, listened to the message and took a book offered him by our staff. He promised to read at least one of the Jewish testimonies in there. All in all – we had a dozens of conversations with believers and non-believers at our booth. Gave away hundreds of bookmarks and tracts – and filled up pages of believers emails for our newsletter sign-up sheets.
Robert Specter, President of Rock of Israel, is a Missionary to the Jewish people. He was born in the country of Haiti to missionaries, and raised on the foreign mission field. Robert’s father, Hyman grew up as an orthodox Jew. As a young adult, Hyman had found that Jesus is the Messiah and wanted to tell it to the whole world. As a young man, Robert traveled by bicycle 8000 miles “Pedaling for Christ” and since then has traveled to Europe, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Finland, Japan, Hungary, and of coarse, Israel. This has given him a global perspective. He says his travels and experience point to one overriding belief or philosophy, We must allow God to make us His Light to the Nations just as Israel was meant to be. In 1981 Robert received a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Evangel University and augmented his education with Bible courses from Fuller Theological Seminary. In 1992, after ministering 13 years on staff, Robert was appointed President by the Rock of Israel’s Board of Directors. God then called Robert to move the Rock of Israel’s headquarters from California to Ohio in December 1993. Robert has officiated Passover Seders, â€œJesus in the Jewish Feastsâ€ presentations, and ministers in churches the call to evangelize both “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). He has led ministry teams in street witnessing and other outreaches in many major US cities. He has planned and taught several seminars on Jewish Ministry and held workshops at conferences and conventions. Robert is also the Secretary/Treasurer of The Resource Center for Jewish Ministry. Robert andÂ CarrieÂ live near Cincinnati, Ohio, the birthplace of Reform Judaism in the United States.