History is marked by the emergence of many popular movements. I am thankful that the Lord allowed two of these to coincide with my growing up: American Reform Judaism and the hippie” counter-culture of the 1960’s. These two movements shaped my early life. God saw fit to place me in a Reformed Jewish family. Assimilation into the mainstream culture was encouraged and I assimilated into the drug counter-culture of the late 60’s and early 70’s.
In college, my agnostic attitudes were reinforced by an atheistic professor. However, I w as dating a girl, and she was a “true” Christian. Until then, I had equated the terms Christian and gentile. She shared with me about the historical authenticity of the New Testament. The writings of Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis brought further credibility to the claims of Christ.
On the evening of Easter Sunday 1977, 1 was sent home from work early because business was slow. My apartment was empty. I absentmindedly flipped on the television and I immediately became transfixed by the characters dressed in tattered robes and dirty sandals. The program was the conclusion of the film “Jesus of Nazareth” by Franco Zefferelli.
Jesus taught with such authority and looked at the people with such compassion! He healed the sick and cared for the weak and poor. He agonized in the Garden and there was betrayed by a friend. Tile scriptures from Isaiah 53 flooded back into my mind. Tears welled up at the horrible injustice! Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” My defenses crumbled.
I knew that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah of Israel—the Savior of all mankind. The graphic resurrection account fueled my new faith with awe and wonder. I went to bed aglow. I felt a warm, pure and loving presence with me that night. I no longer felt alone. I am no longer alone!
Note: John now lives in California with his wife Sharon, also a believer, and his four children (another child is on the way!). He is involved in the leadership of his church. He is also a physician who volunteers at the Charity Clinic which offers services to poor Hispanic people. He has been on several short-term missions including his and Sharon’s trip to Asia last summer to aid and encourage the missionaries there. John and Sharon continue to look toward the mission field for their future as they serve the Lord.