I always had a strong Jewish identity, but it disturbed me that I didn’t know what God expected from me as a Jew. In college I even kept kosher for a while, but this didn’t bring me closer to God. It seemed there had to be something more.
In my thirties I began to explore New Age philosophies and practices. These explorations convinced me that there was no such thing as sin. So, as I sat in synagogue on Yom Kippur, 1995, I wondered, What am I doing here, asking God for forgiveness?”
In the months following I reached an all-time low and was looking for relief from the miserable circumstances in my life. I realized that no one, including myself, could help me. I had a disturbing phone call and when I hung up the phone, I proceeded to turn on the radio. I could only get static, until I tuned into a familiar voice. It was the voice of messianic music artist Paul Wilbur. I knew who he was, because I had heard him speak two days earlier at a friend’s church. I went into my living room and desperately asked God to show me the way. Then I read all about Jesus till early morning. I learned that He, too, was a Jew. I learned that to be one with God I had to be one with Christ. I didn’t understand what that meant but, by the grace of God’s Holy Spirit, I couldn’t deny it was true.
The next evening I sat in a church with 3,000 other people. Amazingly, I sat next to a Jewish believer in Jesus whose family belonged to my synagogue. The next day, as I listened to Paul Wilbur’s tape Shalom Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that Jesus is Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And the following day I ran into two more Jewish believers at a coffee shop. That night I prayed to God and accepted Jesus as Lord.
Yet, I still didn’t understand what it meant that Jesus died for my sins. So I asked God, and He showed me in Torah that at Yom Kippur two goats were selected. One was to be slaughtered as the atoning blood sacrifice and one was to be used as a scapegoat, bearing all the sins of Israel. Through God’s Holy Spirit, I was able to see and understand that now Jesus is both the necessary atoning blood sacrifice and the scapegoat, bearing all the sins of humanity.
It is a marvelous privilege to be Jewish and to understand belief in Yeshua with a Jewish perspective. I am overjoyed to finally understand what God expects from me as a Jew: to believe in the atoning sacrifice of His Son Yeshua so that I can have a personal relationship with Him and share that with others.