About four years ago I became a believer in Jesus Christ. Looking back on it, I consider this event a miracle.
Like most Jewish people, I was taught from an early age that Jews do not believe in Jesus. That teaching was reinforced every year at Christmas. When other children were singing Christmas carols, trimming trees and exchanging presents, I was told I could not do those things because I was Jewish. One time, when I was about eight years old, I saw a children’s Christmas book in a store. I asked my mother if I could buy it. At first she said yes, but when she saw the name Jesus” in the book, she wouldn’t let me get it. Because of all this I was always jealous of those who celebrated Christmas and I would become depressed during the Christmas season.
I grew up in a typical American-Jewish home. My mother did not keep the kosher dietary laws, but we did observe Passover and fast on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I attended Hebrew school for three years. The concept of a messiah was mentioned there, but only a reigning messiah, not a suffering messiah who would die for our sins. Because I was taught that the Messiah would come to set up God’s kingdom on earth, I figured that Jesus could not have been the Messiah, or else there would be no more war, crime, poverty and hatred.
Although I continued to observe the Jewish holidays throughout my high school years, I grew apathetic about the Jewish religion as I went through college. I considered religion a waste of time and felt it did not matter whether or not God really existed.
After college I married a man who had come from a strict Catholic background but had become an atheist. Since he did not believe in God, and I did not care, religion was not an issue between us for several years.
Then something strange happened. I noticed that my husband had started reading the Bible! When I questioned him, he said he had become disillusioned with philosophy and now believed that God was the only absolute truth in the universe. I was amazed by his complete change in attitude.
He started watching TV preachers, including Billy Graham. Occasionally I watched with him out of curiosity. When Billy Graham came to town, we went to see him. I was impressed with his presentation, but did not really believe his message.
One day while I was sitting on the sofa, I looked over and saw a Bible lying on the coffee table. Something drew me to pick it up. I began to read the Book of Matthew, was fascinated by it and kept on reading. It was the first time I had ever read about Jesus, and I was amazed at the miracles he performed. Eventually I read through the four Gospels, then the entire New Testament. What impressed me most was that the four independent accounts of the life of Christ all reported the same events and miracles.
In the meantime, my husband and I discussed the Bible occasionally. He showed me the Isaiah 7:14 passage. I could hardly believe that the Virgin Birth was mentioned in the Old Testament!
Then in December of 1982 there was a full-page Jews for Jesus ad in The Boston Globe boldly stating, “The Messiah has come and his name is Yeshua.” The ad offered a free book, Yeshua, written by Moishe Rosen. It said “skeptics welcome,” and since that described me, I figured I might as well send away for the book.
In the book I read an account of the Old Testament messianic prophecies and how they were fulfilled in the New Testament. These included such passages as Isaiah 7:14, the one my husband had shown me about the Messiah being born of a virgin; Micah 5:2, that he would be born in Bethlehem but would also be preexistent; II Samuel 7:12-13, that he would be descended from King David; Psalm 41:9, that he would be betrayed by a close friend, and many others.
For me the real clinchers were Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. Psalm 22 described the crucifixion of Jesus in such great detail, including the very words he cried out as he hung on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I could hardly believe that the crucifixion was described like that in the Old Testament, but there it was!
And if that were not enough to convince me, the last chapter in the Yeshua book presented Isaiah 53, describing how the Messiah suffered and died for our sins, taking our punishment upon himself. I had been taught that fasting and praying on Yom Kippur was supposed to provide forgiveness for sins. Now it was very clear to me that Isaiah 53 referred to Jesus, and he was the one who had died for my sins.
By now my eyes were “wide open.” There was too much evidence to ignore. I knew that Jesus Christ had fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies and that the New Testament was the logical conclusion to the Old Testament. It would be impossible to believe the Old Testament and reject the New Testament. I would either have to believe the whole thing or reject the whole thing. And in view of all the evidence, I came to the conclusion that the entire Bible was true. Yeshua—Jesus—was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God!
Now I had to reject the myth that Jews could not believe in Jesus. My husband picked up some messianic Jewish literature for me, and that helped a great deal. I also learned that in addition to Jews for Jesus, there were other messianic Jewish ministries, as well. Yes, there were other Jewish people out there who believed in Jesus. Having this reassurance, I quietly asked Jesus to come into my life.
Now I have a lot more than just a Christmas tree. I have Jesus, and the assurance of salvation and eternal life. I thank God for opening my eyes and leading me to his Son!