Every knock is a boost—that’s what Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen has always maintained. And in making Jesus known, we’ve seen that saying proven over and over.
The Jewish newspaper, the Advocate, has printed a number of negative letters about Jews for Jesus since we got back in town. It was no secret we were reopening our branch, and starting things off with our Behold Your God Boston campaign. The Advocate responded with a slamming editorial, and a cover story to warn” the community about us. But time and time again, we’ve seen God use negative publicity in a positive way.
One day I answered our phone to hear a shaky voice on the other end. Mark was very nervous, he had never called Jews for Jesus before. As I gently began to ask him why he had called, Mark explained that he was Jewish, and that his friends had talked to him about Jesus back in college, some 15-20 years ago. He has not been able to get Jesus out of his mind ever since. When no one is home, he sometimes sneaks a look at the 700 Club on TV.
Mark was being drawn to Jesus but he didn’t know what to do. Then he saw the Jewish Advocate‘s cover story about us. That’s how he knew we had come back to Boston. When Mark read that article he felt he had to call us. Ironically, the article was trying to keep people away from us, but when God is working in a person’s life, He can use anything to accomplish His purpose.
Mark said he had just gotten his first Bible. He asked me to show him what to read in the New Testament. Everyone who had talked to him before had showed him prophecies in the Old Testament, but now he wanted to read about Jesus. He was too afraid of his family’s reaction to let me send him anything in the mail or even to call him back. But amidst his fear he was starving to read something. I had him read John 3 aloud over the telephone. As he read, he kept pausing, and saying, “Wow.” He finished the chapter and asked, “Is there a passage that explains salvation?” I don’t think I have heard a question like that in seven years of missionary work!
We went to Romans 10. As he read verse 1, “…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved,” Mark gasped. We got to verses 9-12, and then we spoke about what it means to confess Jesus as Lord and to believe in your heart. I talked about God’s faithfulness in answering anyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Mark said to me, “What should I do?” I asked him, “Well, what is it you want from God?”
“I want to know if it is true,” he replied.
“Well, let’s ask God to do that for you.”
“Just talk to him?”
“I have never done that before.”
Mark and I talked a little about what he wanted to say to God and then he prayed one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard, asking God to show him the truth about Jesus. And then he asked God for courage to do what he knew was right.
When he finished praying, Mark sounded relieved and joyful. As we continued our conversation, he interrupted me. “I want to do what it said.” “Excuse me?” He went on to say he wanted to do what we read about in Romans 10. My stomach was full of butterflies as I led Mark through a prayer of repentance and salvation. He was so excited.
But he was still very much afraid of what his wife, kids and the rest of his family would say or do if they knew. He did not want to give me his phone number. He said he would call me, but as of this writing I have not heard from him. I know Mark’s cry to God was sincere. Please pray that God will conquer those fears and give Mark the grace to openly confess Him. I may hear from Mark tomorrow, or I may never hear from him again. He is now, as he has always been, in the hands of the Lord.