No Handwriting on the Wall
I felt awkward explaining to Linda why I was calling her. Linda’s sister, a Jewish believer, had wanted me to invite her to a special holiday service we were having at our Los Angeles branch. My feelings of awkwardness dissipated quickly as I heard Linda’s response.
That sounds like a wonderful idea,” she said. “I’m going to be honest with you, Holly. I have been thinking about Jesus lately, and I want to know more. I don’t like feeling pressured, but I do want to know if it is true.”
Two weeks later I sat facing Linda, a petite woman with dark hair and deep, penetrating eyes. “Linda,” I began, “can you explain why you feel that Jesus is not the Messiah? Let me in on how you feel about all this. Help me understand how you feel about the entire concept of the Messiah.”
Looking down at her slender, fidgeting hands Linda replied, “I don’t know enough about the Messiah or the Scriptures to object to the ideas about Jesus being the Messiah.”
I assured her that the majority of the people I met knew very little about those matters. I also told her that few were as honest about their lack of knowledge, and I expressed my appreciation for her openness. I prayed with Linda and asked God to lead her to the truth. As I left, I assured her with the Scripture promise from Jeremiah 29:13 that God will show himself to his people, and that they will find him when they search for him with all their hearts.
During the next several weeks, Linda and I met regularly to discuss Scripture. She began to read the Bible regularly. During that time she also began to read a novel she had been given years earlier. Written from the disciples’ point of view, the book gave a great deal of historical information. Although I had prepared Bible studies for Linda, I was rarely able to present them to her because she had so many questions from her reading. Most of our time together was spent dealing with those genuine concerns.
One afternoon Linda said, “Y’know, he was Jewish. He is clearly described in the Hebrew Scriptures, and he said he was the Messiah. Why is it not considered a Jewish thing to accept his claims?”
I explained the many factors that cause people to reject Yeshua’s claims. Then I said, “The bottom line is that people have many reasons—many excuses—for not accepting the Jewishness of believing in Jesus as the Messiah. Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter how people define ‘what is Jewish’. What matters is God’s definition of Jewish. What does God require us to do in response to Yeshua’s claims?”
Linda admitted that if Jesus is the Messiah, God demands that we listen to him as the Greater Prophet described by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-19. Finally Linda was dealing with the issue of whether or not Jesus is that Prophet, the Coming One, the Messiah.
“Linda,” I said, “you have seen from the Scriptures that Jesus may be the one. Why not ask God?”
Linda grinned her assent and told me she would do that. One week later I met with her at her office to talk during her lunch break. From the moment I saw her I knew something was different. She seemed calmer than usual and she smiled confidently as we walked toward the restaurant. As we sat in the booth, Linda told me that she had finished the book about the disciples.
“They all left him, Holly. In a way I felt like I, too, had hurt him and had gone away from him,” she said. Linda began to cry as I read to her from the passage in Isaiah 53 that says all of us had sinned and the Lord had laid on him the iniquity of us all. She asked me if she should do something special if she decided to believe in Jesus. I explained that certain understandings were important in order to make a commitment. I showed her Romans 10:10 about believing in the heart and outwardly confessing that faith with the mouth, and I offered to pray with her.
She said that she couldn’t pray right then in the restaurant. She was afraid of an emotional scene in public because she really needed to confess some things to the Lord. “Can I pray alone later?” she asked. I assured her that she could and I encouraged her to let me know what she decided.
As we walked back to her office, Linda asked, “How come I don’t get some lightning or something? Little things have happened, but…”
“No writing on the wall,” I finished her statement for her. “Well, think about it. God speaks to people in different ways. Linda, believe me, if he thinks you will obey his ‘still, small voice’ instead of ‘loud’ writing, consider it an honor. Besides, the message written on the wall in the Book of Daniel was not good news. Remember the story? God was not pleased with the recipient of his message. If God must use lightning, he will. I prefer the small quiet voice myself.” As I closed the door of her office, I left Linda chuckling over that thought.
Not too long after our visit, Linda called me. “I did it,” she said. “I told him that I know he is the One. It all makes so much sense. Holly, I am so happy!”
I told Linda that all of heaven was happy about her decision too, and that I also was very glad. Linda has been participating in the events at our Los Angeles branch ever since that day. She is becoming a part of a fellowship of believers, and she is understanding our Jewish heritage more than ever. Now she knows that there has been a once-and-for-all sacrifice for her sin. She has peace with God through Yeshua, and that’s better than handwriting on the wall.