Over the years, the Lord has taught my wife and me to freely welcome people into our home. Guests are always coming and going, and some even sleep here. Once each year an elderly Christian gentleman from Germany visits Israel and usually stays with us.
When he visited this year, he said, “Zvi, I am 80 years old now. Before I die, I want you and your wife to visit me in Germany. I want to repay some of the kindness you have shown me over the years.”
My wife had not been outside Israel in 48 years; but, as it is written in Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” So off we went to Germany.
I told them, “You would be surprised how many believe in Him as their Savior among our own people, the Jews. The apostles and the first believers were all Jews, and they believed what is written in Deuteronomy 18:15.”
When we arrived, my friend surprised me with an invitation to speak to a congregation of 400 people, most of whom were Russian immigrants.
Because I know both German and Russian, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to speak about our Savior, Yeshua Hamashiach (Hebrew for “Jesus the Messiah”).
Although many of those present were believers, there were some unbelieving Jewish people in the crowd.
I was reminded of King Solomon’s words, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). They reacted exactly like their brethren in Israel. I knew exactly what they were going to ask. “Did you come here to make us Christians?” one demanded.
I replied, “I have come here to make you good Jews. I want you to turn back to the Bible, and then you will know the whole truth about the Lord and what He expects of us. He wants us to tell of His salvation to the ends of the earth. Because you do not know what the Bible says and do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, I am not surprised you asked such questions.
But now that you have heard the truth, you are responsible before God.”
This was the first time someone from Israel had spoken to them about Christ—and in their own language: Russian.
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Just as Jewish people in Jerusalem always want to see for themselves what I am reading from the Bible, so did the Jewish people in Germany. When German believers spoke with them about Christ, they did not believe them because they were Gentiles and were using what Jewish people call the “goyisheh [Gentile] Bible.” Of course, I was glad to show them my Hebrew-language Bible so they could see for themselves that I was speaking from God’s Holy Word.
My host had another surprise for me during our visit. One day, two leaders from the congregation where I preached visited us, and I recognized them immediately. They had stayed in our home a few years earlier. They were Russian immigrants; and though they had lived near the town of Hanover, Germany, for several years, they still did not know German.
It was a great blessing for me, a Jew from Israel, to preach about our Savior Jesus Christ to so many people and to spend time with two of the leaders of this wonderful assembly. I encouraged them to continue reading the Bible and trusting in the Lord.
I told them, “You would be surprised how many believe in Him as their Savior among our own people,
the Jews. The apostles and the first believers were all Jews, and they believed what is written in Deuteronomy 18:15: ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’ When we trust in the Lord and His Word, we always move ahead spiritually, never backward.”
There is a Yiddish saying, “How can a cat cross the sea?” Likewise, how can a Jew from Jerusalem go to
another country and preach the gospel of Christ? It seems impossible, but it happened. I was thrilled the Lord gave me the special privilege of preaching to so many people, many of whom had never heard the gospel. Truly, as it is written in Isaiah 2:3, “Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The Lord brought forth much fruit, for which we sincerely thank Him.
—The Friends of Israel Archives, 1996
Zvi Kalisher (1928–2014) was known for his unswerving faithfulness to the Lord and his bold witness in Jerusalem. He was with The Friends of Israel for more than 55 years.