Once every two months, I take my wife to the hospital for an eye checkup following a cornea transplant. The last time we were there, two Russian-Orthodox priests sat next to us. We began conversing, and our discussion quickly turned to the matter of faith.
Like the many ultra-Orthodox Jews I have spoken to over the years, they were very sure of themselves and showed me their commentaries, which they were positive contained the root of faith. They trusted in the words of men, rather than in the living Word of God.
I showed them my small Bible and asked, “Which book is of greater value?”
One of the priests answered, “We do not want to see anything in Hebrew because we do not speak that language.”
I know Russian, so I replied, “If you like, I will give you a complete translation of any passage in this book.” Then I asked, “Have you ever heard about the Bible?”
“Oh yes,” he said. “Do you have a copy with you?” To their surprise, I told them the little book I held in my hand was the Holy Bible.
When we began to speak about Jesus, the priests were sure they knew everything. I told them, “We must believe in Jesus Christ, not according to commentaries— which are merely the words of men—but according to the Holy Bible. This book alone shows us how to come to God.”
New Russian-Jewish immigrants in the waiting room also listened attentively to our conversation, and most of them agreed that true faith in God comes only according to the Bible.
But you must take a good look at the Holy Bible and see what the Lord truly wants from us. He wants us to love Him and obey His commandments.I told them, “For the millions of genuine Christians, the most important book is the Holy Bible.”
Although they believed themselves to be Christians, these people were walking in darkness because they had never found the true way to faith in Christ. I was not surprised when one of the priests asked, “How did you, a Jew, come to believe in Christ?”
I replied, “I can tell from your question how blind you are; you do not even know from which people Jesus came. You must read the Bible, not your fictitious books.”
They asked where in the Bible it was written that Jesus was Jewish. I said, “Moses spoke of Jesus coming from the Jewish people.” I then read Deuteronomy 18:15, 18: “The Lord your God will raise up for you [the Jewish people] a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. I will . . . put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” I continued, “The Bible clearly explains Christ’s earthly heritage. The Bible is the root of our faith, not your books.”
After we talked more, one of the Jewish immigrants asked, “How can a Jew be so faithful to another religion?”
I responded, “I know you believe yourselves to be good Jews because you follow the rabbinical traditions. But you must take a good look at the Holy Bible and see what the Lord truly wants from us. He wants us to love Him and obey His commandments. In the Holy Bible we read of the faith of our fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and the words of our prophets. This book has been hidden from you in Russia for a long time. Even here in Israel, you are only told about the Old Testament. But if you would study that carefully— especially Isaiah 53, which is never read in the synagogues—you would see for yourselves it speaks of Jesus Christ.”
They were very surprised. “That is impossible!” one exclaimed.
I replied, “It is true.” I then read Isaiah 53 to them and carefully explained what it meant.
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This was a wonderful witnessing opportunity. After my wife’s examination was finished, I spoke with these people for another half hour.
As it is written in Isaiah 9:2, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” I pray the light of Jesus will shine in their hearts and they will understand what it means to truly love God.
—The Friends of Israel Archives, 1998
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.