A Hasidic Jew I’ve spoken to every day this week was down at the sea later than usual this morning. He’s usually emerging from the water by 6.15 but today I walked the length of the town’s promenade three times before I saw him. He waved to me and I went down to the water’s edge where he was drying his toes.
I asked if he had had a good Shabbos. It had been good.
I asked how he spent Shabbos afternoon. Did he study?
He and his family had a meal that lasted till about three o’clock, then they all went to bed and slept for a couple of hours.
I joked that all the davening in the morning must have worn him out.
Yes, Abraham said, davening is hard work.
I told him that after synagogue I had read a wonderful passage of Scripture and that I’d been meditating on it this morning. Abraham asked what it was and I recited the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. I asked if he knew the passage. He didn’t.
Did he know where it was from? He didn’t and asked me to tell him. I told him and shared a thought that had come to me as I’d been thinking on the passage this morning. God’s Servant in the passage acts as Cohen Hagadol (the High Priest) because he makes intercession for transgressors but he is also the corban, the sacrificial offering. Who could this amazing person be?
My friend didn’t know and asked who I thought the Servant was. I told him that Jesus was the only person who fitted the description of God’s Servant and that in Jesus I had found atonement for my sins. This was why I was so grateful to the Jewish people because I had discovered this truth in their Scriptures. Through Jesus the Jewish Messiah I was enjoying the blessings of the Brit Hadashah (the New Covenant). Did my friend know about the New Covenant?
He had never heard of it; where was it? In Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 31. I explained that, as a gentile, I was once far from the commonwealth of Israel, a stranger to God’s covenants of promise, without hope and without Hashem but through Jesus I had been brought into Israel’s Brit Hadashah and knew Hashem because he no longer remembered my sins and iniquities. Did he know the blessings of the Brit Hadashah?
No, he said, but he was planning to study them with his friends one day. Then make it soon, I said.
“Yes, make it soon and also study Yeshayahu 53.”
As he got into his car and wished me a good day, my heart went out to him. He is so devout and yet in so much darkness.
As I had driven into town this morning and saw the mist lying in some of the valleys, I knew that as the sun rose that mist would evaporate and I prayed that God’s Word, as I shared it with his ancient people this morning, would be like the rising sun and dissolve the mist in which their hearts are enshrouded.
I will have one last meeting with my friend tomorrow and I want to offer him a copy of the New Testament.