Well, this is how one particular Jewish lad became Bar
Mitzvah - Son of the Covenant Blessing
While studying for my Bar-mitzvah ceremony, I was learning
to translate Genesis chapter 22,, in which Abraham is told by G-d to take his dearly loved son, Isaac, to a Mountain in order
to sacrifice him there. Well you can imagine I wasn't too impressed by G-d on this one.. I mean - I bet He wouldn't do it,
I thought to myself.. I really thought I knew what G-d was all about.. until..
.. one July day after my 12th birthday
The "Finchley Carnival" is a fun-fair - held annually
a couple of miles from my home. As I walked through the turnstile I was handed a small piece of paper. It was an invitation
to "Come to the Jesus Tent"
Ha! I'll show them a thing or two, I thought to myself!!
I walked along and the first marquee was the "Baby Show" tent. Strangely enough I wasn't that interested..
but outside the next tent was a multi-lingual placard with words like
"Bienvenu", "Buenos Dias", "Welcome",
Talk about red rag to a bull, or bacon butty to a rabbi...
"Jesus Tent", eh? "What right do these Christians have to use my Jewish language? Since when do Christians use the Jewish
So in I went like a little 5 foot zealot
- like Paul on the road to the Damascan Church, "breathing threats and murder against the church" as it says in Acts chapter
9 verse 1..
When I went in I was met, very pleasantly by a guy named Paul ... the name
of one of my brothers. I told him that I was concerned about the Christians using "my language".. We talked for a long time,
and he seemed genuinely interested in the fact that I was Jewish. We spoke about forgiveness, sin and all kinds of "religious"
words like that. Paul showed me many of the promises that God made about sending His Servant, the Messiah, which were written
in the Hebrew Bible - what people usually call the "Old Testament."
I was absolutely amazed at this, but didn't
know what to do next.. it was getting late and I had to cycle home.. I took a number of leaflets with me and thanked Paul
for his time.
That night I remembered what was written on someone's t-shirt
in the Tent.. words spoken by a young Rabbi two millennia ago, in a room upstairs in a small building in Jerusalem, as he
took part in the Pesach meal:
(John's gospel chapter 14 verse 6)
Well, that was a really serious claim.. if it was true. I read more, about
the way Jesus was put on trial, prophecied over 700 years previous in Isaiah chapter
53, condemned to death.. how He suffered the terrible agony of crucifixion.. prophecied
centuries before in Psalm 22
and finally how after dying, having a spear thrust into His side,
He was buried.
Or perhaps finally after all..
I read on.. about His resurrection from the dead, prophecied also
in Isaiah 53.. I came back to one other verse in John's gospel. chapter 3, verse 16:
G-d loved the world so much that He gave His
one and only Son
that anyone who believes in Him will not die
but will live for ever"
Now, what was it I had thought about Abraham?? - how unfair
it was of G-d to tell Abraham to put the wood on his son's back, to take him up the hill,
to offer him as a sacrifice.. and yet here was Yeshua, G-d's beloved Son, with the wood
of the cross-beam on His back, going up the hill to the place of crucifixion, to be offered as a
sacrifice, once for all time..
I went back to the Carnival the following night.
As I approached the Tent I started to cry. I found myself weeping
because in a small way I'd begun to see what a life I'd lived. I used to steal, to lie, to cheat.. I used to be so deceitful..
I would argue.. I was so selfish.
I wasn't worthy to stand before G-d.
I went into the Tent and sat down at a table. Someone was singing
an old song "Put your hand in the hand of the Man Who stilled the waters". I really wanted peace -I wanted "Shalom" mOl& in the middle
of the storms of life, I wanted peace.
Someone came up to me, sat down and put their arm round my shoulder.
"Is there anything we can do?" he asked. I just blurted out how I felt - that in the words of the Bible I was a sinner.. I
was no good in G-d's sight. The young man simply said that he knew G-d loved me so very much.. that Jesus really did die to
take away my guilt.. everything that stood in the way of having a real relationship with G-d, my Father. By this time a few
others had gathered round as we talked. Finally the young man asked me.. "Do you want to know Jesus?". My response was immediate:
"Yes, I do", I said. So he prayed a simple prayer, talking naturally to G-d, His heavenly Father, amazingly, he started by
thanking G-d for creating me, thanking Him for loving me, for bringing me to the Tent, and thanking Jesus for dying, and rising
Then he asked me if I would pray a prayer with him. I repeated simple
phrases after him.. talking to G-d in a real way for the first time in my life. I said how sorry I was for my past. I thanked
Jesus for giving me the chance of a brand new life. And then I asked Yeshua to come and live within me by His power.
Suddenly it was as if fireworks had gone off inside me!!
whole body - inside and out - felt washed by a powerful burst of energy - like a strong waterfall.. my eyesight became sharp,
my hearing became clear, everything became vibrant and real.. and I knew.. I that I
had been forgiven. Now I was laughing and crying with tears of joy and happiness! It was real - everything that had been written
about Jesus - I knew beyond doubt - it was real!
I knew from that moment on, even though I would fail Him, and I would stumble
my way into heaven, that Jesus was with me for all time, and for eternity..Best Friend, Guide, Shepherd, G-d and King!!
Within a short while, I was outside the tent telling people: "I've met Jesus!! I've
found my Messiah! I've been forgiven!! He's real!!"
Over the weeks I began to meet with others who
believed this amazing truth... I read the Hebrew scriptures with a new intensity, I prayed and sang praises to Avinu Malchenu
our Father, our King -
and although I often did let my Yeshua down,
I knew then,
as I know know, that my life will never be the
Yeshua has made all the difference -
A while ago I went up to London, and drove past the place where
I first really heard that amazing news about Jesus - Yeshua - the Messiah,over thirty years ago. Then I went a couple of miles
down the road and stood outside the house our family used to live in for so long. It was raining.
The conifer trees still smelled the way they used to the day
my father laid the tarmac in the drive. I remembered him building the garage. I remembered cutting the hedge, washing the
car, cutting the grass. And now? Now other people live there. Other people cut the grass.. other people drive their cars in
and out, use the front door, sit in the garden.
And what has happened since
the day I left that house?
So very much. My life has changed and turned,
the days and months, years and seasons
have turned around.