First time I heard from Yonatan was by an email that arrived to Tiferet Yeshua Inbox. It read something like this: “Hi, my name is Yonatan. I am new. Don’t know yet where to go from here. I will probably not be able ever to tell my family that I believe in Yeshua. How do I continue from here? I will be happy to get a phone call from you”.
The following day I called Yonatan and heard an amazing testimony from him. Yonatan was raised in a national orthodox family. When he was in his twenties, his father passed away due to medical malpractice and Yonatan, who was very close to his father, felt betrayed and turned away from God and the orthodox faith. For several years he was living his life as a secular Jew, which led him to feel empty and seek God again. While surfing the web, he found a testimony of a messianic Jew and was shocked – How can a Jew believe in Jesus?!? How can a Jew “betray” his identity and people in this way?? He completely rejected this option.
Sometime later, he found himself on military reserve duty in enemy territory during an army operation. He was for some days with several soldiers from his unit in an area along the front lines, when one day, on guard duty his shoe lace opened and when he bent down to tie it a bullet went right above his head almost touching his hair! He was shaken and felt that clearly a higher power was in work here saving his life. The following night, he saw in a dream a person clothed in white telling him “Your sins are forgiven. Go out from here”. When he woke up, he decided to convince his fellow soldiers that they had to leave this place, and immediately after they left, bombs fell down on the exact location where they were just several hours before!
After the operation ended and he was released from reserve duty, he went on to investigate on the internet the meaning of the words “Your sins are forgiven”. Immediately information about Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) came up. As he was reading through teachings of messianic prophecies in the Tanach (“Old Testament”), he was stunned by how clearly they point to Yeshua and he started to realize that it was the Lord himself who appeared in his dream and saved him and his friends! Still it was a long process until he was freed from the deep anti-messianic religious sentiments and prayed to accept Yeshua as his Lord and Savior. That is when he wrote his email to us.
After our phone conversation, I invited him to meet with me in our offices at the congregation. We spent several hours together talking and reading through the bible. It was so wonderful to see his excitement as he understood more and more of the faith. He was saying over and over again “this is the truth! People must see it!”. It is so gratifying to see people opening their hearts to God to convict them deeper and deeper with the truth of His beloved Son!
Yonatan started to go to a congregation close to his home, where he was mentored and grew in his faith. We kept in touch as he came from time to time to Tiferet Yeshua to participate in prayer meetings, bible lessons and our “alpha course”.
We discussed the issue of baptism as a declaration of faith, a commitment to follow the Lord, and a symbol of death of the old man and re-birth from the Spirit – a new creation in Yeshua. A couple of months ago he told me that he was ready to be baptized, and together with brothers and sisters from his congregation, we spent several wonderful hours at the beach – listening to Yonatan giving a beautiful testimony of His faith, baptizing him and praying for him to receive the Holy Spirit.
Yonatan shared that he felt a great warmth filling his body and he was filled with joy. He has already shared with his family his faith in Yeshua, and is becoming bolder and bolder sharing with friends and colleagues. He just told me that after sharing with a friend on the phone, the friend told him that they must meet together since he has to understand better this faith that Yonatan speaks about with so much emotion and joy. The Lord has done great work in his heart since that first email saying “I will probably not be able ever to tell my family that I believe in Yeshua”!
Please pray for Yonatan to continue growing in the Lord, stand strong through challenges and trials, and walk in the power of the Spirit to be a great witness of Yeshua. Praise God for His grace to save Yonatan. The same grace that he poured on lost people when He walked upon the earth: “And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2.
This article originally appeared on Tiferet Yeshua, August, 16, 2017, and reposted with permission.