THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.
In a previous gracEmail I told of speaking, in a B’Nai B’rith program, on the Christian understanding of the Old Testament. As we moved into Q&A from Lecture, I urged these Jewish men to consider the claim of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets. A gracEmail subscriber who read the report now inquires further: “But what of your audience? Obviously they did not stone you. But did they believe you?”
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The gentleman who invited me to take part in the B’Nai B’Rith program and assigned my topic was a litigation attorney and a pious Jew. We met as trial lawyers in adversarial roles, but we quickly formed a friendship based on mutual respect–which led him to invite me to speak, and led me to accept his invitation. During the event itself I felt that God gave me words, for both the hour-long presentation and for the hour-long Q&A that followed. Feedback to conference planners was enthusiastic and totally positive. And before I left the conference to go home, my friend asked if I would consider participating in the same event the following year. I told him that I would be delighted to do that.
The next year my friend never mentioned the matter. Two years after that we happened to cross paths. He saw me approaching and was immediately apologetic. “We had a little problem,” he explained with a sheepish grin. “After your session, it took the rabbi the rest of the week to get the men all straightened out.
Of course I am due no praise for anything that happened in that regard. I have said already that God supplied the words that came from my mouth. God has all the options. He can use us as his mouthpiece–or, just as easily, order the rocks to do his talking. Or perhaps a donkey. Or some old desert bush on fire.
The Holy Spirit “comes riding in the chariot of the gospel,” said Luther–and he was correct. How was my message received on this occasion? The truth is that I do not know. The audience listened respectfully and interacted with keen insight. What God had done previously in their hearts . . . what he was doing that day through the words he gave me to speak . . . what he would do in those hearts in the future, I simply do not know. God opened a door. I opened my mouth. It is God’s responsibility to open hearts. We sow but God grows. That is what I know.