Asaf Pelled, ‘How to be Jewish and believe in Jesus Christ’

Asaf Pelled was raised in a kibbutz as an atheistic Jew. Reading the New Testament he discovers that following Jesus makes him a true, deeper Jew. Watch his testimony: Asaf Pelled, “how to be Jewish and believe in Jesus Christ”

Subtitles from youtube video

Hello. Shalom. My name is Asaf Pelled. I am a born Israeli, born in 1980, born and raised in the kibbutz Ruchama in the south of Israel. Son of an Israeli kibbutz member and a Dutch woman who came as a volunteer to Israel. Basically born and raised as a kibbutz kid, just like all the other kibbutz children, nothing special about me. And in growing up, I received the same education. I was raised as an atheistic Jew, something which many people see as an anomaly, something which cannot be, but we made it a reality to show the world that a Jew can be a Jew, without believing in God, without having any relationship with the God of the Bible and with the Bible itself. But being Jews we couldn’t let go of many Jewish symbols like the Sabbath, like the Jewish feasts, like all kinds of landmarks which belong to traditional Judaism. We tried to make them void of God, but we held to them nonetheless. And it went so for quite a few years and then in my teenage years, a time when many of us start to think about the world around us. Who am I, who am I in relation to my parents, my family, to the society I am in, to the world at large? This was a time that I was starting to think more philosophically about the big questions of life. Who am I and what am I doing here on earth? And up till that time I gave a very secular and atheistic answer to these questions. I am here because I evolved from the apes and I am here to make the most of it. It would have gone for quite a while further but at some time God entered this play of my life. And all of a sudden, I, a very rational person, someone who always tries to understand what is before me and only think of things which I can proof, which are factual indeed, came to the realization that there is a God. It was very strange at first. Because I wasn’t a religious man, I didn’t have much contact with religious people whom I saw as inspiring or as having a valid experience as people as Jews. All of a sudden I couldn’t deny that there is a God. And I saw Him everywhere, I saw His hand in nature, in the events which took place in our nation. Still I didn’t know who this God is. I couldn’t deny His existence, but I saw that there is a God. So I did what was upon me. I went to look for this God, to try to find out who He is and how He might reveal Himself. And I always say that if you want to look for God or a deity in Israel you can search for a very very long time. So basically I started closest at home just making contact with an orthodox rabbi. And having some discussions with him, some bible studies. And after that quite a few other options I have explored. And each and every time, although many of the options did seem valid at the moment, there was a still small voice, which told me that is not it. So basically I just went further with my quest for truth. Then happened something, which I didn’t expect. I found at our home somewhere hidden a New Testament in Hebrew, which my mother, coming as a volunteer to Israel received from a Christian volunteer who worked in our kibbutz. And in it she wrote, I hope you and your husband, she was already married at that time, will see the light through this book. And although it didn’t have an effect on them at the time, this was the book in which I met Jesus for the first time. And reading in the pages of the New Testament and reading through the gospels, I was moved and basically what moved me most was the authority with which Jesus Christ spoke. Something which the evangelists say over and over again that the people where astonished, that Jesus talked not just like any other scribe, but as the one who has authority, as God Himself, the Son of God. Although at the time I didn’t understand what it exactly has to do with my life, I knew that my quest to find God centers around this figure, around this person of Jesus. And if I fast-forward the process a bit, then a few years later in 1988, we came to the Netherlands, our family, through a chain of events and in the end of it I found myself in Holland, in a land where there are so many churches to choose from that your head might spin. And I just became part of a Baptist church thinking that they might tell me more about who this Jesus is. And from that moment on my testimony resembles in many respects that of normal Christians. I just came every Sunday to church and heard the Bible explained, heard how world events and how events in my life relate to Jesus Christ. I also saw in practice who Christians are, how they deal with trouble in their own lives, with questions, with doubts, with fears, and basically I saw Jesus in action. I saw how He worked, how He lived among His people. That is what made me a Christian. And through this whole process, there was also the question, how can I as a Jew become a Christian. How can I say yes to Jesus, in whose name my people have suffered for thousands of years. Time and time again I was shown through the Bible, through other Christian people, through the words of Jesus, that the message of Jesus has never been one of war and hate, but one of love and sacrifice to the God of the Bible, to the God of Isaac, Jacob, to Israel. Now I see and believe that there is no dissonance between my being a Jew and my believing in Jesus. It is even stronger. My being a follower of Christ made me a true Jew, more than my father could ever be. This is basically what I would like to challenge you, the listener, to think about and to pray. Whether this Jesus could make you a non-Jew if you believe in Him or otherwise whether He could make you a true, a deeper Jew, than you have ever thought possible.

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