MY DAY OF ATONEMENT
© Tree of Life 2019
When Ran’s wife accepted Jesus, he thought she had joined the enemy camp. But then he had a life-changing encounter on the Day of Atonement.
Ever since he was a child, Ran had a fascination with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Even though his parents were secular, he would go on his own to the synagogue for the service on that day –ever since he was 6 years old!
Yom Kippur is a unique phenomenon in Israel today. No one works, no one drives (If you do you may have stones thrown at your car!), most people don’t use electronics, and many fast and pray. It’s a solemn day of silence and self-examination - the holiest day in the Jewish year.
“I was drawn to Yom Kippur, because I felt on the inside that I had sin in my life and I wanted to receive forgiveness.” Ran reminisced. “I wanted to come back to God, but I didn’t know how.”
I wanted to receive forgiveness. I wanted to come back to God, but I didn't know how.
Like most Israelis, Ran lived a secular lifestyle. He got married to a sweet woman named Rina and established a family.
Then one day, Rina’s nephew, only 2 years old, was diagnosed with cancer. It was so serious that the family started to think they’d never see him again, and decided to begin praying intensely.
But Ran and Rina weren’t sure about how to pray. So Rina turned to her teacher from 20 years before, Hannah, for advice. Hannah helped them through this challenging period with prayer and support. And God did a miracle: The child was completely healed!
Ran found what he'd been searching for in the last place he wanted to look.
Ran and Rina were deeply touched, and Rina began a Bible study with Hannah and soon afterwards received Jesus, Yeshua.
Then one day Ran came back from work and found a New Testament on the coffee table.
“What’s this book doing here?” he asked Rina angrily. “We as Jews don’t accept Yeshu [curse word for Yeshua]! Think of the Inquisitions, the pogroms, the Holocaust! Do you know how many Jews have died because of him?”
In spite of his opposition, Rina started attending a local congregation every Shabbat, leaving Ran at home with the kids. Things started changing around the house, and Ran was worried about how this would affect their family. “This isn’t the woman that I married!” he thought to himself.
And he was right. Yeshua really was changing her from the inside. And eventually Ran came to appreciate her faith. He also met several other believers in Yeshua who shared their faith.
One night, Hannah invited Ran and Rina to dinner, where they met Ariel and Shayla. They shared the Gospel and their testimonies with him, and told him about their street interview videos: one about Isaiah 53, and one about the true meaning of Yom Kippur (video available only in Hebrew).
He watched both videos and was especially moved by – you probably can guess – the Yom Kippur video.
Ran realized that every part of the Day of Atonement had been pointing to Yeshua.
Then Yom Kippur 2015 arrived. Ran woke up in the morning and saw the New Testament on the table. He told Rina, “You know what? I want to read it.”
Wisely, Rina took the kids outside. Ran found himself alone on that quiet, solemn day of soul-searching – just him and the Word.
He started in Matthew and couldn’t put it down for the rest of the day. He was amazed by Yeshua’s character: “Wow, what this Man went through and what He did – there’s something unique here!”
Then it finally dawned on him: What he’d been searching for all his life was found in the last place he wanted to look. Every part of Yom Kippur had been pointing to Yeshua: His blood provides the perfect atonement. He is the ultimate sacrifice, the eternal High Priest, the only Way to eternal life.
Rina came back and what Ran told her next left her speechless: “Listen, Rina,” he said, “I’ve been reading it all day without stopping. Everything you’ve been reading here is true!”
He went down to the playground with the kids and “by chance” saw his neighbor Stefan (who’s now a pastor), and bombarded him with all sorts of questions! By then, Rina was calling Ran to come home since the Day of Atonement fast was already over, but Ran didn’t care – he just wanted to know more and more about Yeshua.
The next Shabbat, the whole family came together to the congregation. Soon afterwards, Ran gave his life to Yeshua.
Today, Ran and Rina are highly involved in building God’s Kingdom: Ran initiated a weekly men’s prayer meeting, and they both host a family support group and co-host a homegroup at their house. They’ve also brought their whole family to outreaches with us.
Ran’s life is very different now. “My perspective, my attitude toward others, my desires and motives have been transformed. My marriage is significantly better – we have a much deeper relationship and a common goal,” Ran said.
He summarized it well: “Yeshua has completely changed our lives.”