At the end of the last post I promised to tell you about the cure for death. I’d like to begin to do that today with this post by having you read the story below about a man with terminal cancer.
“Mr. Cohen is here, Dr. Kaplan.”
“Please put him in my consultation room, Denise.”
Noah Cohen was 77 years old. Prostate cancer had been diagnosed 6 years ago and was advancing in spite of treatment. Widespread metastases in the bones was causing pain.
“Hi Noah. How are you?”
“The pain’s getting worse Ben. I can’t sleep because of it.”
“Are you taking your pain medication?”
Noah had known Ben Kaplan since Ben’s medical school days. Noah’s older brother had been one of Ben’s professors. Their families had met and over the years had grown close.
Noah had never really accepted his diagnosis of cancer. He knew he had it but was unwilling to acknowledge the seriousness of it. His wife, Sarah, had passed away six months ago, suddenly. A few months before, she had accepted Jesus as her Messiah and Lord. This had caused quite a stir in the Cohen extended Jewish family and it upset Noah. There were no children.
“You know I don’t like to take pills, Ben. I admit the pain is getting worse. Do you think this cancer could kill me? I’m starting to worry about that.”
“Yes, Noah, it could kill you.”
“Ben, what do I have to look forward to? I’m afraid of dying.”
“I understand Noah. Fear of death is very natural. That’s why it’s so important to know that you will be with God for eternity after you die. With that knowledge comes peace,” said Ben.
“You’re talking about Jesus, right? You’ve told me about Him before, about the need for forgiveness of our sins. And you’ve told me that Jesus is my Messiah, the Jewish Messiah, right?” said Noah.
“That’s right. We’re all sinners Noah, we have all broken God’s commandments, and a righteous God can’t have us with Him in heaven unless we are righteous too. Only God Himself can make us righteous and He made that possible by providing the ultimate sacrifice for us, for you and for me. Our Hebrew scriptures talk about this: ‘My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities,’” said Ben.
“You told me about Isaiah 53 before and I read it. My Rabbi said that the servant in Isaiah 53 is Israel, not Jesus.”
“The Rabbis are not always right, Noah.”
“How can I know the truth Ben? I want to know. And I want to know if Jesus is really the Jewish Messiah, and if He is, how could He save me from death?” asked Ben.
“Noah, you say you believe in God, but you have no peace. Why not ask God to tell you if He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for your sins? I believe that God will answer you.”
“I’ll do it Ben. Can we talk again soon?”
Noah Cohen was looking forward to tonight. It was Friday and Susan, Ben’s wife, had invited him to the Shabbat meal. Noah drove down the tree lined street to their home. He always felt comfortable coming here. There never seemed to be pretenses.
“Hi Noah. Glad you could make it. Shabbat Shalom,” said Susan as she gave him a hug. “It’s been too long.”
There were just the 3 of them tonight. Susan lit the candles and said the prayer, ushering in the Sabbath. Ben said the prayers over the bread and wine.
“Dig in Noah. There’s plenty of food,” said Susan.
Noah’s appetite had not been good lately but this table laden with traditional Jewish food was appealing to him. The smells were wonderful and before he realized it, Noah was helping himself. After dinner, over coffee served at the table, Susan spoke first.
“Noah, tell me what’s going on in your life.”
“You know I have prostate cancer and it’s getting worse. The pain is really bad. What really worries me is the thought of death. Ben tells me that this cancer could definitely kill me. I feel like that time is getting close.”
“Ben did tell me that he spoke with you about Yeshua and spending eternity in heaven with Him. What are your thoughts about that?” asked Susan.
“I don’t want to die, at least I don’t want to be put into the ground and have it all end there. That would be just nothingness, a void for eternity. How can I know if there’s more, and if there is, how can I have it?” said Noah.
“Noah, our Scriptures say that one day the wolf will lie down with the lamb and that someone who has lived one hundred years will be a young person. The prophet Isaiah said these things. He was talking about the Messianic Kingdom. The New Testament tells us that it will last a thousand years, and then eternity starts. The soul never dies. The Jewish Messiah, Jesus, came so that our relationship with God could be restored and by accepting Him we will spend eternity with Him, with God. Sarah is with Him now,” said Susan. “Yeshua came to pay the ultimate price, to be the ultimate blood sacrifice. God told us in His word that there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. Let me read to you from the New Testament, or New Covenant, also called the Brit Chadashah in Hebrew,” said Susan.
“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22
“But Susan, that’s from the New Testament. Our people don’t believe the New Testament,” said Noah.
“Ben and I are Jewish and we believe it. So do many other Jews. Sarah believed it. We also believe that the Old Covenant, or Old Testament, and the New Testament, together make up one book. Together they are one complete Bible. But there is something else that you have to know also and that is that God made it clear in the Old Testament that the forgiveness of sins requires the shedding of blood,” said Susan.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” Leviticus 17:11
“But Noah, you must also know that all of the bulls and goats and other animals that were sacrificed in the days of Moses, and afterwards, never provided permanent forgiveness of sins. If they did these sacrifices would not have had to be continually repeated,” said Susan. “That’s why Jesus had to shed His blood and die. Because He is God, the shedding of His infinitely valuable blood once provided permanent forgiveness of sins.
“I never really understood that before, Susan. What you are telling me makes sense.
“Susan, my parents and grandparents never accepted Jesus. Does that mean they’re in hell? How could a loving God send people to hell?” asked Noah.
“Noah, only God knows if your grandparents are in heaven with Him. He gives everyone an opportunity to accept Him. He doesn’t want anybody to perish, to spend eternity separated from Him, to suffer eternal death. God loves you and wants you with Him forever but that can only happen if you are holy and pure, because He is holy and pure. Jesus came to make you holy and pure, righteous in God’s sight, but you have to accept Him for that to happen. It’s a free gift but you have to accept the gift,” said Susan.
“Susan, what do I have to do to accept Him? I want to know that God will accept me now,” said Noah.
“Noah, sit down next to me. Ben, please join us,” said Susan.
The three of them, Noah in the middle, were seated on the sofa, hands joined. Susan explained to Noah how to ask for forgiveness and salvation and Noah prayed on his own.
“Father in heaven. I understand now that I’m a sinner and that I need forgiveness and cleansing. I know that you sent Yeshua to shed His blood and to die for me on the cross to pay the price for my sins. I know that according to your Law, I should die and spend eternity separated from You. Please don’t let this happen to me Father. I accept what You and Jesus did for me. Please accept me into Your Kingdom that I might have eternal life with You. Thank you Father. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen,” said Noah.
After Noah’s prayer Ben wept.
“Susan, I’m going to spend eternity in heaven with God,” said Noah. “It seems too good to be true.”
“You’re right Noah. It does seem too good to be true. But it isn’t. We serve a God who is unbelievably gracious,” said Susan.
“Baruch Ha Shem! Bless the name of the Lord!” said Ben.