I remember, as a little boy, my Orthodox Jewish grandfather would leave the room we were in and go upstairs several times a day. I said to Grandma, “Where does grandpa go every day?” “Oh, she said, “He goes to speak with God.”
So I thought to myself, “If grandpa goes to speak with God, God must be a very important person.”
My parents saved up to send me to college, and then I became a barrister at law, and I loved being on my feet with the wig and the gown. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Unfortunately, I had a phone call from my mother. My father was in a hospital and that he was very ill and I had to hang up my wig and my gown and I had to look after his business. There were no other children.
I became hardened. And I wanted so much to prove to all these people that I could make money as well. And years went by and I married a lovely girl. Her name was Valerie. And I became very successful. About five years after that, I turned my finance company into a bank. And five years after that, the bank went onto the stock market and I became a multimillionaire. I had a yacht in the south of France and a Rolls-Royce and a huge house and I felt on top of the world. The press called me Midas and I was full of ego and I was full of myself. I was my own God. I didn’t take any interest at all in the one true God.
The time came when the stock market crashed because the price of oil climbed dramatically and I lost everything.
So I went from one extreme to the other. One day I was very rich and the next day I was suddenly treating people with
all the champagne and caviar and I was taking Valium and drinking whiskey. And I was very, very unhappy.
One day in Los Angeles, several extraordinary things happened. We went to a Bible study in someone’s house and he was a Jewish man. I was sitting there. I didn’t know anyone around me. There were clearly Jews and Gentiles. I was deep in thought about what I’d heard from the man who’d done the teaching from the Bible, from the Old Testament. A woman came up to me after the lesson, and she simply said to me, she said, “Joseph, are you now ready to receive Yeshua, Jesus, as your Messiah?” And when we went out of that place, Valerie said to me, “Joseph, there’s something I have to tell you, something very special happened to me”. She said, “They told me about Jesus and who He is and I have accepted Jesus as my Messiah.” I looked at her and I said, “I’ve done the same” and I burst into tears, I’m not ashamed to tell you. And I probably cried for 10 to 12 minutes. And I received Yeshua. I knew that something big had happened to me.
Well, in the weeks and months that followed, we went to synagogues. We went to churches and were very uncomfortable in churches but they talked about Jesus. I decided I wanted to learn more. I went to a seminary and later on, I became a teacher of the Bible, a Pastor of a small church and that was a wonderful experience.
I loved telling people about Jesus is Jewish. All the apostles are Jewish. When people say to me, “Oh you’ve converted, I say to them, “No, I haven’t converted unless Jesus has converted.” Practically all the Bible was written by Jews. And I felt very much at home.
It was very hard for Valerie. She’d picked up a germ that was in a bad part of her body even before she knew me when she was a teenager. In those days, they didn’t have the medical knowledge to know how to stop it spreading. Unfortunately, years later, she passed away. I will never forget the wonderful time I had with Valerie, whom I adored and loved. I have struggled with why God allowed her to suffer so much. But we have to trust in God and we have to realize that his ways are not our ways. I’m sure she’ll be well one day when heaven opens up for those who believe in Jesus.
He is divine. He is indeed the son of God. He did indeed come to this earth, which to me today, many years later, is still amazing to me, that God would send His own son to help us reach out to him and be forgiven for our sins. I had missed something for many years of my life. I think if you asked me what was my overriding emotion and that was gratitude, thanks to God for showing me the truth, thanks to God for allowing me to share that truth with other people.