Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Tell Me The Stories Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 5:44 – But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (KJV)
Recently, my new friend, the wife of a Messianic rabbi, shared her late husband's testimony and the life story of his parents, Ernest and Elizabeth Cassutto, chronicled in the book, The Last Jew of Rotterdam. Set in World War II Holland, theirs is a powerful, heart-rending story of survival, salvation, and forgiveness. It was during the darkest days of the Nazi regime when these two individuals saw the light of their Jewish Messiah revealed through the Hebrew prophets. Ironically, as Ernest spent many days imprisoned in a cold, isolated cell, his only valued possession, a Bible, was the means whereby he was able to experience true freedom.
For me, the most moving part of the story occurred after Holland was liberated. At that time, Ernest received a phone call requesting his presence at the deathbed of his Nazi captor, Herr Bartels. What happened next brings to life the meaning of today's Scripture. However, only through the Saviour's love and grace was Ernest able to overcome the pain and hatred of his persecutors. In obedience to God's command, he went to his former enemy and prayed with him. Then, before this dying man lapsed into a coma, these were his last words: "Thank God you came. Thank God you said my last prayer with me. Thank God you came."
My friend is still working hard to continue her husband's ministry to the Jewish people. And this amazing testimony is now being translated into Hebrew for the holocaust survivors living in Israel. But it is a story with a message for everyone, both Jews and Gentiles alike, one that should be heard because it illustrates the truth and power of God's Word, even in the midst of evil.
Is there someone in your own life whom God wants you to forgive? Are you a prisoner of bitterness and resentment? Have you given your heart to the Messiah of Israel? I hope that this memoir will inspire you as it has me. Only when we allow God's love and forgiveness to fill our hearts can we truly be free from the injustice and evils of this world.
Prayer: Lord, may our love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV) Amen.