Keep Calm and Talk About Jesus

A few months back, our missionary in France, Jean-Paul Rempp found himself in a university basement after a bomb scare. However, in that potentially dangerous situation God was working for good...

In February, I attended two lectures at the University Institute of Jewish Studies in Paris. The first lecture – ‘The Jewish people and the Land of Israel’ – was delivered by Robert Wistrich, the head of the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism in Jerusalem. At the very moment Professor Wistrich commented that Jesus and his disciples were all Jewish, the lecture was suddenly interrupted by a bomb alert and all of us – students and teachers – had to retreat to the cellar before being escorted out of the building by the army.

It was perfect timing because during the twenty minutes or so that we were in the cellar, I was able to discuss Professor Wistrich’s comments about Jesus with three female students, next to whom I had been sitting in the lecture theatre. I was able to demonstrate that one of Professor Wistrich’s theories – that Jesus might have been a revolutionary - was incorrect. In response, one of the Jewish ladies present said that the Gospels were not credible sources of information about Jesus, since they were not historic documents and that nobody knows who wrote them.

I replied that the four biographies of Jesus were historically trustworthy and that their authors were well known. Luke, for example, was a doctor and a credible historian who put together information about the life of Jesus from eyewitness reports, whereas John, one of the apostles, wrote about what he had personally witnessed during the three years he spent travelling with Jesus. The Gospels, I explained, are reliable and worthy of being read and trusted. Furthermore, the writers of the Gospels present convincing evidence that Jesus was a Jew and acknowledge him to be the Messiah foretold by the ancient Hebrew Scriptures.

Surprised by my answer, the lady asked if I had read the Gospels. I told her that I had and I could confirm they were reliable and trustworthy for becoming better acquainted with Jesus as a person.

‘You must be an historian!’ said one of the other ladies, as the soldiers came to accompany us out of the building. Seeing that our discussion was about to come to an end, I told the Jewish ladies that I had dedicated of my life to the study of the Scriptures and encouraged them to do the same.

The unexpected interruption drew the three of us closer together and a kind of friendship developed during those twenty minutes in the basement of the university. Please pray that I will be able to meet the three ladies and others from the same course – some of whom I have known for two or three years – soon so that I can explain more about Jesus and the Gospels which recount his miraculous life.

This article was first published in the Summer Herald 2015

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