I was born on 15 December 1972 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I was born Jewish, to both Jewish parents and attended Synagogue where I was taught to follow the Jewish religion and laws of Moses.
When I was only eight years old, my father suffered a stroke which left him crippled for life and not able to ever speak again. My father's friends and family quickly deserted him and gave up visiting him and he remained in this condition until his death when I was 19 years old.
I was no stranger to pain. At school I was targeted by a gang of bullies that tormented me daily. They would beat, spit and swear at me and constantly embarrass me in class by ridiculing me.
After graduating from school I went on to complete my one year compulsory national military service. During this time I was again persecuted and targeted by anti-semetic, racist aggressors. I was often threatened with death and violence. After completing my military service, I began searching for the true meaning to life.
Those who seek will find...
One day while sitting outside my army barracks, a young man came and sat down next to me and shared about Jesus with me. This was the first time in my life, at age eighteen, that anyone had ever personally shared about this Jesus with me.
My knowledge of Jesus first came when I saw a movie on TV about Him, called “Jesus of Nazareth”. I remember watching the movie and was amazed at the wisdom that He possessed, the compassion He displayed for people and the miraculous powers He possessed in healing the sick and diseased. I even remember being really moved emotionally when they crucified Him.
And now this young man was telling me again about this same Jesus. I listened attentively to him that day and heard what he had to say. He asked me if I believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. I replied to Him that I honestly didn’t know. But something had started stirring in my heart.
About a year later, Phillip, a Jewish friend of mine shared with me that he had come to believe in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. He shared with me over a period of about nine months from the Jewish Tenach or what we know as the Old Testament Bible, the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah and how Jesus fulfilled them all.
I then began to research the scriptures of the prophets for myself and to my amazement I came to see that Jesus had fulfilled all these prophecies.
Another Jewish friend, Manny, whom I had met at the gym, had also received Jesus as His Messiah many years previously and he too began sharing with me at concerning Jesus as the Messiah. He was so bold in his witness to me and I was moved at his passion and chutzpah to share so openly with me, not being at all ashamed infront of others about what he was sharing.
I then met my third Jewish friend, David, that shared with me concerning Jesus as the Messiah and Savior.
I was amazed at these prophecies and was convinced that there was overwhelming evidence that Jesus had fulfilled them all.
During this time period, I remember one day that I was alone in the gymnasium change rooms. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Oh God! I’m such a sinner! I don’t deserve to have your Son, Jesus come into my life. First let me stop sinning and then I’ll ask Him into my life.”
At that moment a voice spoke to me so clearly inside my spirit man that I was totally still, consumed with every word He had to say. He clearly said, “Jarrod, it’s while you’re a sinner, that’s when you have to ask Jesus into your life.”
I then received the revelation that it was not going to be by my good deeds or by my attempts at trying to keep the commandments or my religious works that were going to bring me into a relationship with the Lord or entrance into heaven.
I realized that my entrance into a relationship with God was because of everything Jesus had already done for me including His death on the cross for me. It was by shedding His blood for me that He was able to cleanse me of my sins and offer me atonement, forgiveness, redemption, and salvation.
That wonderful day
Philip asked me for many months to attend a bible study held at David’s house where they would teach the word of God. Week after week, I made excuses not to go until all my excuses finally ran out. Davidwas also a Jewish believer in Jesus as the Messiah.
There were about twenty people present. There were a few new visitors joining that evening so I felt welcome and didn’t stick out.
It was absolutely incredible. When the informal service started. They all began singing and praising God.
What made it so incredible was that I could actively observe that they were communicating with God on a personal level and what seemed outrageous was that it seemed He was actually communicating back to them. You could see the expression of complete peace, joy, love and fulfillment written all over their faces. They lifted their voices to God in a choir of angelic praise and spoke to Him openly and expressively as one would to their best friend standing in front of them.
Then I knew that it was indeed possible for me, a wretched sinner to find forgiveness in the arms of a loving God who was real, alive and interested in coming into and being a part of my life.
The Lord impacted and revolutionized my life that night so dramatically that it has marked the change of my entire life and destiny forever.
Towards the end of the singing, David, the man leading the service spoke up and said, “There is a person here tonight” that has gone through the following things in their life...and he went on to highlight intimate events I had been through in my life
Now before I share further, you need to understand that no one there knew about my specific intimate past, not even Phillip who brought me to the service and there was no way that David could have known these things about me. The only person who knew these things was God and those who were involved in the various events that I experienced in my life.
It was the Lord’s demonstration to me that He knew all that I had been through and that He cared.
David then proceeded to request that this person should come forward to the front of the room as a demonstration of what the Lord wanted to do. I thought to myself “Are you crazy? Everyone will know it’s me,” and I felt too embarrassed to go forward.
At the end of the service however, when the evening was coming to a close, there were only a few people left in the house. I went up to him and confessed that the person that he spoke about was me. All he said was “Do you want to receive Jesus into your life.” And my response was, yes!
He proceeded to lead led me in a prayer of commitment to the Lord in receiving Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. As I spoke each word, I was sealing my eternal destiny forever. It seemed like heaven came down. I was asking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to come into my life and be my Father and God. I received Jesus as the Messiah and thanked Him for dying on the cross for me and for taking away my sins. I accepted the fact that His blood was offered as payment for my sins.
I acknowledged before heaven and earth that night that Jesus died for me, that He was buried in a tomb and that on the third day He rose from the dead and is now alive.As I said, “Amen!” The most overwhelming sense of God’s presence and power came over me.
David never touched me. Yet the presence of God was so powerful and tangible all around me that I felt myself unable to stand up. My eyes were closed and in a second I collapsed to the floor, unable to stand in His Holy presence. There was no one standing behind me to catch me. I don’t think David was prepared for something like this to happen or else he would have prepared for someone to catch me. As I fell to the floor I hit my head on the ground and I thought to myself that I must have injured myself, yet I felt no pain or discomfort.
I was in a deep spiritual state, oblivious to my natural surroundings and an incredible experience occurred. The heavy weight and burden of all my hurt and pain, sin and rejection, was lifted off of me in an instant.
I felt the most incredible peace I had ever known and pure love come into my heart . There is no worldly experience to which I can ever compare it to. It was beautiful and unique. I experienced the love of Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. The Lord revealed His love to me and comforted me like I’d never known before. He touched my heart and transformed my life in an instant. I knew at that moment that my sins were forgiven, that God was my Father and Jesus was the Messiah.
My Family's Reaction
Well all my family members were NOT as excited about this amazing encounter that I had experienced as I was. In fact I was taken to numerous Rabbis, in an attempt to win me back to Judaism. My one uncle even disowned me, never wanting to see me again. This was hard as he had been my hero and mentor, a very wealthy and successful man that was like a father to me, as my Dad could not be because of his condition.
My mom on the other had seen such a radical change in my behavior that she was quite relieved because the change was so radical, life giving and positive.
The hand of the Lord was upon me to guide me and protect me through all of the questioning, and I am grateful that the work that He started in me He will complete until Jesus comes.