The Power of Forgiveness


For 2000 years, the Jews have opposed Jesus Christ and resisted the Gospel of Christianity; especially so among adherents of Judaism. The government of Israel had consistently banned any evangelical activities by Christian missionary groups in the Holy Land, so that for the 60 years since establishment of the nation of Israel, it had been very difficult for the faith of Christianity to take root and grow in the birthplace of the Gospel. In certain parts of Israel and areas under Palestinian control, ultra-Orthodox Jews and radical Islamists have for years bullied local Christians and Messianic Jews, using the language of hatred, violent behaviour, disturbance of services, disruption of baptisms, malicious vandalism, and death-threats against those who believe in Christ. (In recent years, many American Jews have turned to the Lord, acknowledging that Christ is the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. These Jewish believers formed Messianic Jewish organizations, and some of them have returned to the Holy Land to live and evangelize.)


Recently, an event occurred in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that gave many Jews new understanding into Christians and the love of God. During the celebration of the festival of Purim in late March, Messianic pastor David Ortiz received a gift. When David’s 15-year old son Ami took it into the kitchen and opened it, a home-made bomb exploded that severely injured his eyes, neck and lungs. Although his life was spared after emergency resuscitation, there will be a very difficult period of recovery. The bombing triggered a flood of media attention. Besides condemning this terrorist attack, the mayor of the city pointed out that the Ortiz family was a major contributor to the community and country. Five of the six Ortiz children had served in the army. Later, the family issued a statement forgiving the bomber. This unconditional forgiveness towards their enemy by the Ortizes caused a great hubbub in society. Some deemed it illogical, some were shocked, some found it incredulous, and some said they saw Christ in their persons.


For a long time, Messianic Judaism had been branded as a cult. Yet four weeks after the attack, the church achieved a great victory in its legal status. Overturning previous decisions, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that the state could not discriminate against Messianic Jews and deny them Israeli citizenship based on their religious faith. The testimony of love of the Ortiz family not only aroused interest to know about Jesus among new Israeli immigrants, but also instilled a willingness among home-grown Jews to seek knowledge of the Gospel of Christ.


Love is the greatest force on earth, embodying healing, reconciliation, acceptance and edification. In contrast, hatred brings forth contention, intensifies confrontation, destroys relationships and spreads enmity. For years, David Ortiz faced many hardships and obstacles in his preaching and testimony for Christ, so that his fruits were few. In this terrorist attack, his family suffered greatly. Yet with the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ, they could forgive their enemy, turning pain into blessing and manifesting the great love of the Lord, so that the name of Christ was widely proclaimed and many were attracted to come to know Christ. In the end, the government of Israel gave them their rightful legal standing, which will be a boon to their evangelical work in the future. So wonderful is God!


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)


By: Daniel To