Sermon Illustrations

Today Christ the King calls you and me to “be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth until He comes in final victory, and we feat at His table for ever.” I deeply love, appreciate, and respect the ministry of Chicago Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the Founder and President of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jesus, a ministry I wholeheartedly support.

I have been reading all week his awesome book THE JOURNEY HOME. It tells the story of “Rabbi Eckstein and a Christian journalist named Jamie traveling together in Israel and coming to strengthen their own personal faiths through each other’s eyes.” Other than the Bible I believe it is the best book I have ever.

In Chapter six Rabbi Eckstein shares this compelling account of their encounter with a Hassid, a Hassidic Jew, in Jerusalem one Sabbath evening: “We came to the center of the neighborhood square, where a Hassid with a long black coat, hat, and beard was stopping men who were not dressed like him and urging them to put on phylacteries.”

“Are you Jewish?” he asked me.

“Yes,” I replied to the Hassid.

“Did you put on tefillin this morning as the Torah commands?” he asked.

“Yes, I did,” I responded, quickly proving my bona fides by citing the commandment in Hebrew, “And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes.” He smiled and turned his attention to someone else, not doubt assuming that Jamie was Jewish and had put on tefillin that day too.

“That’s noble,” said Jamie.

“What is ‘noble’? I asked.

“That he feels so strongly about his faith that he stands outside in the hot sun sharing it with others.” [SOURCE: Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Journey Home (Chicago: Shavit House, 2001), 74.

We have a wide open mission field the Holy Spirit calls you and me to reach in Kankakee County and throughout the territory of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference with the same zeal, enthusiasm, and urgency as did this noble Hassid