Sermon Illustrations


In 1960, Israeli undercover agents kidnapped one of the worst killers in Hitler’s army from his hideout in South America. His name was Adolf Eichmann. They took him to Israel to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

Prosecutors called a long list of witnesses who had either seen Eichmann commit those crimes or had seen the evidence of his crimes. One witness was a small elderly man named Yehiel Dinur, who had escaped death in Auschwitz.

When it was his day to testify, Dinur entered the courtroom and stared at the man in the bulletproof glass booth -- the man, who had murdered Dinur’s friends, personally murdered hundreds of Jewish men, women, and even young children, and presided over the slaughter of millions more. As the eyes of the two men met something happened that shook the enter courtroom.

Yehiel Dinur stood in silence, looking at the man who had done all that, and then he began to sob uncontrollably. He collapsed on the floor and had to be carried out until he was composed enough to go back and testify.

What made Mr. Dinur react that way? He was interviewed by Mike Wallace on TV years later and this is what he said.

He said he had always pictured Mr. Eichmann as this hideous monster who had nothing but evil in his eyes. But when he entered the courtroom that day and saw him, he saw a small, older man who had soft eyes and a vulnerable expression on his face. He said he saw nothing but an average man.

He said it was at that moment he realized everybody has the same capabilities of being evil. He said he began to sob because he was afraid of what he might do in a different set of circumstances. He told Mike Wallace, "I saw myself in him and it scared me to death." And then he finished by saying that all of us have an Adolph Eichmann lurking somewhere in us.

(SOURCE: Bruce Ball,, "Under New Management" 6/30/08)

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