Summary: From the book of Judges, we see the story of Ehud and how God uses imperfect people (like you and I) to accomplish his purposes.
Now, this is not a true story—mind you, but an apocryphal writing in which the pope in medieval times was persuaded by some of his more conservative advisors to endure no longer the presence of Jews in the very heart and core of world Christianity. The Jews of Rome were evicted from their homes by a certain date.
To the Jews of Rome, this was a great tragedy, for they knew no refuge where they might not expect worse treament that in rome. They appealed to the pope for a reconsideration, and the Pope, a fair minded man, suggested a sporting proposition. If the Jews would appoint of their own number to engage in a debate with him, in pantomime, and if the Jewish representative were to win the debate, the Jews might remain.
The Jewish leaders gathered in the synagogue that night and considered the proposition. It seemd the only way out, but none of their number wished ot volunteer to debate. Then the chief rabbi said, “It is impossible to win a debate in which the Pope will be both participant and judge. And how can I face the possibility that the eviction of the Jews will be the result of my specific failure?”
The synagogue janitor, who had been quietly sweeping the floor thorugh all of this, suddenly spoke up, “I’ll debate”. They look at him in astonishment.
“You, a cheap janitor? Debate with the pope?” “Someone has to and none of you will.” So the janitor was made the representative of the Jewish community to debate the pope.
The great day came, and the pope and the janitor faced off. Gravely, the pope raised one finger and swept it across the heavens. Without hesitation the janitor pointed firmly to the ground. The pope looked surprised.
Even more gravely, the Pope raised one finger again, keeping it firmly before the janitor’s face. With the trace of a sneer, the janitor raised three fingers, hold the pose just as firmly. A look of deep astonishment crossed the pope’s face.
Then the pope thrust his hand deep into his robes and produced an apple. The janitor then opened a sack that was sticking out of his pocket and took out a flat piece of matzo. At this, the Pope exclaimed in a loud voice, “The Jewish representative has one the debate. The Jews may remain in Rome.” Then everyone dispersed.
They were no sooner gone than the church leaders clustered around the pope and asked, “What happened your Holiness? We couldn’t follow the rapid give and take.”
The pope replied, “The man facing me was a master at the art of debate. Consider this! I began the debate by sweeping my hand across the sky to indicate the God ruled all of the universe. Without pausing an instant, that old Jew pointed downward to indicate that nevertheless the Devil had been assigned a domination of his own below.
I then raised one finger to indicate there was but one God, assuming I would catch him in the error of his own theology. Yet he instantly raised three fingers to indicate that the one God has three persons, a clear acceptance of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Abandoning theology, I produced an apple to indicate that certain bilnd upholders of so-called science were flying in the face of revealed truth by declaring the Earth was as round as an apple (remember, apochryphal). Instantly, he produced a flat piece of unleavened bread to indicate that the earth, in accordance to revelation, was nevertheless flat. So I granted him the victory.”
By know, the Jews and the janitor had reached their home. All of them surrounded the janitor and asked, “What happened?”
The janitor said indignantly, “The whole thing was nonsense. Listen. First the pope waves his hands like he’s saying, ‘the Jews must get out of Rome.’ So I pointed downward to say, ‘Oh yeah? We staying right here.’ So he points his finger at me as if to say, ‘Drop dead.’ So I pointed three fingers at him to say, ‘Drop dead three times.’ So then I see he’s taking out his lunch, so I take out mine.”
Have you ever felt that you weren’t able to do anything for God? That for some reason or another, you felt that God couldn’t possibly use you? Maybe you think that you are eloquent enough to be able to carry a conversation and lead people to the Lord. Maybe you don’t think your talented enough to serve in a position of teaching kids.
I want to tell you what happened yesterday. I was going through my closed this week, and in the back of the closet, I found a small box containing 3 eggs and 5 $1 bills. He called his wife into the closet to ask her about the box and its contents.