I remember the night well. We were having a special, student-faculty dinner at a Bible college on Long Island where I served as Academic Dean. For the fun of it, the students were asked to bring in baby pictures of themselves, and we would all have to match the picture with the student. It was next to impossible! People change a lot in twenty years, especially from infancy to adulthood. But there was one picture that fooled no one: We all recognized Ron Cantor! He stood out, even as a baby. The infectious smile was there. The boundless enthusiasm was there. Even that mischievous twinkle in his eye was there. It seems like Ron was always special!
Out of the many students I have had through the years, only a few of them have become spiritual sons and daughters to me, and Ron was one of them. I love him like a son, and I am proud of him beyond words. He has been called by God to be a world-changer, and I believe, with God’s help, he will fulfill his divinely appointed mission. You are about to get a glimpse into this young man’s heart—a heart ablaze with love for God, love for Jesus the Messiah, and love for his Jewish people.
But don’t worry about a heavy, boring read. You will enjoy every page that follows, and if you are Jewish, especially an American Jew, you will relate to many of the people, places, and events. The names may be different, but his grandparents, parents, and sister, could be your grandparents, parents, and siblings. And many of the struggles he went through will resemble the struggles of your past—or even present. I think immediately of Ron in his teen years, falling into sin and living a reckless and worthless life.
Yet even as a sinner, he was a Jewish sinner, and so one night, after having too much to drink at a party, it was his mom that he called, asking her to pick him up and bring him home. (Can you imagine this?) And he was a sinner with a sensitive conscience, stealing things as a boy, only to become guilt ridden and confess. He was a conniver too, making a way where there was no way, using his gifts, his charm, his personality to open doors that by all rights should have been closed – until God brought him to the end of himself. And then he met the Messiah!
It was the shock of Ron’s life to learn that his Messiah was Jesus! In Ron’s eyes, this Jesus had been the leader of an alien religion, a god worshiped by the Gentiles, a religious figure followed by the goyim. How could Jesus (Yeshua) be the Savior of the Jewish people and the hope of the world? Ron’s life was literally turned upside down (really, right side up). And he has never been the same!
When confronted by the probing questions of Orthodox rabbis, Ron sought the God of his fathers more earnestly than ever—studying, praying, seeking truth. And the more he sought God and asked questions, and studied and prayed, the stronger his faith became. It is because his faith was founded on the truth!
And so Ron Cantor, together with his wonderful Israeli wife Elana and their three beautiful—and very smart!—daughters, has given his entire life to making the Messiah of Israel known, first to his own Jewish people, and then to the world. I have watched him cry out in desperate prayer, asking that God would use him to the full. I have seen him labor with zeal and perseverance, determined to overcome every obstacle and share his faith with all who will listen. And I have wept with him as we have agonized over our own kinsman after the flesh—our people Israel, our families, our childhood friends—who do not yet know the infinite love of God expressed through Yeshua our Savior and King.
Moved by divine love, Ron and Elana have given up the comforts of America and left friends and family behind to pour themselves out for Jewish men and women in the Ukraine, in Hungary, and for the past decade, Israel. And it was out of love that Ron wrote this book. May that divine love touch you and transform you, just as it has transformed Ron, just as it has transformed me, and just as it has transformed millions of others around the world who have put their trust in the living God.
I pray that as you read this book you too will come to know Ron Cantor’s Lord in the same intimate and passionate way that Ron knows Him. The Messiah’s yoke is easy and His burden light. Would you open your heart to Him today?
Dr. Michael L. Brown
Host, Line of Fire nationally syndicated radio show
Author, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volumes I-V.
Driving to my Hebrew class at the Jewish Community Center in Rockville, Maryland one warm April evening, I sensed the Lord say, “Son, you have been ashamed of Me in your Hebrew class.”
“No, Lord! I am not ashamed of You,” I protested vehemently. I knew it was silly to argue with the Almighty, but I truly didn’t understand. I had always been up front and forthright about my relationship with Yeshua (Jesus). Nobody could ever have accused me of being embarrassed or ashamed of Him.
“Then why do you keep avoiding the subject of your faith?” I sensed Him reply.
Ouch! He was right. Whenever I got into conversations with my classmates, I would steer the conversation clear of religion. I guess I had become a little tired of being stereotyped as a brainwashed-fanatic by my Jewish friends and family. I loved my people and my culture and truly wanted them to understand why I believed in Yeshua, but the rejection had begun to wear on me.
Nevertheless, above all, I wanted to please Yeshua. I told the Lord that He was right and I was sorry, and that I wouldn’t be ashamed of Him in class anymore. At that moment, I had no idea what He had in store for me that evening.