They Thought For Themselves, Chapter 8
It Was Not for Me
by Randy and Tricia Horne
Tricia: Why did Jesus have to die for my sins? Raised as a Catholic, this concept was still foreign to me. Everyone knows if you’re a good person, you’ll go to heaven when you die. So why did Jesus have to die? It seemed odd. It didn’t fit the character of God—or did it? Without much knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus’ death in exchange for our salvation didn’t make much sense to me. But God was about to use a young Jewish man named Randy to draw me into a relationship with Him.
At the time I met Randy, I had been in a period of seeking God for answers. The two questions that bothered me most were: Why did I have terrible back pain? and Why didn’t God answer my prayers to heal it? I would go to Mass, pray, pick up the missilette and skip over all the traditional prayers just to get to God’s Word. I knew the Scriptures were the real thing, what church should be all about. But I would kneel, stand, genuflect, bless myself, and do other religious things out of respect.
What did Randy have to do with all this? Little did I know that my mother (a quiet believer) had been listening regularly to a radio program called “Messianic Vision.” One day Sid Roth, the host of the program, said on the air, “The Jewish person that God has put in your life is no accident.” My mother thought, That’s nice. But I don’t know any Jewish people that well. Within a matter of a few weeks, I told her I had met a nice Jewish guy. Immediately, she made the connection, but she told me nothing about it at the time.
After we had been dating for seven or eight months, I told my mother I didn’t know how we could pursue marriage with Randy being Jewish and me, Catholic. She suggested I check out the local Messianic Jewish congregation and start listening to Sid Roth’s program. When she explained who Sid was, I thought, A Jewish person who believes in Jesus. How unique. But was it really? Paul, Peter, Matthew, Mark, John, Stephen—what were these men? Protestants? Catholics? Greek Orthodox? No. They were all Jewish. Okay, I thought, I’ll tune in to this program on the way to work. After all, this might be a compromise that would work for us. Maybe Randy could be one of these Jewish people who believes in Jesus.
Jesus, You Loved Me that Much?
So I started listening to testimony after testimony of Jews and Gentiles touched by the powerful love of God. I would weep; I couldn’t get enough. I was hungry for truth—for God. I sent for teaching tapes, testimonies, and Bibles. It was all so wonderful. I began to be convicted of sin in my life. The depth and weight of it was suddenly very heavy. I knew I needed pardoning; my sin was coming between me and God.
At the same time, I was listening to Sid and others explaining God’s plan of salvation. From the very beginning, God required an atonement, a sacrifice for man’s sins. Israel’s sacrificial system in the Old Testament was a foreshadow of Jesus atoning for my sins. Wow! No one is righteous, not one; all of us have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way, but God has laid the iniquity of all of us on Jesus (Isaiah 53:6). This is a better, more excellent way than the Temple sacrificial system because it brings us into a relationship with God.
Jesus, you loved me that much? I found myself crying out to God and asking Him for forgiveness one day in the car tuned in to the Messianic Vision on my way to work. So began my new life with God. I couldn’t stop thinking about Him; I wanted all I could get. From religion I knew about Him and even believed in Him. But now I knew Him. What a difference!
In contrast, Randy didn’t seem to care whether He even existed. Could we actually pursue marriage like this? Where should I go for advice?
The source who first shared the gospel with me seemed like a good place to start. Being a new believer with a lot of chutzpah, I called Sid and told him my situation. He said, “No, you can’t marry this man, but you can continue to pray that God will show him the truth.” That answered that question.
What was God doing in Randy’s life?
Randy: I was brought up in a reformed Jewish home. I went to Hebrew school three times a week for six years mainly to prepare for my bar mitzvah. Our family celebrated the high holy days out of tradition rather than out of Torah observance. I always wondered, What is the sense of any of this? I had the impression that most of the people present were there just because it was what Jewish people did on these holidays. Hebrew school was not something I enjoyed; for me it was a burden worse than public school because it cut into all of my after-school activities.
I should have been seeking answers to questions about who God was and how He related to my life. But I was so caught up in sports, who I was, where I was going, and how I would get there, that God never was an issue. I don’t remember a single time asking myself if I thought God existed or asking Him who He was.
My bar mitzvah was a fun time. I remember studying hard so as not to make a mistake. I got my wish and made it through without any flaws. Not making a mistake was much more important to me than the ceremony or any other part of my bar mitzvah. In my family, the bar mitzvah was the pinnacle of each child’s Jewish studies. Once you went through this door, you no longer had to attend Hebrew school. As a family, we still attended high holiday services together, but for me it remained hollow and meaningless. The deepest questions I faced at that time were Why am I at this service? and When can I leave?
Someone Was Listening
That all changed in the summer after I graduated from college, while vacationing on Cape Cod. I met Tricia, whom God would use to change my life from shallowness to one of truly caring about people.
After months of trying to persuade Tricia to yield to my ways, I finally realized it was much easier to yield to hers. Though Tricia was a Catholic, the only thing this meant to me was that she went to church and I didn’t. I had very little knowledge about her religion. At this point in my life, I did not attend any religious services other than the dinners my parents held at their house during the Jewish holidays. My understanding of God had not changed—He didn’t bother me (or so I thought) and I didn’t bother Him.
As Tricia and I started to get more serious about our relationship, religion became more of an issue. Instead of going out with my friends one Friday night, she suggested we attend a Messianic Jewish congregation. I wanted to refuse, but I didn’t feel like fighting about it, so I agreed. The service was very Jewish, but different from anything I had experienced. I had never been exposed to individual and corporate spontaneous prayer. It was obvious as these people prayed that they knew someone was listening. The people were nice, but it was not for me.
We did not return for five months. Neither of us had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior at this point, although Tricia was truly searching. Then, in the summer of 1985, Tricia gave her life to the Lord. In September she asked me what I was doing for the high holidays. When I told her I didn’t have plans since my family was celebrating in New York with relatives, she suggested we go back to Ruach Israel to see what a Messianic service was like for the holidays. Once again, I agreed.
This time the service was not as foreign to me. Some parts were vaguely familiar, and I even remembered some of the chants. Tricia enjoyed the service so much she wanted us to start attending on a regular basis. We worked out a system where we would meet at a location halfway between our workplaces, park one of the cars, and take the other to the meeting on Friday nights. Many times I would try to convince her that after a long week of work we should skip the service and go somewhere to relax, but to no avail. She would reply, “You can do that, but I really want to attend the services.”
After a few weeks of attending, I thought I might as well try and get something out of it, so I began to listen more attentively and even started to read the Bible. Before bed I would pray to God and ask Him to show Himself to me. Sometimes I would say “in Jesus’ name” to see if anything would happen. As time went on I learned more about God. But I still had no relationship with Him.
My Neck Has Been Healed!
Sid Roth came to speak at the Copley Place Hotel in Boston on Saturday, April 26, 1986. Tricia had been avidly listening to him on the radio and now of course wanted to attend his meeting. In my mind, we had already gone to service Friday night and now she wanted to ruin Saturday too. I protested. She persisted.
We went to hear this man speak about how he came to know Jesus and how God had restored his mind and marriage. I thought this was interesting, but I had heard others say the same thing before on the tapes Tricia had been giving me. Near the end of the night, he called people forward who needed to be healed. Tricia went forward for her back and I went with her.
Standing next to Tricia at the front was a woman whom I had met earlier in the week at a Passover seder. I knew she did not believe in Jesus. I came to find out later that the only reason she was there was because it was her husband’s birthday and all he wanted was for her to come and hear Sid. This woman had been in a very serious car accident and could not move her neck. She wore a tense unit hooked to her neck to stimulate nerve endings to help with the pain.
Sid went down the line praying for people, and, of course, they were falling over just like you would see on television. When he got to this woman and Tricia, they didn’t fall over and then the next person in line did. I had it all figured out. He must be paying these people to fall over, and I knew Tricia and this woman were not part of it.
After Sid was finished praying, he said he felt that someone had been supernaturally healed, so he told the people to very slowly move the area in their body that needed healing to check it out. My eyes first went to Tricia. Then I saw the woman next to her shaking her neck and shouting, “My neck! My neck! I can move my neck!”
At that point it almost seemed like I disappeared, because I started to weep—not just shed a tear, but really weep. Although I did not understand what was happening, I knew I had encountered the presence of God, and my life would never be the same.
The next morning I remember waking up and looking at the ceiling and thinking something was very different. Everything was the same, but the way I was looking at it was 180 degrees different from the way I had seen it a day earlier. I later asked Tricia what had happened to me the night before that could make such a difference. She stated calmly, “You had a born-again experience.”
I started reading the Bible again and found that passages I couldn’t understand before now made complete sense. I was a changed man. Jesus was for me!
Randy and Tricia were married on July 18, 1987 in a beautiful Messianic Jewish ceremony. They now have two children: Daniel Joseph, born July 4, 1990; and Joshua Michael, born November 21, 1993, and are raising them up to love and serve the Messiah of Israel. The Lord has significantly healed Tricia’s back and she leads a normal life free from the agony of back pain.
Commentary by Sid Roth
Randy and Tricia Horne are typical of the many couples who have intermarried. The Jewish community has done research predicting that if intermarriage and assimilation trends continue, there will be very few Jewish people left in America.
Not to worry. God says as long as this earth exists there will be physical Jews (Jeremiah 31:35, verse 36 in some versions).
I see something far deeper in the union of Jew and Gentile in marriage. The one-flesh unity of Randy and Tricia reflects the shalom that will make us all one (Jew and Gentile) under the banner of Messiah’s love.
The rabbis say Jesus is the Messiah of the Gentiles and we Jews are still waiting for our Messiah. Isaiah 11:10 says from the root of Jesse (David’s father) will the Messiah come as a sign to the Gentiles (nations). In other words, the Gentiles will follow the Jewish Messiah.
We Jews believe in one God and one Messiah. Now if the rabbis say Jesus is the Gentile Messiah—by logic that makes Him the Jewish Messiah!
Besides, how can we have peace on earth unless the whole world follows the same Messiah?
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Continue to Chapter 9