It was Max Federmann’s misfortune to be a Jewish child in Hitler’s Germany. He recalls the terror of the November night in 1938 when Nazi storm troopers marched through his village, destroying everything Jewish. He remembers his father and older brother being carried off to a concentration camp. His mother, too, was taken away to Auschwitz, where she perished. Max himself, 16, escaped to Yugoslavia, then to Italy.
After the war, Max married an Italian girl named Leda, and they had a daughter. After immigrating to California, two sons were added to the family. But tragedy struck again. The older son died in a car wreck, and this time Max lashed out at God: “How could you be a good God and bring such pain to me!”
Shortly afterward, Bernard, 14, was invited to church camp, and to Max’s shock, he returned home believing in Jesus. Leda visited the church, and she, too, became a Christian.
At first, Max felt angry and rejected; but he decided to investigate their new faith in the light of his Hebrew Bible, studying what the Scriptures said about the Messiah. He also began reading the New Testament. He was stunned by how the prophecies in his Hebrew Bible seemed perfectly fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. He continued reading the New Testament, and I fell to my knees when I came to 1 John 2:23 and understood the truth: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
I cried to God for forgiveness, and suddenly my heart was flooded with love for the Father and His Son, Jesus, the Messiah.
My search had taken me almost a year. But from the moment I fell to my knees, I was able to love Jesus, my Messiah, with all my heart and mind and soul. I was even able to love those who had so cruelly persecuted my people. At last I understood the meaning of “Shalom!”
Today’s Suggested Reading
1 John 2:15–23
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23