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Jonathan Bernis - Testimony

Jonathan Bernis - Testimony
TOPICS: Testimony, Miracle, Healing, Cancer

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. Thank you for joining me today. I'm Jonathan Bernis, and I'm joined today by my co-host, once again, Ezra Benjamin. Now, you may notice that I look a little different than I previously have. As many of you know, I went through a tumultuous health crisis, where God miraculously saved my life. And God worked in such amazing ways. I wanna share that story with you today, and hope that it inspires and encourages you in your own life. Well Ezra, I'm a little bit hoarse still...

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Which is part of the recovery process.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure. Following a liver transplant, well, a successful liver transplant, praise the Lord. And we'll get to the details of that in just a minute.

Jonathan Bernis: But the good news is, I weigh what I weighed when I was 14. I think this is the...

Ezra Benjamin: Mazel tov, as my grandma would say.

Jonathan Bernis: I'm feeling great, I really am, and I'm working out every day.

Ezra Benjamin: Awesome.

Jonathan Bernis: God is good.

Ezra Benjamin: Well, Jonathan, we wanna get right into the story. It's been quite a ride, hasn't it?

Jonathan Bernis: It has.

Ezra Benjamin: Let's rewind to the beginning, wherever you wanna pick it up. You became aware that you had a significant health need.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, well, it was an incidental finding, about five years ago. I was getting an image, an MRI for something unrelated to my liver and the doctor came in and said that issue is fine, but we some damage to your liver. And I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked. I had no idea and again, it was very, very unexpected, and I went to a specialist and discovered that there was some liver scarring. Now, I've never been a drinker. So, you associate any liver disease with alcohol, unrelated to alcohol, and all the doctors could tell me is, it's a liver disease unrelated to alcohol. It might have been related to my TB diagnosis back when I first went to Ethiopia in the late 90's, and then I was on medication for way too long.

Ezra Benjamin: The marks of the mission. Serving in a developing world, you get tuberculosis.

Jonathan Bernis: And there might be a genetic disposition. My brother had some issues, and I just don't know. But it became really serious last summer, when i...

Ezra Benjamin: Summer of 2023?

Jonathan Bernis: Summer of 2023. I was doing fine. I had some fatigue. I was just noticing that I was getting tireder and there was some blood markers that were noticeable, but my liver was compensating. The good thing about the liver is it's oversized and it can perform way beyond what's needed.

Ezra Benjamin: So, you knew you had an issue, but it wasn't severe, it wasn't an emergency.

Jonathan Bernis: Right. But I went in to get it checked and discover to, again, to my shock that there was a visible sign of what the doctor thought might be cancer. This was a ct scan and he immediately ordered an MRI, and the MRI came back positive that I did have liver cancer.

Ezra Benjamin: The news nobody wants. The c word.

Jonathan Bernis: Right, right. And that's when you really have to trust God, and begin to pray earnestly for healing and the doctor said, it's best we arrange for a liver transplant that we get you on the list. Because the cancer had already grown from the time that he saw it in the ct scan. About a month had passed before the MRI and it grown from about the size of a dime to about the size of a quarter.

Ezra Benjamin: So, he said, the best course is, let's plan for a liver transplant. You'll walk in and you'll have one at some point in the future.

Jonathan Bernis: Right. He happens to be the head of liver transplants from mayo, which is a very large clinic, and it was very nonchAlant. We'll just do a transplant, which a big deal to me, but not to him.

Ezra Benjamin: But then at the end of October, it wasn't a casual situation. What happened?

Jonathan Bernis: And all the doctors called it a fluke. I was doing fine, going on with life, going through the process of getting approved for a transplant, which is a pretty extensive process. Some of you that are going through this know it's a long process, and I was near the end of that process when I went to Dallas on October 28 for a wedding.

Ezra Benjamin: For a one night trip.

Jonathan Bernis: One night trip, and again, feeling really good. Felt good through the wedding, and then, began to get tired during the reception, so I went to the hotel. I was planning on speaking the next morning at a local church in Dallas. And everything went dark. I don't remember anything after I said goodnight to my wife. And I don't even remember turning off the lights. I don't remember a month following.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. And I'll add a little, 'cause I was there when we heard how bad it was. Thus began what ended up being 12 days of a coma, really, on life support being sustained by an intensive care unit team in Dallas.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, on the verge of death, on the doorstep of death. It was really that severe. And I didn't know until I saw the pictures. This was...

Ezra Benjamin: Intubated.

Jonathan Bernis: This was life, life and death.

Ezra Benjamin: Tubes coming from everywhere.

Jonathan Bernis: Apparently I was bleeding internally. The liver had stopped functioning. I had liver failure and just started bleeding internally. So, it was very, very severe. And miraculously, and I don't remember, again, any of this. I called a dear friend to take me to the hospital, again, don't remember it. And he prayed before...

Ezra Benjamin: Chose which hospital to take you.

Jonathan Bernis: And the Lord told him, "Take him to Baylor". Which is a Christian hospital. And it turned out that this team made it their mission to save my life.

Ezra Benjamin: I was there, they certainly did. Day in, day out, twelve hour shifts, rotating nurses and doctors. A whole team of doctors all committed to getting you through that.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. And from what I understand, they would try to correct one thing and something else, my body was breaking down.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly. But it was really miraculous. One, miraculous, the effort this team put in, but at the same time, you know, the doctors were saying to us, Jonathan, some people make it through these things and some don't. But we knew, the Lord wasn't done. He had plans for you and you were gonna make it.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, just to illustrate one point, when I got to the hospital, apparently, I was coherent and went through the admission process, awake and alert. And then, they took me into surgery and the physician said, "It'll take about a half hour. I'll stop the bleeding, everything will be fine". He was gone for an hour and a half, came out to talk to my friend and was just ash in face and he said, "Call his spouse". He didn't think I'd make it.

Ezra Benjamin: And you did make it, praise the Lord. And your wife, eLisangela flew quickly, earliest flight she could get on to Dallas and was with you. A couple of us were there. And you know, Jonathan, I'm just...

Jonathan Bernis: It's so emotional thinking about this.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure, I'm trying to hold myself together here. Two things were going on, just to paint the picture for those who are listening to this testimony. Medically, it was really bad, it was grave. People coming in from all over the country to pray over you. You didn't know it 'cause you were in a coma. But laying hands, praying in Yeshua's name, in Jesus name for healing, and you know, here's the thing...

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, here's Paul Wilbur, for example.

Ezra Benjamin: There he is. He flew in as soon as he could. 100% of the people who were praying over you and calling said, "This isn't over. This isn't unto death. The Lord's got this". And he did.

Jonathan Bernis: He has us in the palm of his hand, and he never leaves us or forsakes us.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. And that was a miracle, just, that Lord sustained your life in that hospital in Dallas. And fast forwarding a bit, 17 days into this emergency, praise God, another miracle, mayo clinic, right here in our hometown of Phoenix said, "He's not officially on the transplant list, but we're gonna get this done. Send him".

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, I had already been working with mayo, so that was where I was going to do the transplant a couple of months later.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: And this is really miraculous. Many of the doctors said miraculous. From unusual to miraculous.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: They found a liver in four days. Ezra, four days.

Ezra Benjamin: Some people wait years on the list.

Jonathan Bernis: Years, but in four days, they found a liver and arranged the transplant. I mean, I needed it.

Ezra Benjamin: We could, it was literally, it was less than 100 hours. I did the math. I like math. I'm a math nerd. It was less than 100 hours from being listed. From list it to love it with the liver in less than 100 hours in November 29th, 2023.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah so, it was a month to the day that I had ended up in icu, and that was the time, there was a window of opportunity when I was well enough to endure the transplant, and it went beautifully.

Ezra Benjamin: It was, we were there. Again, in the waiting room, we're waiting, we're praying. I know many of you were praying 'cause we sent out some communication, prayers coming in from around the world. It was a 7 ½ hour surgery, Jonathan, I mean, it was a major deal.

Jonathan Bernis: But I was supposed to be in icu for three days following, and I was out in 24 hours.

Ezra Benjamin: Amazing.

Jonathan Bernis: After being bedridden for a month.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, right and so you celebrated your birthday on December 1st...

Jonathan Bernis: What a birthday gift. A birthday gift from God, literally.

Ezra Benjamin: And in the weeks that followed, continuing through the testimony, needed to do some physical rehabilitation, 'cause you'd been in a bed for weeks and weeks.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, that was the biggest shock, I think, and what complicated everything. The plan was sometime near the end of December, January of this year I was gonna walk in, they were gonna do the transplant. I'd be cancer free. And by the way, I am. I'm completely cancer free. No radiation, no chemo, cancer free. Miraculous. But I was gonna walk in, stay for about 10 to 12 days in the hospital and then, walk home. Not walk home, but a 20 minute drive home. But because I was in icu so long, I was debilitated. My muscles had atrophied, I was completely immobile. Ezra, I could not lift a glass of water to my mouth. It was that bad.

Ezra Benjamin: I remember, yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: And so, I was sent to a rehab center for, it was to be a two week period and for two weeks I worked four hours a day just trying to rebuild muscle strength to be able to sit up in bed. I couldn't even sit up or get out of bed, and I'm working four hours a day and I'm making no progress. No progress. And I'm exhausting myself with physical therapy. And the doctor and the staff decided to move me to an assisted living facility. And I just said, "No way". And I began to cry out to the Lord and say, "I can't endure this". Really, I know that some of you watching are feeling a sense of hopelessness, but I want you to know God is watching and he does care. And I cried out to God, and the day before they were gonna transport me out to this assisted living center, perhaps for months, I was able to stand and begin to walk, and everything changed. That was the third miracle.

Ezra Benjamin: To the shock of the doctors and the physical therapists.

Jonathan Bernis: I watched their faces change. And they ended up keeping me another three weeks and I was able to go home from the rehab center.

Ezra Benjamin: I remember the doctor, you know, doctors use medical terms, and he said, "Mr. Bernis is making profound progress". And we'd say, "Okay, profound progress medically. Miraculous, speedy recovery".

Jonathan Bernis: It was absolutely a miracle. The liver in four days was a miracle, the dedication the team at Baylor was a miracle and the spike, what I call it, the rehab spike was an absolute miracle, the day before they were gonna just ship me out.

Ezra Benjamin: You know, we pray and we pray and we say, "Lord, why aren't you answering my prayers"? And then in hindsight we can see, he answers everyone.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, it was so clear. You know what a series of coincidences are? God incidences, they're God incidences. And it was just very clear. You know, you can ask, why did this happen to me? But God came through at the key times, really, right in the 11:59th hour.

Ezra Benjamin: He's the God of the 11th hour. And Jonathan, we can't wait to hear more testimony from you and the lessons the Lord taught you in all of this. Unfortunately, we need to take a quick break, but we want you to see how you can partner with Jewish Voice to bring not only physical, but also spiritual healing to some of the most remote Jewish communities in the world. Take a look.

Jonathan Bernis: That was a little video of me leaving the rehab center after five weeks of therapy. I'm tearing up.

Ezra Benjamin: It was your full time job to get better and your effort plus the Lord's miraculous intervention...

Jonathan Bernis: It was exhausting.

Ezra Benjamin: I bet, I bet. Well, praise the Lord.

Jonathan Bernis: What a day.

Ezra Benjamin: Good for you, Jonathan.

Jonathan Bernis: And then I ended up at home. Here I am back home after four months.

Ezra Benjamin: After, yeah, yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: Four months.

Ezra Benjamin: It was a significant period of time.

Jonathan Bernis: And over the weeks that followed, I went from wheelchair to walker, walker to cane, and now nothing.

Ezra Benjamin: In a fraction of the time that all of the rehab specialist said it should have taken.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, they said about eight months and it was three by the grace of God.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, praise God.

Jonathan Bernis: You know, I wanna talk a little bit, Ezra, about of the things that some of the points that I came away with, just, the Lord was really dealing with me on three things in particular.

Ezra Benjamin: Some real life lessons.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. The first lesson is, and I've lived this, but I really wanna encourage you, attach yourself to a purpose bigger than your own. I knew, as soon as I came out of the coma that the Lord spared me because I had work yet to do. Of course, time, more time with my family, with my wife, with my kids, future grandkids.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: But also I have another chapter of ministry. My calling is to reach my own people, my Jewish people with the good news of their Messiah. And I knew, as you knew and so many other people that were praying that it wasn't my time yet.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And I don't think it's your time yet. You may be thinking, "It's over for me," and you may feel hopeless, but it's not over. Here's what you need to do, you need to get out of your own pity party and you need to connect yourself to something bigger than yourself. So many examples in scripture. Abraham was told that he would be a blessing to the world, that his offspring would bless every family on earth. That became his destiny. And he woke up everyday asking God, "Which way do I go to go to the land that you have promised for me and to fulfill my destiny to bless the world"?

Ezra Benjamin: Right. Moses at 80 years old had, God gave him a purpose bigger than himself to be used to free his own people.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, Paul said, "I'm a bondservant for Messiah. I no longer live, it's Messiah, it's Christ that lives in me". A bigger purpose than himself. Yeshua, Jesus, as he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion, he said, "Lord, let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, your will be done".

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, there's a verse, Jonathan, you were sharing with me, just before we started the program that speaks specifically to this purpose the Lord's...

Jonathan Bernis: Philippians 3:12, 13 and 14. Verses that I've meditated on, that I meditated on through this whole ordeal, this challenge. And it's really gripping. It says, "Not that I have already attained", talking about perfection, the resurrection. I'm not perfect, "But I follow after, that I may apprehend," he says, "That which I am apprehended of Christ Messiah Jesus". So, he's saying, "I'm taking hold of what God took hold of me for". That's a purpose bigger than yourself. And that's, I really encourage you, get out of whatever you've been stuck in and attach yourself to a purpose bigger than yourself. You have a destiny to fulfill.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And it'll change. It'll change your life if you get ahold of that.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen. Two more lessons, Jonathan.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, the second lesson is to cut back on the list of why Gods. I couldn't lift a glass to drink water out of. I was that debilitated. I couldn't lift myself out of bed and I began to ask, "Why, God? Why? Why are you allowing this? Why am I going through? I've been faithful". And the Lord corrected me, chastised me. And many of you have a long list of why God's. I've been hearing this so many times since COVID. All through COVID, and beyond, "Why, God? Why? Why does God allow this? Why didn't God do this"? You know, the longer your list of why God's, the less faith you will have and will lead to a root of bitterness against God. It's very, very dangerous. And one of the things that I had to do in rehab was to erase my "Why God" list. Yeah, I have questions, I have things that I wanna know, that I'll...But I'm content to wait til' I'm in his presence. But your "Why God" list has to either be erased or shortened significantly. Why, God?

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah. It's a step of faith to put that list away and trust him.

Jonathan Bernis: Bad things happen. We live in a fallen world, bad things happen.

Ezra Benjamin: What's the third lesson, Jonathan?

Jonathan Bernis: The third one, I think, is the most important. And that is, we have to have an heavenly perspective. And that's tied to the why God. The promise of scripture, repeatedly is eternal life. The gift of eternal life. We're dedicated here at Jewish Voice to proclaiming the good news of eternal life that's found in one name, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah. He's the way, the truth and the life, and that's our purpose. That's our mission. We provide medical care, dental care, eye care, but ultimately, it's to proclaim the gospel. And yeah, you may not have been healed in a timely fashion, you may have been praying for a loved one, a family member who's gone, but they're not dead, they live because of the promise of eternal life. And I think we have to refocus our attention to the promise of eternity. We have to be eternity oriented, not here and now. "God, why didn't you provide this? Why didn't you do this now"? It's the promise of eternal life. Paul said, "To be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord". Hallelujah. If I had passed away, if I had left my body and departed when my liver failed, I'd be alive still. I wouldn't be with you and with our staff, and with my family, but I'd be in the presence of the Lord. And I think that needs to be our focus, eternal life.

Ezra Benjamin: You have a new found commitment, a zeal and that's really infectious, if you will, to all of our staff here at Jewish Voice. I hope that testimony and that eternal perspective is catching your heart as well. And I wanna ask you today to stand with us as we're sharing that eternity-changing good news, the reality of heaven and hell and that the Lord would desire Jewish people and their neighbors to be reconciled to him. We want you to see how you can partner with Jewish Voice to bring not only physical, but also spiritual healing to some of the most remote Jewish communities in the world. Take a look.

Ezra Benjamin: Jonathan, the Lord's preserved your life in the last few months. He's renewed your purpose and your calling, and he's given you a testimony of miraculous healing and deliverance. I think it would be awesome, I know our viewers will probably agree if you would just bless and pray for our viewers today and even those who maybe stumbled on to this channel, and this program who don't know what their eternity looks like. Who don't have that personal relationship with the Lord.

Jonathan Bernis: I wanna say this, I'm so glad to be alive. I'm so glad that I have more time with my family, and to be able to be at my girls' weddings and see my grandkids and proclaim the gospel. I'm so glad that the Lord has preserved my life, but I'm even happier that I have the gift of eternal life. And I want you to have that gift, and more importantly, God wants you to have that gift. And if you have not asked Jesus to come into your life, if you have not made that profession of faith, and ask him to forgive you of your sins, then you're not born again. You can be right now. It's simply asking God, crying out to God. All who call upon the Lord, shall be saved. So, I just want you to agree with me in prayer and just, you can repeat this simple prayer. "Lord Jesus," just say it out loud, "I believe that you died for me, forgive me of my sins. I wanna live for you". Say this, "Come into my life, I wanna live for you. I surrender my life to you". And if you've said something like that, God's gonna change your life from the inside out. Lord, each one that's prayed, may you transform their lives and may they experience the gift of eternal life, transformation, new life, in the name of Yeshua, in Jesus' name. Amen and amen. If you'd like more information about our ministry, you can log on to our website. It's And you can find so many helpful resources there, and you can send your prayer request to us right on the website. I want you to know that we care about you, but more importantly, God cares about you, and we will pray for your needs if you let us know. We will. As we close our program, I also wanna remind you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, boy, do they need our prayers now, today. The Bible says, "They will prosper who love thee". So, if you wanna prosper, pray for Israel and the Jewish people. Thank you, Ezra, for joining me today.

Ezra Benjamin: Pleasure.

Jonathan Bernis: And until next time, this is Jonathan Bernis saying, shalom and God bless you.
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