John Theodor – pastor, evangelist, friend, father, brother, son, uncle and husband – passed away in Jerusalem, due to COVID-19, on Thursday, October 28th at 11 am. He was an elder and associate pastor at Jerusalem Assembly, the only church that I call home. He was the Foreign Field Director in Jerusalem for Zion’s Hope. And, he loved Israel and the Jews so much, that he left Australia to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the Jewish people. He was a great father, a faithful husband and a good son. He was a good friend to everyone.
And, while we understand that God knew that this was the right time to call him home, we will miss him terribly.
God Called a Servant Home – John Theodor (1967-2021)
When I heard last Saturday that John had passed away, I had to stop writing what I was about to post that day. I had been praying for his recovery since the moment that I’d heard that he had gone into ICU. But, God had other plans.
In the midst of my own cancer diagnosis, I have to keep reminding myself that:
No one goes home, until their job is done.
Of course, it doesn’t change the hurt that we feel that John is no longer with us. Or the concern that we have for those he left behind.
We had a lot of things in common. We were close to the same age. In the ’90s, we both left our homes to serve God in Israel. We both knew that we would go through the Great Tribulation. We were both friends of Tony Simon, who lost his life in Iraq, while sharing the gospel. But, God sent us in different directions.
God dragged me off to Taiwan, to share the gospel with college students in Taipei, while John stayed in Jerusalem – witnessing to one and all and producing powerful videos such as this:
(Why Do You Need Messiah?)
And especially this fantastic video:
(He Died So That We Would Live)
That video alone, had more than 1.5 million views. Its impact is probably more than a lifetime’s worth of evangelism. More than 15% of Israelis watched that video. Wow.
You can find more of the videos that he produced on his YouTube channel, or here:
Oh, and as I was looking over what I had just written, I remembered a very powerful music video performed by Jerusalem Assembly’s worship team and filmed (and produced?) by John:
That was a powerful song in July, and it’s still a powerful song, now. My hope is that Jerusalem Assembly will produce more of those. In the dark days ahead, we will need to remember that He indeed remains faithful.
Again, John served as associate pastor at Jerusalem Assembly, the church that I still consider home. And, that church is led by my favorite pastor on the planet, Meno Kalisher. He said this about John:
John served as an elder, associate pastor for the last 20 years. As for me, John was as a brother whom I share all with him. John was first an evangelist with a loving and a soft heart for the needy. During the last 20 years John was a partner in literally all the decisions our church has made and therefore is a reason for the blessings God bestowed upon us, in bringing the gospel to the lost, raising the church to spiritual maturity, baptizing the new believers and starting new churches. During these 20 years, I never had an argument with John. He was my [true friend].
John’s funeral was on Sunday, October 31st at the Christian cemetery in the German Colony in Jerusalem. The devotion that I shared during the funeral was a summary of the book to the Hebrews, which John did not finish to teach at our church. The last sentence was John’s beloved call: “Are you ready to meet your creator?” One day we shall meet again and praise our Lord together (John 11:25).
Here is part of what David Rosenthal of Zion’s Hope said about John:
In many ways, John was a larger-than-life figure as his gregarious personality brightened any room. Though he lived in Israel for almost 30 years, John never lost a syllable or an ounce of his Australian accent (he was born and raised in Sydney) which he good-heartedly played up to the delight of his hearers.
John’s optimism was a wonderful gift to all who knew him, but what was most admirable about John was his deep love for the God he served and his heart for the Jewish people – that they would come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though John himself was not Jewish, God placed within him an irresistible love for the Jewish people.
So irresistible was this love that John could no longer remain in the land of his birth, but relocated to Israel where he could bring the Gospel directly to the world’s most populous Jewish nation.
They have set up a special family fund for his wife and children. You can find that here:
Zion’s Hope: John Theodor Family Fund
Also, John and his wife have a fantastic collection of their photography in the form of Greeting Cards, Book Marks, Postcards and Magnets. You can find all that and more, here:
And, there’s a breathtaking collection of photos that John has taken over the years that made me terribly homesick:
John was such an awesome photographer.
I think that I’ve said enough for now. My heart still aches over John’s passing, but I do not grieve. He is with our Lord, and there is no better place for a brother to be. My main concern is for his family and the ministry that he leaves behind.
Pray for John’s family.
Pray that the Gospel continues to be proclaimed in Israel.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
We’ll miss you, John.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. – Proverbs 22:3