Dear friend in the Messiah,
Shalom! I recently returned from our first Holocaust Memorial Tour which began in New York City, moved to Berlin and finally to Poland, where we also visited Auschwitz. What a powerful reminder of the sinfulness of man and faithfulness of God to His chosen people. During the course of the tour, the Lord brought to my mind a passage of Scripture which I in turn shared with our group of 35-plus participants.
It is Paul’s reminder to the Roman believers of God’s plans and purposes for the Jewish people. The Apostle writes,
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:28-29).
These verses are a powerful reminder of His everlasting goodness. I shared with our group that if we see that God is faithful to the Jewish people, then He will be just as faithful to those who know Jesus as Messiah and Lord!
Poland and Jewish Evangelism
So many of the attitudes Jewish people have towards Jesus developed in Poland! The Jewish people were welcomed to Poland by kings around the tenth century and lived a fairly good and protected life there until the mid-1600s. Then, many of those who lived in this area, both Poles and Russians, turned on the Jewish people and brutally persecuted them. By the late nineteenth century, many Jewish people left Poland for the United States, Canada and other parts of the world. Their hardships in Poland, often made worse by the Church, influenced their understanding of Christianity and these attitudes were passed down.
Most of the negativity and sometimes hostility your Jewish friends have towards Christianity was shaped in Poland.
But, the Holocaust was undoubtedly the final nail in the coffin of alienating the Jewish people from the Gospel. One of our volunteers who works with Chosen People Ministries Poland put it this way—and I think his words will haunt me for the rest of my life, “Poland is filled with places and stories of Jewish life that once were because Poland is actually the largest Jewish cemetery in the world.” His words were chilling!
There are less than 10,000 Jewish people living in Poland today—compared to a pre-war population of 3 million. These deeply disturbing facts make the task of Jewish evangelism a complex and difficult undertaking, as you can well understand.
The Light Amidst the Shadows
So, how is it possible for the Lord to touch the lives of Jewish people raised to believe that Christianity was their enemy?
You see, the answer is always love. Jesus was the embodiment of the Father’s heart and love for a sin-damaged humanity. As believers, we are filled with His Spirit, enabled to embody His love to Jewish people who do not yet know the Messiah.
I also told one of our tour participants, who was brokenhearted and overcome with grief after visiting Auschwitz, that a candle shines brightest in a dark place, and that Christians can be bright candles of God’s love to the Jewish people.
Blessings to you and thank you for praying!