Reaching Secular Jewish People for the Messiah

I pray that, as we reach the middle of the summer, you are finding time to spend with your family and friends and enjoying the slower pace of life. These can often be the times of refreshing that the Bible speaks about (Acts 3:19; Romans 15:32).

As I think about family, I cannot help but consider the ongoing struggles in Ukraine and the devastating impact it has had on families. I especially mourn the loss of so many children. I know you will join me in praying the Lord will have mercy on the children who have survived, as they will certainly be affected by the trauma of war for the rest of their lives.

We are still very busy helping the Ukrainian Jewish people moving to Israel. We are renting apartments where they can stay while they get on their feet. Our staff are helping them in the most practical areas of life, showing them the love of Jesus in all we do for them.

Though Your Mission to the Jewish People unashamedly shares the gospel with God’s chosen people whenever the Lord provides the opportunity, sometimes our actions speak louder than words. Jesus once told His disciples:

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35–40)

Often it is through genuine caring and outreach that God will open the hearts and minds of Jewish people to the love of God, which is in Messiah Yeshua, our Lord (Romans 8:38)!

We are eager to help you reach your Jewish friends, too!

Earlier this year, I presented the Messiah in the Passover at a local Baptist church and was approached by a delightful Christian who asked for some help in witnessing to her Jewish friend. She wanted to know if giving her friend, who was in his 90’s, my book Isaiah 53 Explained would offend him. She really loves her friend and prays for him each day. I suggested giving him the book, encouraging him to review it from a “Jewish” perspective, and then talking again to let her know what he thinks.

Our staff have dozens of conversations like this each month, and we want to help you share the good news with a Jewish friend. Equipping you is a major part of our Foundations ’22 annual campaign.

SPECIAL FREE BOOK OFFER

We are offering a free copy of Isaiah 53 Explained to all who ask. Although most Jewish people are more receptive to the book if it comes from someone they know, like you, if you prefer, you can give us their address, and we will send the book directly to them anonymously. Just complete the enclosed card and return it in the envelope, and we will take care of the rest! I recommend checking in with your friend in a few weeks to follow up with them and start the conversation!

FOUNDATIONS ’22 AND DEEPER TRAINING FOR JEWISH EVANGELISM

When it comes to evangelism in general, as you know—one size does not fit all. There is no typical Jewish person with whom we share the gospel as each person is unique. The more we know about an individual and their beliefs, the better we can make the gospel relevant to them. Yet, there are some general Jewish understandings of Jesus that I want to familiarize you with as a good starting point.

While we reach out to Ukrainian Jewish refugees with love, hope, and practical assistance, we continue to approach religious Jewish people with solid arguments from Scripture—answering age-old objections to Jesus.

We also share the gospel with more secular Jewish people.

These folks probably represent the majority of your Jewish friends. To help you better understand them, please allow me to take a few more moments of your precious time to share some of my own background and suggest a few principles on reaching Jewish people who are more secular for the Lord.

Last month, I shared with you about my Ukrainian Jewish roots. Both sides of my family hoped that their children and their children’s children would grow up to be observant Jews. While affirming their Jewishness, my parents did not follow in their parents’ footsteps when it came to following the Jewish law. We were 100 percent Jewish, but not in the same ways as our ancestors.

When I became a follower of Jesus, that all changed for me. The Jewishness of my grandparents suddenly made sense, despite the secularism of America in which I grew up. The holidays took on new meaning, and I have come to delight in the feasts of the Lord! Many of the Jewish traditions, in fact, became forms of worship that I would eventually include in my life as a believer. It is fairly common that, when a secular Jewish person believes in Jesus, they usually become more Jewish in their expression of faith than ever before as we recognize that being born Jewish is not a serendipitous act of fate but rather part of a grander plan of God that we are called to join. Years ago, we used the slogan “Jesus Made Me Kosher” and, in so many ways, this is still true.

JEWISHNESS AND JESUS

I remember a lesson I learned from my grandparents in a conversation from two decades ago like it was yesterday. My father and I were visiting his family, and while eating a bowl of chicken soup and matzah balls and engaging in deep philosophical discussion, my dear grandparents were doing their best to try to figure out why their grandson believed in Jesus and not Moses or even Marx.

When I finally had the chance to speak, I posed a question. I said, “Dad does not believe in God. Like Grandpa, he never attends synagogue, and yet he still says that he is Jewish. I, on the other hand, believe in the God of our fathers, learned Hebrew, married a Jewish girl, but believe Jesus is our Messiah. Which one of us is the better Jew?” My grandmother did not hesitate in her response: “Your father.” I dare say she spoke for the majority of the Jewish community!

In other words, you do not remain in the community by virtue of your beliefs, but you can be removed because of them.

The Jewish people you meet and witness to will be resistant to the gospel far more because of their fear of community sanctions than because of a theological disagreement over the identity of the Messiah.

You can help Jewish believers in Jesus by providing friendship and support as the Lord can use you to ease the pain of community rejection that is sure to follow their accepting the Messiah.

We are reaching many different types of Jewish people around the globe! Israelis, religious Jewish people, elderly Holocaust survivors, displaced Ukrainian Jewish people, and more! This month, I am excited to share with you the testimony of one of our missionaries who has been reaching out to Jewish people living in suburban America for decades.

The remainder of the newsletter is adapted from a paper he presented to the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) earlier this year.

“LCJE is the only global organization in existence today in which people involved in the field of Jewish evangelism can come together and—

  • Share information and resources
  • Study and report on current trends
  • Stimulate one another’s thinking on theological and missiological issues
  • Strategize on a global level so that more Jewish people will hear and consider the Good News of Jesus the Messiah
  • Arrange consultations that will be useful to those engaged in Jewish evangelism”1

I know his testimony will bless you, and I pray that you will gain some insight into reaching the Jewish people of suburbia with the gospel!

As always, thanks for caring!

1 “The Five Key Goals of LCJE,” LCJE, accessed July 5, 2022, https://lcje.network/.

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