‘Fishing’ for Jewish people
Dear friends and fellow prayer partners,
Lately, God has been opening doors for talking with Jewish people and we wanted to mention some stories and pass on some information to you all that might help you to be able to share the message of Jesus with them more effectively, or at least be able to pray for them more effectively. : )
Through the centuries, Satan has had many clever and cruel variety of strategies against the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [renamed Israel]. Even though the Jewish people are looked down upon by many, we have found that many of them are very nice and some of them have been willing to talk with us, as we show them that we care about them. Their nice attitudes are commendable, especially in light of the fact that they are consistently slandered all around the world, even by the 'mainstream media'. Over the centuries, cruel, power-hungry tyrants that wanted to control the world have falsely blamed the Jewish people to accomplish their purposes. In today's culture, one of the main groups that falsely blame the Jewish people to accomplish their purposes are those who follow Islam. Jesus clearly nailed that hateful religion when He said: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) Having said that, not everyone who calls themselves a Muslim practices Islam, just like how many who claim they are a Christian, don't follow Christ themselves. The Jewish people have also been hunted down and killed by those who claimed to be Christians, but were power-hungry tyrants, concerned for their own greed and power.
With that said, naturally, there are quite a few barriers in communicating with a Jewish person. But, we continue to find that when we show how much we care about them as a people, they gravitate to that.
Recently, my dad and I had the wonderful opportunity to work for a nice Jewish businessman. When we found out he was Jewish, we gave him a discount. He said he had seen a lot of responses from people when they found out he was Jewish. Even someone who burned a cross in his yard. But, he had never had someone give him a discount for being Jewish. Our show of kindness opened up a small door for conversation, and he watched and appreciated our testimony too.
In the last few months, I have been building a online friendship with a lady in Canada that calls herself a Messianic Jew. There is a slight problem though, she believes in Yeshua (the Hebrew name from which we get 'Jesus'), and she believes in Him as her Messiah. But, doesn't believe that He is and was God in human flesh. So, needless to say, we have had some interesting discussions and I look forward to seeing where God takes it from here. : ) (Please pray for wisdom. I don't want to push her away. I just want to learn how to ask good questions that will make her think.)
A few verses I already showed her were:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
And a couple of other verses that we didn't get to talk about yet, but I hope and pray that we get to soon:
“15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16For by Him all things were created that are in Heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
> Editor's note: The term firstborn has been twisted by several cults across the country to suit their purposes. But when Jesus is described as the firstborn, God is not saying that He was created. Pastor John MacArthur explains it this way: 'The Greek word for “firstborn” can refer to one who was born first chronologically, but most often refers to preeminence in position, or rank. (c.f. Romans 8:19) In both Greek and Jewish culture, the firstborn was the ranking son who had received the right of inheritance from his father, whether he was born first or not... 4) it is impossible for Christ to be both created and the Creator of everything (vs. 16) Thus Jesus is the firstborn in the sense that He has the preeminence (vs 18) and possesses the right of inheritance “over all creation” (c.f. Hebrews 1:2; Rev. 5:1-7,13). He existed before the creation and is exalted in rank above it...' (By the way, if you don't have a John MacArthur study Bible, we highly recommend it as a useful tool for accurately understanding God's Living Word. You can find them at most Christian bookstores or at http://www.gty.org.
Revelation 1:8, 11
“I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty…Saying, ‘I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ ”
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I AM the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
In addition to those stories, 2 Saturdays ago, at the mall, we had the wonderful opportunity of talking with 2 Jewish people: Sean and Ia. Deanna started the conversation with them, and I walked over and joined. Paul was able to join us later in the conversation. We had a great conversation! They were from Israel and when I came over and Deanna introduced me, they asked if we had been to Israel. Deanna and I smiled really big and said we'd love to go there someday. They chuckled about our excitement and encouraged us that we would love it. (We heartily agreed!) We then continued to take them through the 10 Commandments. They knew they had broken the 10 Commandments, but they were holding onto their hope that God would just forgive them, if they could just do enough good things. We tried to show them that this belief won't save them, and it gave them new food for thought. We also reminded them of the lamb sacrifice as an example of Jesus. We pointed out that the blood of a lamb couldn't save us, but that it was a symbol of the Messiah, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. They thought about it, and will likely be thinking about it more, but they weren't sure. I tried to show them a couple prophecies out of Isaiah, but they kept asking if that was the New Testament. (Jewish people don't believe in a New Testament with the words of Jesus, etc.) I smiled and explained this was one of their prophets. It took them a couple of times to understand what I was saying (since English is not their first language). When they understood, they weren't sure about it because, apparently, they trust their rabbis (whom they quoted from time to time), but have never studied God's Word themselves. Sean also asked something about the 'Da Vinci Code' and was surprised to hear that it proven to be lies in court, based on the confessions of the author. Needless to say, it was sad to see the veil over their eyes that kept them from seeing and embracing their Messiah. The rest of the conversation was just giving them new food for thought. As we left, they thanked us for talking with them and we both agreed that we looked forward to seeing each other one day. They also mentioned that they would love to see us in Israel one day. We agreed. : ) I do look forward to talking more with them, and I intend to pray for them as often as I remember them.
My conversations with Jewish people drives home a main thought in my mind, we as a body of followers of Christ need to be more active about sharing the good news of Yeshua, the Messiah – to the Jews first and also to the Gentiles. (non-Jewish people).
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek [the common way of referring to non-Jews back in Paul's day].”- Romans 1:16
It sounds like God is blessing us with a group of street-preachers and we are planning to go to downtown Orlando Friday evening. Would sure appreciate the prayers! There are so many more stories, and we hope to catch you all up on more of them soon!! God has been teaching us a lot, including some ideas of how to communicate Jesus' call for repentance and obedience more effectively!
Thank you so much for your prayers and for being a fellow laborer in His harvest!
Your friends, and servants of Jesus,
David, Barbara, Steven and Paul