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Pointers on Witnessing to Jews

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Introduction

If you’re reading this page, you’re probably interested in sharing your faith in Yeshua (Jesus) with Jewish people! Maybe you have a Jewish neighbor…or friend, or classmate, or even a Jewish relative. Or maybe you just want to be prepared for the next time you meet a Jewish person. Here are some things you should know that will help you be a more effective witness.

Basics

Everybody needs to hear the gospel. And God’s chosen people (the Jews) are certainly no exception. Yeshua came in fulfillment of the writings of Jewish prophets who were writing to Jewish people. So, if Jews don’t need Jesus, no one does! Yes, Jews and Gentiles both need salvation in Jesus and you don’t have to be Jewish to have an effective witness to Jewish people.

Jewish Identity and Belief

Virtually all Jews are proud of their identity as Jews, but this does not in itself make a statement about what they believe about God. Even religious Jews may have varying beliefs about God. It is more important to find out what your friend believes about God and the Bible than to find out what kind of synagogue they attend. For many Jews, their Jewish identity is more cultural than it is religious. But this doesn’t mean that their Jewishness is unimportant to them. Most Jews also think that the opposite of Jewish is Christian and so for them to consider Jesus is problematic because it means considering losing their Jewish identity. Therefore in witnessing to Jewish people about Jesus it is important to stress that they do not need to give up their identity as Jews in order to embrace Jesus as Messiah.

Myths and Facts

There are several popular myths which keep people from sharing with their Jewish friends. Some of them include:

Myth: All Jews are well versed in the Old Testament.
Fact: Most Jews have a strong cultural identity with a very limited knowledge of the Scriptures.

Myth: I can just invite my Jewish friend to my church.
Fact: Many Jewish people might be hesitant to attend church. There is no substitute for you personally sharing your faith.

Myth: I may not be able to answer their questions.
Fact: That’s true. But it does not change the truth of the gospel. Tell your friend you are happy to research the information. This gives you an opportunity to have further witnessing opportunities too.

Myth: I need to wait for the Holy Spirit’s leading. I don’t want to lose my friendship.
Fact: God has already told us we are to be his witnesses. (Mt.28:19-20) If you are friendly and forthright you will gain your friends respect for genuinely caring even if they don’t agree to discuss the matter at length.

Myth: I will let my life be a story and wait until they ask me about Jesus.
Fact: That will likely be a long wait. Most Jewish people feel that religion is a private matter and might be uncomfortable asking. Besides, the great commission commands us to go tell!

Practical Tips

When witnessing to a Jewish person, remember:

Make friends. Demonstrate that you really care about the person. Affirm the fact that you know they are Jewish and that you appreciate their Jewishness. Let your friendship serve as the foundation for your witness to them.

Be up front. Declare yourself a follower of Jesus right away. You do not want to appear deceptive or coercive. Be yourself.

Ask questions. Everyone likes to be asked their opinion. This can be a good way to steer the conversation towards spiritual matters. Questions about Israel, an upcoming Jewish holiday or even a Bible question from the Old Testament are a good place to start.

Give a personal story. The reality of God in your life is a powerful witness. Many Jewish people think that you were born a Christian in the same way that they were born Jewish. Hearing how you became a follower of Jesus, how God answers your prayers can provoke your Jewish friend to jealousy. (Rom.11:11)

Use Scripture. Don’t be afraid to answer questions with a verse from the Bible. Encourage your Jewish friend to read the New Testament. Most Jewish people have never read the New Testament and most Jews who have come to faith in Christ came as a result of reading the New Testament. After all, it is a very Jewish book!

Be prayerfully persistent. Don’t be put off if you receive a negative reaction at first. In Fact, you should expect it. Keep looking for opportunities. Keep praying. Seek to introduce your friend to a Jewish believer or to one of us in Jews for Jesus. Lend books or other evangelistic literature.

Ask for a decision and follow up. Don’t think that your Jewish friend will automatically understand they need to pray to receive Christ. If they are a willing listener then you should ask if they are willing to receive what you have said for themselves. Be diligent to follow up any decision. Contact Jews for Jesus for help with the new Jewish believer.

Important Messianic Passages

TopicOld TestamentNew Testament
Messiah to be the seed of the WomanGenesis 3:15Galatians 4:4
Messiah to be the seed of AbrahamGenesis 12:3; 18:18Luke 3:23,34
Matthew 1:1-2
Acts 3:25
Galatians 3:16
Messiah to be of the tribe of JudahGenesis 49:10Luke 3:33
Matthew 1:1-2
Messiah to be of the seed of JacobNumbers 24:17, 19Matthew 1:1-2
Luke 3:34
Messiah to be of the seed of DavidPsalm 132:11
Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15
Isaiah 11:10
Matthew 1:6
Luke 1:32-33
Acts 2:29-30
Romans 1:3
Messiah to be a prophet like MosesDeut. 18:15, 19Matthew 21:11
John 6:14
John 1:45
Acts 3:22-23
Messiah to be the Son of GodPsalm 2:7
Proverbs 30:4
Luke 1:32
Matthew 3:17
Messiah to be raised from the deadPsalm 16:10Acts 13:35-37
Messiah to experience crucifixionPsalm 22:1-31
Psalm 69:21
Matthew 27:34-50
John 19:28-30
Messiah to be betrayed by a friendPsalm 41:9John 13:18, 21
Messiah to ascend to heavenPsalm 68:18Luke 24:51
Acts 1:9
Homage and tribute paid to Messiah by great kingsPsalm 72:10-11Matthew 2:1-11
Messiah to be a priest like MelchizedekPsalm 110:4Hebrews 5:5-6
Messiah to be at the right hand of GodPsalm 110:1Matthew 26:64
Hebrews 1:3
Messiah, the stone which the builders rejected, to become the head cornerstonePsalm 118:22-23
Isaiah 8:14-15
Isaiah 28:16
Matthew 21:42-43
Acts 4:11
Romans 9:32-33
Ephesians 2:20
1 Peter 2:6-8
Messiah to be born of a virginIsaiah 7:14Matthew 1:18-25
Luke 1:26-35
Galilee to be the first area of Messiah’s ministryIsaiah 9:1-8Matthew 4:12-16
Messiah will be meek and mildIsaiah 42:2-3
Isaiah 53:7
Matthew 12:18-20
Matthew 26:62-63
Messiah will minister to the GentilesIsaiah 42:1
Isaiah 49:1-8
Matthew 12:21
Messiah will be smittenIsaiah 50:6Matthew 26:67
Matthew 27:26, 30
Messiah to suffer, die and rise againIsaiah 52:13-53:12The four gospels
The new and everlasting CovenantIsaiah 55:3-4
Jeremiah 31:31-33
Matthew 26:28
Mark 14:24
Luke 22:20
Hebrews 8:6-13
Messiah as the right arm of GodIsaiah 59:16
Isaiah 53:1
John 12:38
Messiah as intercessorIsaiah 59:16Hebrews 9:15
Twofold mission of the MessiahIsaiah 61:1-11Luke 4:16-21
Messiah will perform miraclesIsaiah 35:5-6John 11:47
Matthew 11:3-6
Messiah is called “The Lord”Jeremiah 23:5-6Acts 2:36
The time of Messiah’s coming prophesiedDaniel 9:24-26Galatians 4:4
Ephesians 1:10
Bethlehem to be the place of Messiah’s birthMicah 5:2Matthew 2:1
Luke 2:4-6
Messiah will enter the Temple with authorityMalachi 3:1Matthew 21:12
Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a donkeyZechariah 9:9Matthew 21:1-10
Messiah will be piercedZechariah 12:10
Psalm 22:16
John 19:34, 37
Messiah to be forsaken by his disciplesZechariah 13:7Matthew 26:31, 56
The coming of the Holy Spirit in the days of the MessiahJoel 2:28-29Acts 2:16-18
Opposition of the nations; Messiah’s final victory over deathPsalm 2:2
Isaiah 25:8
Revelation 19:19
1 Corinthians 15:54
Revelation 7:17; 21:4
The glorious Messiah; Messiah as KingIsaiah 63:1
Psalm 2:6-9
Revelation 19:11-16
Revelation 19:15-16
Submission of all nations to Messiah’s ruleIsaiah 2:4
Micah 4:1-4
Revelation 12:5
The Gentiles shall seek the Messiah of IsraelIsaiah 11:10Romans 11:25