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.
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!
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
|Topic||Old Testament||New Testament|
|Messiah to be the seed of the Woman||Genesis 3:15||Galatians 4:4|
|Messiah to be the seed of Abraham||Genesis 12:3; 18:18||Luke 3:23,34|
|Messiah to be of the tribe of Judah||Genesis 49:10||Luke 3:33|
|Messiah to be of the seed of Jacob||Numbers 24:17, 19||Matthew 1:1-2|
|Messiah to be of the seed of David||Psalm 132:11|
Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15
|Messiah to be a prophet like Moses||Deut. 18:15, 19||Matthew 21:11|
|Messiah to be the Son of God||Psalm 2:7|
|Messiah to be raised from the dead||Psalm 16:10||Acts 13:35-37|
|Messiah to experience crucifixion||Psalm 22:1-31|
|Messiah to be betrayed by a friend||Psalm 41:9||John 13:18, 21|
|Messiah to ascend to heaven||Psalm 68:18||Luke 24:51|
|Homage and tribute paid to Messiah by great kings||Psalm 72:10-11||Matthew 2:1-11|
|Messiah to be a priest like Melchizedek||Psalm 110:4||Hebrews 5:5-6|
|Messiah to be at the right hand of God||Psalm 110:1||Matthew 26:64|
|Messiah, the stone which the builders rejected, to become the head cornerstone||Psalm 118:22-23|
1 Peter 2:6-8
|Messiah to be born of a virgin Isaiah||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:18-25|
|Galilee to be the first area of Messiah’s ministry||Isaiah 9:1-8||Matthew 4:12-16|
|Messiah will be meek and mild||Isaiah 42:2-3|
|Messiah will minister to the Gentiles||Isaiah 42:1|
|Messiah will be smitten||Isaiah 50:6||Matthew 26:67|
Matthew 27:26, 30
|Messiah to suffer, die and rise again||Isaiah 52:13-53:12||The four gospels|
|The new and everlasting Covenant||Isaiah 55:3-4|
|Messiah as the right arm of God||Isaiah 59:16|
|Messiah as intercessor||Isaiah 59:16||Hebrews 9:15|
|Twofold mission of the Messiah||Isaiah 61:1-11||Luke 4:16-21|
|Messiah will perform miracles||Isaiah 35:5-6||John 11:47|
|Messiah is called “The Lord”||Jeremiah 23:5-6||Acts 2:36|
|The time of Messiah’s coming prophesied||Daniel 9:24-26||Galatians 4:4|
|Bethlehem to be the place of Messiah’s birth||Micah 5:2||Matthew 2:1|
|Messiah will enter the Temple with authority||Malachi 3:1||Matthew 21:12|
|Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a donkey||Zechariah 9:9||Matthew 21:1-10|
|Messiah will be pierced||Zechariah 12:10|
|John 19:34, 37|
|Messiah to be forsaken by his disciples||Zechariah 13:7||Matthew 26:31, 56|
|The coming of the Holy Spirit in the days of the Messiah||Joel 2:28-29||Acts 2:16-18|
|Opposition of the nations; Messiah’s final victory over death||Psalm 2:2|
1 Corinthians 15:54
Revelation 7:17; 21:4
|The glorious Messiah; Messiah as King||Isaiah 63:1|
|Submission of all nations to Messiah’s rule||Isaiah 2:4|
|The Gentiles shall seek the Messiah of Israel||Isaiah 11:10||Romans 11:25|