In England, it is not as common as it is in the United States to have bumper stickers on cars or logos on vans. That’s why the van I use at the London branch of Jews for Jesus attracts a lot of attention. When I’m stuck in traffic, frequently someone in a car alongside me pulls down the windscreen and calls out, What’s it all about—this Jews for Jesus?”
I always have a good supply of tracts in the glove compartments on either side of the van. When the traffic jams back up, as they often do in London, I have some interesting conversations.
One morning as I came in to work, the Jewish owner of the store next to our bookshop came up to me and asked, “Were you driving up the M1 (the main freeway that links London to the North of England) at 7:00 A.M. on Sunday?”
“Yes, I was,” I said. “I was on my way to speak at a church in Leicester. What were you doing there?”
“I was taking my wife diving,” he explained. “She is doing a course in caving and diving. But I was surprised to see you on the motorway. That van gets everywhere!”
When Jewish people see the van, they are frequently “gobsmacked,” to use an English expression. I find this reaction of surprise to our high-profile, visible approach most useful in beginning a witness.
One time, I had left the van in a car park (British for parking lot). Upon returning to the van, I found a well-dressed woman in her thirties staring at the logo. “What do you think of it?” I asked.
“I don’t believe I’m seeing this!” she exclaimed. “I never realized this sort of thing existed. How can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus? If my father saw this, he would have a heart attack!”
Susie was an accountant who worked in a nearby office block. She explained that although she was not Orthodox, she lived in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in nearby Golders Green. Her parents had brought her up strictly in the Jewish faith, but the sight of our van brought many questions to the surface of her mind.
“What do you call yourselves, Jews or Christians? And what about your families? What do they think of this? And do your children grow up having both Christmas and Passover?” The questions tumbled out of her, one after another.
It has been said that one fool can ask more questions than a hundred wise men can answer. But in Susie’s case, the questions were all genuine. Her curiosity was insatiable. We stood in the car park for several minutes as I answered some of her questions.
“The most important question,” I said to her, “is whether Jesus really is who He claimed to be—the Messiah. If He is, the rest all falls into place. If not, then none of it makes any sense. Who do you think Jesus is?”
Susie confessed that she had never really thought about that question. She would not even know how to begin to answer it.
“Would you let me send you something to read on the subject?” I suggested.
She agreed, on the condition that I would not send her any further literature. She did not want to receive more “junk mail” than she already did or to be on another mailing list. Besides, she dreaded her father’s reaction should he discover she had received literature from Jews for Jesus.
I sent Susie our book Yeshua, the Jewish Way to Say Jesus. I’m praying that in reading it, her curiosity will change into a spiritual hunger that will only be satisfied when she comes to a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Will you pray for her also, and pray for my “fellow evangelist,” the Jews for Jesus van?