I recently asked our Jews for Jesus leadership team to be intentional in finding ways to encourage one another, recognizing that we live in an age of cynicism. We agreed that we want to consciously guard against that culture seeping into our own hearts and communities, and to help one another remember that it “should not be so among us.”
We are to be filled with optimism, to pull together with patience and faith, because we believe and trust that God is in the midst of us. He will bring about the very best, not for our sakes, but for His glory.
A good remedy for cynicism and most other negative attitudes that can easily creep into our hearts is humility. And there is nothing more humbling than the gospel—the news that there was nothing we could do to merit God’s love and forgiveness but that in His grace, He made a way through Yeshua, Jesus. Some people find grace a bitter pill to swallow because it threatens to burst their bubble of self-sufficiency, but to really know the grace of the gospel is to love it.
Loving the gospel is not just a matter of devoting ourselves to bringing it to others, but to appreciate very personally each day what God has done for us. It’s from our own growing love for God and His gospel that we have something to offer others.
We all want the same thing: to see Jewish people saved. God has made it so clear in His Word that we have this in common with Him—and that this is the very heart of God’s intention for our people Israel. So, we believe together that He’s going to continue using Jews for Jesus as part of His plan. But how?
In 1 Chronicles 12:32 it says, “The sons of Issachar had an understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do.” That’s the kind of understanding we need to seek continually if we want to continue being used by God.
Making the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue is not the beginning and the end of the mission of Jews for Jesus. We know that we can’t fulfill our calling by merely stating the gospel facts publicly and loudly. There’s more to fulfilling our mission than maintaining a high profile with our Jews for Jesus T-shirts and handing out tracts on prominent thoroughfares and college campuses. We continue to do those things, but we are also asking the question:
What does the Lord want Jews for Jesus to do in order to effectively proclaim the gospel in our time, in our culture?
There is no one answer as far as methods and activities, but there are ways to respond to recognizable culture trends. For example,
- The high percentage of Jewish people who marry Gentiles has opened a door for ministering to those couples.
- A large number of Jewish people now live in Berlin, Germany, so we’ll soon be opening a new branch there.
- The Internet continues to be a growing “place” to meet Jewish seekers.
- Many Jewish people want to connect with others to affirm Jewish identity, but not within religious institutions—so home celebrations of Shabbat, Passover, etc., are becoming more and more part of our outreach.
You’ll notice mentions of each of our responses to those cultural shifts in the following pages.
Sharing the gospel goes beyond handing out a tract or meeting with someone for Bible study. The Great Commission involves making disciples—and making disciples includes explaining the gospel, watering and nurturing the gospel seed, and helping people along the path so they can receive salvation through Jesus. God often uses many people in the process.
Making disciples also means teaching baby believers about their new life, new privileges and new priorities, including baptism and much more. We’re to show them what it means to be part of the community of the redeemed.
Our missionaries are committed to engaging Jewish people with the love of God because we want them to be saved; we want them to have eternal life. That means more than escaping damnation. We’re not God’s insurance salesmen selling policies to get people out of hell.
Yeshua said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). We want people to begin that abundant life here and now! We want them to be saved from worshiping lesser gods that can never satisfy the true longing of every human heart. We want them to be saved from the lies and dehumanization that tear people apart when they are cut off from the Creator that knows and loves them.
Knowing God and daily experiencing His love and forgiveness is the greatest source of human flourishing there is. We believe that. We’re committed to human flourishing and so we are committed to proclaiming the gospel.
We need the Holy Spirit’s power and wisdom to define what it means to love the Lord, love people and love the spread of the gospel—in our own context, as the people God has uniquely called us to be in Jews for Jesus. We want our love for the gospel to lead and direct us to do and say things that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will lead others to a true and lasting love of God and other people—and so we come full circle.
How far are we willing to go as emissaries of Yeshua, in order that more Jews might believe and be saved and flourish in this life and the next as part of His body? By God’s grace, we’re willing to go where He leads and make ourselves vulnerable. We’re willing to count the cost and to accept the disapprobation of our own people that they might hear and believe.
It is the love of Messiah that compels us.
Brothers and sisters, this is where we most resonate with the apostle Paul when he said, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). This is where we should be able to say, “I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh….” (Romans 9:2–3).
Can any of us say that now? Can any of us even imagine that we will someday be able to say what Paul said? I don’t know. But I believe that loving God’s gospel must move us towards such a level of commitment.
We need our brothers and sisters in Jesus who love God and love people to love the gospel going to Jewish people as well.
What about you? Will you pray for us and cultivate this kind of commitment to loving God’s gospel with us? I believe you will as you prayerfully join us in this gospel-loving endeavor.