God’s plan of redemption has always defied all expectation. Consider Passover, the Feast of Redemption, which begins on Friday night, April 19. Jewish families all over the world will gather to celebrate how God rescued us from slavery in Egypt. A couple of days later, Christians will greet each other with a joyous, “He is risen!” to commemorate how Jesus makes freedom from sin and death possible.
Who could have predicted the miracles of Passover, or that Jesus would conquer the power of sin by dying and rising from the grave? (Okay, in the case of Jesus, prophets like Isaiah did have a clue.)
God meets our deepest needs in unexpected ways
God’s plans defy human expectations, meeting people’s deepest needs in unexpected ways. He turns things upside down to shake free notions that might be hindrances to the gospel. At Jews for Jesus, we push ourselves to develop new ways to relentlessly pursue God’s plan of salvation for the Jewish people. If God stepped into humanity through creative and unexpected means, so must we.
Our work, our call, has not changed over the last 45 years, but we’ve needed to adapt our efforts with bursts of innovation over the years. Fresh challenges and opportunities require creative new approaches to reach Jewish people with the good news.
In the last few years, especially as we approached our 2018 Jerusalem outreach, we prayed long and hard for another burst of creativity to reach specific groups of Jewish people—people we would miss unless we adapted. I believe God answered our prayers. Let me give you just one example.
Desperate needs call for creative measures
The ultra-Orthodox community is the fastest-growing Jewish segment worldwide. These Jewish people desperately strive to obey the Law. Like the Amish in America, they are isolated, resistant to technology, and wary of outsiders. Unlike the Amish, they are forbidden to believe in Jesus.
Many of the men spend their days in theological study, leaving young wives at home to care for the children—sometimes many of them—on very little income.
Some of the women of Jews for Jesus put together a team to reach out to the women of the ultra-Orthodox community by serving them. Through house cleaning, helping with child care, cooking, and more, our all-female team showed love and care for women who can often be incredibly isolated.
One team member tells about an encounter that we never would have imagined was possible:
Raya had five children with another one due any day. Our team helped her with housework and also helped the kids with their homework. She wanted to know why we cared to help, and we explained that we had received God’s love in Yeshua (Jesus) and wanted to bless others with that same love. When her husband spoke with their rabbi about us, the rabbi warned him not to allow us back to their home.
We kept praying for Raya, and though we knew she could not invite us in, we felt compelled to bring some groceries and donated clothing for the children.
When we arrived, she exclaimed, “You’ve fallen from heaven to help me!”
We went with her to the park, where one of us played with the kids, and another explained the gospel. Raya had so many questions, and many of her misperceptions about the gospel were shaken loose.
Through these kinds of acts of love, Jews for Jesus is planting gospel seed in hearts we’ve never been able to reach before.
God invites us to innovate as we make His unchanging gospel known
There are more groups of people who’ve proven to be open as we’ve found innovative ways to reach out: Russian-speaking Jews in Israel, Israeli travelers who are seeking meaning and truth right after their military service is completed, Jewish-Gentile couples who want help navigating their cross-cultural communication, and so many more.
It’s an exciting time to be part of God’s plan for the salvation of the Jewish people. The same God who parted the Red Sea and who conquered death by sending His Son to die on the cross invites us to be creative and innovative in how we make His unchanging, ever-relevant gospel known. I hope that encourages you not only to stand with Jews for Jesus but also to look for new ways to reach out to all kinds of people that God has put in your life.