Many Gentile Christians are reluctant to witness to their unbelieving Jewish friends because they think that the average Jewish person is immersed in the Scriptures from early childhood and would put their knowledge of the Old Testament to shame. Actually, in most cases the opposite is true. Today, most Jewish people have a minimal knowledge of Scripture, if any at all. More frequently, a major hindrance to witnessing to Jewish people is their lack of faith in God and the Bible. Many Jewish people are agnostics, or even atheists.
Hebrews 11:6 teaches that …he that cometh to God must believe that he is …” How, do we introduce our Jewish friends and relatives to Yeshua when they might not even believe in God? I grappled with this problem myself in witnessing to my own father, who is both agnostic and Jewish.
At first, I ignored Paul’s example in I Corinthians 2:1 about not using “excellency of speech or…wisdom,” but relying upon the “story of God.” I attempted to reason with my father. The first argument I gave him for the existence of God was humanity’s “moral consciousness.” In Romans 1:19 Paul says, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them.” C.S. Lewis dealt with this in the first section of his book, Mere Christianity. The idea is that in diverse cultures throughout history, man has possessed a built-in concept of right and wrong—what Freud called the “superego.”
“If this consciousness of moral right and wrong did not come from a Creator-God of holy character, then where did we acquire it?” I asked. “Aside from an occasional sociopath, most people have an inherent sense of good and evil.”
He answered that this moral consciousness could be something that people learned as they got older. He pointed out that most children tend to be self-centered and devoid of any sense of right or wrong until they are taught differently.
Next I talked to my father about the creation around us: Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19:1 both speak of how God is made manifest through his creation. Considering the order and complexity of the universe and the earth, as well as the existence of life, it would take a great deal more faith to believe it was all an accident than it would to believe it was the product of an intelligent, personal God.
My father responded that considering the cruelty that existed in the world of nature, his picture of God—if he existed—was not a favorable one. At that point, rather than go into an explanation of the Fall and its effect upon the whole of creation, I decided I was on the wrong track as far as my dad was concerned.
Finally the Holy Spirit showed me an area to which my father could relate—a demonstration of God that would provide “proof” that “he is,” and that would also show the reliability of the Bible as God’s Word. I pointed out that the greatest affirmation of God is the Jewish people themselves: the continued existence of this “race” of people, despite dispersion and persecution, and the reforming of the nation of Israel on the very soil promised to Abram by God thousands of years ago cannot be explained, apart from a God who is active in the lives of his people. It is not by human ingenuity that we Jews have survived as a people through nearly 2,000 years of dispersion and numerous attempts by powerful forces to annihilate us. It was not by size or number that we regained the Promised Land, because indeed since her reforming as a nation after World War II, Israel has been “hopelessly” outnumbered by the opposing countries that surround her.
I went on to ask my father if he had an explanation for his own existence as a Jew. I told him that apart from God, there was no explanation for the Jewish people. I then showed him many Bible passages that speak about the rebirth of Israel, including Leviticus 26:44-45, Zechariah 8:7-8; 10:6, Micah 2:12, Amos 9:14, Zephaniah 3:14-20 and Jeremiah 30:10 and 46:27. I pointed out that those prophets described the future with such amazing accuracy that we had to accept them as God’s messengers.
I closed our discussion by turning to Genesis 17:7-8, the Abrahamic Covenant. This passage speaks of the everlasting possession of the Land by the Jews. Unlike his rebuttals of my previous two attempts, this time my father had no refutation. Here is a book that accurately predicts the fate of the Jewish people. Here is a God who was, and is, active in the lives of his people.
Did that message take hold? Some time later my father and I were discussing current events and the State of Israel with some others. When the conversation turned to what might lie ahead in the future for Israel and the Middle East, I said to everyone that they didn’t have to worry about Israel. As long as there was a human race, there would be an Israel. I then turned to my father and asked, “You know why that is, don’t you?”
In reply, he turned his eyes upward and pointed with his finger to heaven. Who knows? At 80 years of age, he may still have some more to learn. After all, Moses was 80 when God revealed himself to him!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rande Spiegelman supervises the accounting department at our Jews for Jesus headquarters.