Missionary work is full of questions—those that people ask us, those we ask others to get them to think about the gospel, and those we ask ourselves. These experiences of some of the members of our Liberated Wailing Wall Mobile Evangelistic Team represent some of the queries we encounter.
The Liberated Wailing Wall was in Washington, D.C. and there I was, at 7:30 a.m., in front of a metro exit. Huge crowds poured past me as people piled off the subway trains. Most of them willingly accepted my literature, then hurried off. Occasionally a fellow believer shouted approval while scurrying by, but for the most part nobody wanted to stop and talk because everyone was rushing to get to work.
Near the end of my broadsiding time, one man who took a tract decided it was worth his time to walk back a block or two just to tell me what he thought of me. He was not commendatory.
Why don’t you just call yourselves Christians for Jesus?” he growled. I shrugged and tried to formulate an answer to his non-question, all the while feeling that I was not grappling with a particularly challenging argument for the falsehood of my faith. By the time I managed to utter a response, the man was already halfway down the block.
Many ask us why we use the name Jews for Jesus. Why not call ourselves “Christians for Jesus” or “The Jewish Outreach Society?” We are not trying to hide either the fact that we are Jewish or that we believe in Jesus. On the contrary, by using the name Jews for Jesus, we bring the central issue immediately to the forefront. When we wear our T-shirts with that name imprinted on them, Jewish people cannot dismiss us or our literature as representing something that is not meant for them. Rather, each time a Jewish person sees those words, he or she is confronted by the fact that some Jewish people have identified themselves with Jesus and still consider themselves Jewish. That Jewish person may also wonder, “Could this Jesus perhaps be the promised Messiah of Israel?”
We are not seeking to offend Jewish people by our forthrightness, but there is a time when one must get to the point: Is Jesus who He claimed to be? In Romans 1:16 the apostle Paul put it this way, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” That is our message.