It was the summer of 1982. I had become concerned over the fact that the name of Jesus was kept out of public view. If people heard the name of Jesus at all it was likely to be a swear word. Somehow, it was all right to talk about God, but it was politically incorrect to mention that He happened to be Jesus. Yet there is a certain power in the name of Jesus. It occurred to me that we needed something to happen by way of outreach—such as a polite confrontation, an announcement, a proclamation. One of the best ways to make that announcement was through newspaper advertising.
We had plenty of public articles written about Jews for Jesus. Reporters would come and ask us one or two questions. Then they would go to the rabbis who opposed what we were saying. The paper would publish a lot of what they said against us, with very little of what we said on behalf of Jesus and why we believe in Him. We needed to make our own statement.
This was my idea. We would take out a whole page and have the name Yeshua” in huge letters. Above it, smaller print would announce, “the Messiah has come and His name is…” Then we would go on to explain that Yeshua was the Jewish way to say “Jesus.” On the bottom would be a coupon offering a free book. But frankly I didn’t know if it would work.
I explained the idea to our newsletter readers. I sent a mock-up of what the ad might look like, and was very frank in saying that we’d never done this before and I could not guarantee it would work. But if they wanted to contribute to it, we would need $120,000 and everything that was given would be spent toward those advertisements placed in the newspapers. We thought $120,000 would be enough to get that ad placed in the major newspapers where there was a significant Jewish population. We sent out the letter, we prayed, and God’s people prayed.
So much money came in—something like $450,000—that we not only placed the ad in all large daily newspapers, but in small newspapers and magazines as well.
I would have been delighted with much less, but God saw to it that we did a lot more. The impact was astounding. The name “Yeshua” became part of the public dialogue.
I always found God’s people willing to consider and support those things which directly proclaimed the word of God. And over the years when financial support dipped a little bit low—as it has today—I knew I didn’t have to worry.