Anatomy of a Conversion
We Jews for Jesus often go to great lengths to bring the gospel to our Jewish brethren. We prepare diligently and offer carefully thought-out arguments for the reasonableness of our faith in Yeshua. Sometimes when we don’t see instant results we are tempted to wonder who is doing more of the work—we or God! But then a story like Brian’s comes along to remind us that it is God after all who prepares hearts and calls his chosen ones into the Kingdom.
Brian is a young Jewish man who lives in the Los Angeles area. A Jewish friend of his, who believes in Jesus, called our office one day. He said Brian had some questions we might be able to answer. I called Brian and arranged to meet him that same afternoon.
When we got together, Brian told me that his parents had recently bought a Tenach, a Jewish Bible, in English. Brian was out of work and had some free time, so he started to read the Scriptures for the first time in his life. It happened” that he was reading in the Book of Isaiah. When he came to Isaiah 7:14, which says, “Behold the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” Brian wondered how he could find out who this child could be. He had never heard of that passage before. He got a New Testament and somehow also came across our book Yeshua: The Jewish Way to Say Jesus. By the time I met him, Brian was already convinced that Yeshua must be the Immanuel of whom Isaiah spoke, but he had not yet committed his life to him.
I answered some questions for Brian and showed him some other passages from the Bible about Yeshua and how we can know him. Then sensing that Brian was open but hesitant, I backed off and gave him some space. I offered to meet with him again after he’d had some time to think about what we had discussed. He stayed for the Bible study at our L.A. branch that evening and we agreed to meet again the following week.
During the week that followed, Brian prayed to Yeshua and told him that he wanted to follow him. He prayed for forgiveness for his sins, and by the time we met again, he was already experiencing some of the newness of life that Yeshua promises. He still had some nagging doubts about whether a few specific sins had been forgiven, and of course he still had much to learn and much growing to do. But, like the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8, Brian came to know Jesus through the story of the Scriptures and the calling of the Holy Spirit. He did have a little help from one Christian friend and one friendly neighborhood Jews for Jesus missionary—who once again was assured that in evangelism God does do most of the work!