College campuses are not what they used to be. When I was in junior high and high school, I would hear about student revolutionaries holding sit-ins at state universities, rallying against social injustice and inequality, and fighting for human rights and free speech issues. I looked forward to the day when I would be able to join the ranks of those I saw as the soldiers on the frontlines of the battle to improve the quality of human life on our planet. By the time I got to college, the Vietnam War banner had been replaced by Solidarity placards, and ecological issues had been set aside for the No-Nukes movement. Like everyone else, I found that my priorities also had shifted, and my personal concern was for my grades and how to enjoy my hours off campus. I fell into the general apathy and self-absorption that characterizes most college campuses today. How I wished there was a cause worth really caring about—worth wholeheartedly throwing myself into!
Since graduating from college, I have become a follower of the Messiah. Now I find myself back on campuses, from Texas to California, handing out Jews for Jesus tracts, postering, staging debates and generally creating a stir as I lift up the name of Jesus. Finally I have found a cause truly worth defending, proclaiming the Good News of salvation in Yeshua to my Jewish brothers and sisters. Though anti-war and anti-establishment protests are a thing of the past, there is still one issue to which my people respond, and that is Jews believing in Jesus.
You can’t be both Jewish and Christian!” shouted someone as I was handing out tracts at UCLA.
“What do you mean?” I called after him, but he was gone.
“Guess he didn’t like my literature,” I shrugged to an onlooker. “Like one?”
“Sure,” she replied, and took one.
“Hey, these are great!” exclaimed a voice behind me. I turned around.
“Would you like one?” I asked.
“Well, I think the artwork is great, and it makes some good points, “he replied.
“Do you think it might be true that Jesus is the Messiah?” I asked.
“Maybe,” he said, but he would not agree to read anything more about Yeshua. His name was Michael, and he was a Jewish graduate student. I felt hopeful that the Lord was dealing with his heart.
A group of people walked by and ignored me. I looked down, wiggled my toes, and saw with relief that I really was still there. Within the next 10 minutes I spoke with two Jewish atheists while another Jewish believer watched and prayed. Then I recognized a Jewish man I had spoken with the week before.
“Hi,” I smiled. “How are you doing?”
“Fine, thanks,” he replied. “Oh, would it be possible to write you a letter and ask you some questions?” I gave him my name, and then from my right I heard, “Jesus made you kosher? That’s great!” A middle-aged woman, Jane, stopped to marvel at the message on my T-shirt.
“Yes, it is great!” I replied. “What do you think about Jesus?” She said that she had not thought much about it, but she would like to hear how I became a believer in the Messiah. We exchanged phone numbers.
As I was walking off the campus, handing out my last few tracts, a Gentile believer, Dana, stopped me. I began to tell her a little about Jews for Jesus.
“This is really funny,” she said. “I’m not a student, but I happened to be on campus today, and I have this Jewish friend who has been asking me questions about Jesus. A few days ago I was praying that God would send just the right person into my life who could share the gospel with her from a Jewish perspective!” We exchanged phone numbers, and I promised to call her soon.
College campuses may not be what they used to be, and political and social causes may not excite as many students anymore. But bringing to the campus the message that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah is guaranteed to produce lively interaction and confrontation that hopefully will open the hearts of many. Would you join with me in praying for the UCLA campus and for our Jews for Jesus outreach there, that many of my people would be won to the Messiah?