In The Minority = In Good Company
It is believed that the first Jewish Christians were called Anshey Derekh, the People of the Way. Those who followed the way of Yeshua were but a minority among the Jewish community, and they were not popular, especially with those in leadership. But neither being in the minority nor being unpopular interfered with their passion to evangelize any more than it interferes with our passion to proclaim the gospel today. What is the majority, compared to the One who said about Himself that He is the way and the truth and the life? And yet, for many, the majority “rule” is a great obstacle to faith.
Victoria attends synagogue mainly on the Jewish holidays. She accepted a friend’s invitation to an evangelical church where she heard that Abraham was called the father of all nations, and she (Victoria) understood she had much in common with Christians, who believe in the God of the Jews. As we discussed this after the service, I added, “But Christians believe that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel. What prevents you from believing in Him?”
She replied, “The fact that the majority of Jewish people who know Torah don’t believe in Him.”
“So, the majority is important?”
“Yes, it’s important,” Victoria pronounced, and she referred to that fact that when the Jewish people received the Torah, they agreed in unison to fulfill everything. I could affirm her knowledge of Exodus 19:5-6. Yet I pointed out that despite these good intentions, the majority of our people frequently strayed—not only turning away from the commandments, but even stoning the prophets who tried to warn them. Victoria did not deny this. So I asked her, “What if the minority of the Jewish people who believe in Yeshua as the Messiah are following the truth, just like those prophets who were stoned for trying to warn the majority?” She admitted that this was possible. I offered to start exploring Messianic prophecy with her, and she replied, “OK, let’s explore!”
This conversation encouraged me to change my approach for my next visit, which was to Ilya. Thus far, he had not been very open to talking about Yeshua. He would say, “Messiah is yet to come. There can be no other opinion. That’s it.” The only topic Ilya seemed willing to discuss was which of the opposing fighting factions in Ukraine is right. When I asked if he thought that the majority was always right, he replied that the majority expresses the opinion or the will of the people, so the majority should decide the matter. I explained that I was not applying this question only to the situation in Ukraine. I then asked if he knew that the prophets of Israel often spoke against the actions and attitudes of the majority of the people.
This got Ilya’s attention. I showed in Isaiah and Jeremiah how Hebrew prophets opposed the majority in order to speak for God. Ilya admitted that being in the majority doesn’t make a person or an idea right. So I asked, “What if the minority of Jewish people who follow Yeshua’s way are right? From that small minority, the gospel of Jesus that they began to spread 2,000 years ago is still being heard and believed by many, even if not by the majority of Jews. Then I shared the gospel with Ilya. And concluded with a suggestion: “Maybe we should at least ask the question, ‘What if Yeshua is Messiah?’”
At last, Ilya agreed that he should think about it, and that we can discuss it. I pray that his willingness to consider Yeshua will last.
We can be encouraged and inspired that God used a minority, the first people of the Way, to change the world. As we follow the narrow way, and are often ridiculed for it, we remember the words of our Messiah and guide, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). So we stand for the truth of Yeshua, unpopular as that may be . . . and we look forward to the day when the majority will turn to Messiah Yeshua.
I was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1951, but for the first 17 years of my life I lived in Magadan with my mother. Then we returned to Odessa. I studied music, technology, and clothing design. When the doors of the Soviet Union began to open, I tried to emigrate to Israel, but could not do so because my mother would not give me a written permission for the embassy. So I went back to my study and to my work. I got married but ten years later my husband died. God however blessed me with a wonderful son during that period. I came to know the Lord when my son was very young. I’d been seeking God for some time when I read a tract of Jews for Jesus and gave them my contact information because I wanted to learn more. Soon after that, I took my little son to Kiev for a complicated heart surgery, and in the hospital, the mother of another little patient shared the Gospel with me. When I saw how God spared my son, I returned to Odessa with my heart open to the Lord. When shortly after that a Jews for Jesus missionary called to meet with me, I was fully ready for that and prayed to receive Y’shua in that meeting. In 1993, I began to help Jews for Jesus as a volunteer. In 1995, I joined the ministry and continue to serve with Jews for Jesus now, after my move to Germany.