Continuing the work we began during our Behold Your God Jerusalem campaign includes finding ways to integrate projects that we launched in Jerusalem into our ministry worldwide. I am excited to tell you about two of these projects, but you have to learn a little Hebrew first.
You shall love
The first Hebrew word you should know is v’ahavta. V’ahavta means “you shall love” and it was one of the focal points for our outreach, taken from the command of Leviticus 19:18: “but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is one of the passages Jesus referred to when He was asked which is the greatest commandment. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37–39).
In Jerusalem we invited people to contemplate how to carry out this command. We asked people to find ways to show love and kindness to another person, something beyond their ordinary care for their own family and friends. It could be a neighbor, a stranger – anyone. We invited people to encourage others to do the same by recording a video of their act of kindness, and uploading it onto a special website.
We realize that encouraging people to perform random acts of kindness isn’t the same as giving them the gospel message. Nevertheless, it has opened doors to communicate about the One who commanded us to love our neighbor, and gave us the opportunity to point people to the love of God in Jesus Christ. The way that Jesus pointed to these commandments together also gave people the opportunity to ponder the first commandment and how it relates to the second.
With your help and prayers, we hope to continue this means of outreach beyond Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth. We will let you know what the Lord does through this new means of reaching out.
The good news
A second Hebrew word you should know is habsorah, which means “the good news.” We also used this as a theme in Jerusalem, based on Isaiah’s words, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” (Isaiah 52:7).
Who doesn’t like good news? In anticipation of our Behold Your God Jerusalem campaign, we conducted a survey asking Israelis what they struggle with most and how they cope with those struggles. Of those surveyed, the top two concerns related to raising children and problems with money.
So, let me ask you: Does the good news of Jesus have anything to say about children? How about money? Well of course it does! (See Mark 9:37; Mark 10:13–14; Matthew 22:21; Luke 12:33.)
Applying the gospel to everyday struggles in Israel
We are working hard to apply the gospel to the everyday struggles of people in Israel and around the world. For example, we developed a Hebrew website featuring video interviews with Israeli believers in Jesus. These believers share their personal struggles and how the gospel makes a difference in their lives – especially in areas such as finances and raising children. In addition to seeing the video testimonies, viewers were invited to be mentored by the Jewish believers whose stories they had just watched. We will continue developing these and other projects as we keep on reaching out to people in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth.
Just think of all the innovations that God has used to proclaim the gospel since Bible times: from mass distribution of Bibles and other gospel literature – made possible by the invention of the printing press – to tent revival meetings like those Billy Graham conducted with such fruitful results. Gospel radio and television programs made it possible for people to hear the good news in their own homes. Not to mention the amazing opportunities afforded us through the internet!
When it comes to gospel proclamation, I believe that the best is yet to come. With your help and prayers, we will continue to push forward to find wonderful new ways to engage Jewish people with the gospel, teach them to follow Yeshua and inspire others to do the same.
David Brickner is also an author, public speaker and avid hiker. Find out more about David, his writings, speaking schedule and possible availability to speak at your church at jewsforjesus.org/david-brickner.