I’ve served with Jews for Jesus for more than twelve years and have encountered a plethora of worldviews. Recently, I’ve been reflecting on how words like “faith,” “hope” and “love” mean something different to different people depending on their worldview. For example, unbelievers often use the word “faith” synonymously with “religious tradition” or even “religious opinion.” “Hope” is often used to express “a best wish.” “Love” describes a special romantic feeling (ever heard of the song “You’ve lost that loving feeling” by the Righteous Brothers?).
But God speaks to us very differently about faith, hope and love. In the Bible, faith has the force of trust in something that is true, hope is a forward-looking assurance of a promise to be fulfilled, and love is sacrificial and committed. The differences in definitions have to do with the source and object of faith, hope and love. From a biblical perspective, these three things originated with, and should be directed back to, God and His Messiah.
Most Jewish people I’ve encountered are ambivalent about the concept of the Messiah. Some doubt that a Messiah will come and feel anything one might say about “God” and “Messiah” is just a matter of opinion. Others think of the Messiah as a “best wish” kind of a hope, while a minority has an expectation grounded in God’s Word and His promise that Messiah will indeed come (though He may tarry). In any case, the popular contemporary rabbinic view is that Messiah is not a personal Savior, but a golden age of peace and justice. Hope for a place in the world to come is regarded as a best wish, or perhaps just one’s opinion.
Allen is a Jewish man I have occasional ministry to. He struggles with the concept of placing his faith in a Messianic Savior. When we first met, he admired the teaching of Yeshua, but found it difficult to believe He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He expressed the opinion that this world is hell and the world to come will be a greatly desirable relief from earthly suffering. Yet, the hope and peace he yearned for were ambiguous and elusive.
Personal life struggles have been opening Allen’s heart to Yeshua. He’s starting to see the gospel as more than an optional opinion and has been grappling with it as something that might be real and true. Last year he came to our Purim event and shared that he knew something would have to change in his heart in order for him to know God. Allen is still searching, but is getting closer to the truth. Please pray for him to find true faith, hope, and love in the Messiah, and that through Jesus, he will witness supernatural transformation in his family.
Over and over, the amazing depth and truth of the Scriptures stands firm in the face of changing attitudes, morals, and yes, even definitions. God hasn’t changed, and His message is the same as ever. He consistently offers us His abiding love and a sure hope as we trust in Him with our lives and eternity:
Therefore, having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we also glory in the tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us.
Thank you for helping us share that timeless message of faith, hope and love!
Karl has been leading our work in Montreal since 2005. He and his wife Kristen are currently making plans to move their family to Paris, where they will be a tremendous asset to our branch. Learn more about Karl.